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49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory vs. Bengals

Oct 28, 2023 at 10:20 AM


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The San Francisco 49ers return home to Levi's Stadium after losing back-to-back road games against the Cleveland Browns and the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers host the Cincinnati Bengals before the team heads into its bye week. If the 49ers want to win this week, they must act upon these keys to victory to prevent their third consecutive loss and going 5-3 entering the bye.

Run the Ball


The Bengals are ranked 29th in the NFL against the run, allowing teams, on average, 142.8 yards per game. The seventh-ranked 49ers are averaging 136.4 rushing yards per game. In losing to the Vikings, the 49ers only rushed for 65 yards on 22 attempts, averaging three yards per carry.

San Francisco must run the ball and get back to dominating and controlling the clock on the offensive side. Running the ball will activate the passing game, and the offense should be able to get back to being explosive. If head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't abandon the run, the 49ers will improve to 6-2 on the season.

Quick Throws


49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has a 77.4 completion percentage on short throws ranging from nine yards. The 49ers must continue to get the ball out quickly and accurately to keep the chains moving and sustain drives.

Sunday will be the second game without the All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel, so Shanahan must figure out how to get his pass catchers involved. Last week against the Vikings, Jauan Jennings had nine targets, the most on the team, but only five receptions for 54 yards.

Brandon Aiyuk will match up against Cam Taylor-Britt. Taylor-Britt struggles against premier wide receivers. He has been targeted 32 times, allowing 17 receptions for 300 yards on the season. The 49ers must exploit the Bengals defensive backs. Activate the quick throws, and the 49ers will be 6-2.

Protect the Ball


San Francisco has five turnovers in the last two games, which resulted in losses. Purdy has thrown three interceptions, and running back Christian McCaffrey fumbled the ball twice. Though it's not the end all be all when turning the ball over, it's tough to compensate when the turnover occurs.

Purdy's interceptions happened in the fourth quarter with the clock expiring. McCaffrey's fumble was early in the first, but it happened in the red zone on scoring drives. These turnovers put the defense back on the field, and at the moment, anything can happen, such as an explosive play or a long scoring drive from the opposing team. If the 49ers do not gift Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow extra offensive drives, the team will become 6-2.

Get to the Quarterback


The 49ers will have a tough day against Burrow if they can't generate pressure. Burrow is releasing the ball in two seconds, which will be the fastest quarterback release time they have faced all season. The 49ers will have to be better in coverage defending Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. If the secondary does its job, this will force Burrow to hold onto the ball just a little longer for the 49ers defensive front.

Burrow is thorough in the quick throw-grow game. He has completed 44 of his attempts for 10 yards or less. If Steve Wilks does choose to blitz, he must have his players do a better job at disguising the blitz. Several times, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins took advantage of the blitz because he could see the blitz right away. If the 49ers defense can get to quarterback, they will help the team get to 6-2.

Execution


Although the 49ers are on a two-game losing streak, they could have still won both games. The team sometimes needs to gain more focus on who they are, leading to second-guessing and poor execution. The good news is that the 49ers are returning home, and although they're dealing with injuries, there's no place like home.

The first five weeks of football were dominated by the 49ers in all three phases because they executed. Defensively, in the last two games, which were losses, the 49ers gave up about 5-10 explosive plays on the ground and in the air and totaled 19 missed tackles. Even the all-out blitz was poorly executed because Hufanga didn't rush. Offensively, the team fails to capitalize on their opportunities, and they turn the ball over.

On special teams, the missed field goals are an issue. Jake Moody cut three straight field goals until he could nail a 54-yard field goal against the Vikings. The bright side is that Moody is 100% at home. If the 49ers execute all three phases, they will improve to 6-2.

In Conclusion


The 49ers do not want to lose three in a row heading into their bye week. Expect the 49ers to do whatever it takes to win against the Bengals. If Brock Purdy is cleared from the concussion protocol, expect a fired-up quarterback to take the field and lead his team to another victory. If the team sticks to these keys to victory, the bye week will be relaxing both mentally and physically.
  • 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 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
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