After this week's bounce-back win, it appears that the San Francisco 49ers (7-4) are beginning to hit their stride as the regular season winds down and playoff seeding is finalized.
In all three phases—offense, defense and special teams—there were positives to take from their Week 12 showing versus Washington. Adjustments by the coaching staff were visible, and it appeared as if everything had been fine-tuned and enhanced to a degree.
Against the 26th-ranked Washington pass defense, it was an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' aerial unit to get back on track, and that's just what they did. It wasn't about running the rock with No. 21. They know they can do that.
No, this week it was about hard-nosed defense and beginning to establish a rhythm with a receiving corps that, as a whole, is essentially brand new. Defensively, Aldon Smith continued to ease his way back into the lineup, while the 49ers supplanted the production of Tarell Brown (ribs) and Ray McDonald (ankle), who were both out.
Overall, there was a lot to be seen and quite a bit to digest. For final grades and analysis from San Francisco's most recent outing, proceed through the following.
- Expectations: Some players can look really good out there, but how much did they leave on the field?
- Statistics: If you were blanked, booming or something in between, this plays a significant role as to how a player is graded.
- Impact: Stats are great and all, but did those yards come in garbage time or on a 3rd-and-long? The clutch value factors in here.
- Consistency: One big play can change a game, but consistency down-to-down can make sure you win it. Who was bringing it on every play?