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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan shares what a dominant rushing attack says about the 49ers as a whole

Nov 27, 2021 at 7:21 PM--

When the San Francisco 49ers bullied their way to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2019 season, they did so with a dominant rushing attack. The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers didn't have an answer for it in the playoffs.

The 49ers have won their last two games with their patient yet punishing ground attack. San Francisco ran the football 44 times against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10, nearly doubling their opponent's time of possession (39:03 to 20:57). When the 49ers first got their hands on the football, they set the tone for the game with an 11-minute drive, eventually winning 31-10.

The 49ers offense opened the Week 11 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 20-play, 87-yard drive that lasted over 13 minutes. Again, it set the tone for the game. San Francisco rushed the football 42 times in an eventual 30-10 win.

In the process of both victories, the 49ers wore down the opposing defenses while keeping their own defense fresh.

Star linebacker Fred Warner was asked about the lengthy opening drive by the 49ers offense in the win over the Jaguars.

"For sure, you could feel it," Warner said after the game. "Just the fact that they were picking up those first downs, running the ball, getting those plays that they needed — that's great for us. We're on the sideline just waiting for our turn, but they did a heck of a job."

Fans are excited because it would seem the 49ers have finally found their identity. If it's sustainable, the team could make a strong push to ensure its season doesn't end at Week 18.

However, it's not just the 49ers running backs — Deebo Samuel included, apparently — that deserve the credit. The team's potent rushing attack over the last two games says more about the 49ers offense as a whole.

On Friday, head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if physically dominating an opponent is a more satisfying way to win a game.

"Yeah, I think it's when you can dictate it," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday. "And that's the best way to dictate a game, is to run the ball. And to do it, it's not just the running back, it's not just the O-line, and it's not just the offense. I feel like when you can dominate a game through the run game, yeah, you've got to have all of that with the offense, but it's the whole team.

"And teams that do that, not just once in a while, but teams that can win a lot of games doing that are usually teams that are extremely hard to beat in any situation in any condition and any type of game."

The next test for the 49ers will be on Sunday afternoon when the Vikings visit Levi's Stadium. Minnesota has the goal of keeping its own playoff hopes alive. The kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. PT.

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