Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Jaguars matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. PT at Wembley Stadium in London.
49ers CB Tarell Brown vs. Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
Tale of the tape
Brown (25): 5 foot 10, 193 pounds, seventh season, Texas
Blackmon (14): 6 foot 1, 210 pounds, second season, Oklahoma State
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not come close to a victory through seven games.
But their offense has looked considerably more competent after wide receiver Justin Blackmon returned from a four-game suspension to open the season.
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Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, has 25 receptions for 384 yards in three games to lead the NFL during the month of October. He was ineligible for the first four games of the season after serving a suspension for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse.
“In the first four games, they were averaging about 220 yards a game,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “And then their last three games they’re averaging over 360. So the evidence is on the tape when you watch it. And then the evidence is on paper when you look at their stats. And part of that’s coincided with the return of Blackmon.”
Quarterback Chad Henne has replaced Blaine Gabbert, a 2011 first-round pick. Henne has thrown for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games. Still, the Jaguars have not scored more than 20 points in a game this season. Their best hope for a knockout punch is from Blackmon.
Although the Jaguars will move Blackmon around, 49ers right cornerback Tarell Brown figures to see a lot of him Sunday. Brown has been steady, as he tries to put himself into position for a nice contract after this season as a scheduled unrestricted free agent.
According to statistic compiled by Pro Football Focus, Brown has surrendered two touchdowns in the first seven games of the season while he has yet to intercept a pass. The opposition is completing 55 percent of the pass thrown his way.
While Brown will be tested frequently on Sunday, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said everybody must keep an eye on a player who has been the Jaguars’ best player.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Willis said of Blackmon. “He’s a guy who can go up and catch the ball. He can catch a hitch and can take it the distance. I think he’s a receiver who can do it all. We’re really going to make to make sure we know where he is at all times.”