Following a full week of discussion surrounding Steve Wilks and his playcalling from the booth, 49er fans have concluded it was his presence on the sideline that moved the needle for the 49ers’ defense in Jacksonville.
The 49ers responded by allowing only three points, and the defensive line and secondary were in unison while shutting down Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, and newcomer Chase Young feasted on the Jags offensive line. The secondary was sticky, and the defense created turnovers en route to a 34-3 victory.
How much did Wilks’ presence contribute, though? There were displays of emotion, meetings with players to react to the Jags’ offense, and even a heartfelt moment between Wilks and Ambry Thomas following Thomas’ strip fumble in the red zone.
After a defensive performance like that, I’m sure Wilks isn’t headed back to the booth anytime soon. If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. Wilks is here to stay for the near future.
Seventy-two percent of fans believe Wilks’ presence was the driving force behind the defensive performance. Following the dominant win, 75 percent of 49ers fans believe the team can still notch the number one seed in the NFC.
On KNBR Friday morning, general manager John Lynch said “it just felt right,” when asked about Wilks on the sideline: “It went smooth right away. We hit a little speed bump. I think it’s courageous of Kyle to be able to make a call like that and say, ‘You know what? We’re going to flip the script, and my instinct says he should be down there.
Steve has tremendous energy. He has tremendous presence. For him to be down there amongst the players, I really and always have believed, for everything you gain going upstairs, there is the connectivity to your players.”
A win like Sunday’s was a statement for the 49ers, who are relatively healthy, and adding Young reinvigorated the energy of the defensive line. Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles face off with the Kansas City Chiefs in a Super Bowl rematch. The Eagles have a tough stretch of games and face the 49ers in Philadelphia in three weeks. If the 49ers are ready to make a move, then it should happen now.
A victory over Tampa Bay before heading into a Thanksgiving matchup with Seattle improves the teams’ chances, but the 49ers will be big Chiefs fans on Monday. Handle your business and let the cards fall where they may.
After the victory in Jacksonville, 96 percent of 49ers fans are confident in the team’s direction moving forward.