Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

5 Keys to a 49ers Win Over the Chargers

Nov 12, 2022 at 9:30 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers look to continue to build from their victory two weeks ago against the Los Angeles Rams. However, if the 49ers want to improve to 5-4, there are five KEYS the team must stick to to be victorious.

RUN The Ball

The Chargers, on average, allow their opponents to rush for 147.2 yards per game, ranking them fourth-worst in the NFL. The 49ers are ranked 15th and average 118 yards per game on the ground. With Christian McCaffrey's emergence and Elijah Mitchell's return, the 49ers should look to dominate the Chargers with their rush attack. If the Chargers load the box to stop the run, head coach Kyle Shanahan must be creative to successfully move the ball on the ground. Look for wide receiver Deebo Samuel as another bonus in the 49ers' rushing attack. Run the ball successfully, and win the game.

USE Screens

If running the ball becomes difficult, coach Shanahan should use the screen play as an extension of a run play. Shanahan can be creative with all five moveable pieces of his personnel. The 49ers will have fullback Kyle Juszczyk, wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle, and running backs Elijah Mitchell and Christian McCaffrey on the field Sunday, all capable of taking a one-yard pass and gaining positive yards. Success in the screen game will keep the Chargers' defense honest and open up the play-action passing game for the 49ers.


Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is the Deebo/McCaffrey of the Chargers. He is the playmaker on the ground and in the air. Ekeler has 427 yards with six touchdowns and averages 4.4 yards per carry on the ground. The 49ers' rush defense must stop the run. The only issue here is that the 49ers' defense will be missing three key pieces on their defensive line—Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and, newly added to the list, Samson Ebukam, who didn't practice all week due to a quad injury.

Ekeler is also dangerous in the passing game. He has 60 receptions off 69 targets for 381 yards with four touchdowns. Ekeler averages 6.9 yards per catch and has accumulated 23 first downs in the air. The 49ers' defense should expect the Justin Herbert-Ekeler connection since the Chargers will be without wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (high ankle sprain). The team ruled out both for Sunday's game. If they want to win this matchup, the defense must find a way to contain Ekeler and limit him from the explosive plays.


Khalil Mack may be the Chargers' best player on the field Sunday. Looking at his matchup, expect Mack to line up over right tackle Mike McGlinchey. McGlinchey has given up five sacks on the season, tied for the 4th-most in the NFL. He's allowed 14 pressures and has committed four penalties this season. Mack has 23 pressures this season, six sacks, 14 hurries, and three quarterback hits.

Expect help on McGlinchey's side from a tight end. George Kittle, the best blocking tight end on the 49ers, may be utilized to chip on the right a bit in Sunday's matchup. He may not have the best production game due to aid to the right side of the field. The 49ers must do whatever it takes to block Mack.

SPY Herbert

The last time I mentioned spying on the quarterback, the 49ers neglected to do so, and they lost 28-14 to the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Marcus Mariota (Oregon) had a rushing touchdown and 50 rushing yards for the Falcons' rushing attack. The 49ers will get a much better product from Oregon in Justin Herbert. Herbert isn't your designed run type of quarterback. He has 11 designed runs for negative eight yards.

It's the breakdown plays where Herbert is dangerous. Justin Herbert has 59 yards when he scrambles. This may not seem like a lot, but it can be detrimental to the opposing team when he's running for first downs on third downs. You won't have to spy on Herbert on every play, but keep a player available to watch his every move. Don't let another Oregon product be why the team isn't victorious on Sunday.

In conclusion...

The 49ers should be able to dominate the Chargers on Sunday, but the 5-3 Chargers continue to find ways to win even with all the adversity the team has faced this season. If the 49ers stick to these five Keys, they will come out on top with a victory.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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