Frank Gore joined the NFL Network crew after the game, and he told them the 49ers had a players-only meeting this week. I don't generally know what to make of those kinds of meetings, but maybe it sparked something this week?
There was some talk earlier in the week about a defensive players' meeting, but maybe it was just the entire team. The last two weeks, something did seem amiss with the 49ers. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the 49ers just did not seem right over the last couple weeks. The penalties, the poor execution. It really just seemed like the team was in a funk.
So, maybe a players' only meeting was the kind of thing to shake it up. This was really the first true adversity this 49ers team had faced in the Jim Harbaugh era. They struggled a bit late last year after Justin Smith went down, but they also had already sewn up a playoff spot. At 1-2, the 49ers were perilously perched on the verge of 1-3. It's only one more loss, at only the quarter point of the season, but the 49ers needed to stop the bleeding quickly.
The 49ers bounced back with a vengeance, going with the old-school style that got them to the playoffs the last two years. Even when Colin Kaepernick was at his most dominant last season, the 49ers were getting big runs from the rushing game. Thursday evening, the 49ers dominated on the ground, and put Colin Kaepernick in a position to make some plays without feeling too much pressure.
As the game wore on, you could see a certain swagger returning on both sides of the ball. The defense was getting physical, and getting away with it a bit more frequently. The offense was making big plays we saw repeatedly last season. Success breeds confidence, and for a team that likes to bully and over-power other teams, this confidence-building win was pretty huge. Now we'll see how this confidence carries over to next week.