Final Score: 20-7

Stat Leaders:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo: 24/33, 243 yards, 1 interception and 1 rushing TD
  • Tevin Coleman: 18 carries, 45 yards and 1 TD. 3 receptions, 18 yards
  • Matt Breida: 13 carries, 36 yards. 4 receptions, 27 yards
  • George Kittle: 8 receptions, 103 yards
  • Dante Pettis: 3 receptions, 45 yards
  • Deebo Samuel: 3 receptions, 18 yards

 

  • Kwon Alexander: 7 total tackles, 1 TFL
  • Jimmie Ward: 6 total tackles, 2 passes defended
  • Fred Warner: 6 total tackles, 1 TFL
  • Dee Ford: 4 total tackles, 1 TFL and 1.5 sacks
  • Arik Armstead: 6 total tackles, .5 sacks
  • Ronald Blair III: 2 total tackles, 1 TFL and 1 sack
  • Solomon Thomas: 2 total tackles, 1 TFL and 1 sack

 

  • Robbie Gould: 2/3 FGs

What a game! The 49ers stay undefeated on the road against division-rival Los Angeles Rams, and they did it convincingly! They leaned more on Jimmy Garoppolo than in previous weeks. Let’s break it down!

After the 49ers opened up the game with a quick three-and-out (thanks to an Aaron Donald sack), the Rams opened up the game gashing the 49ers defense on the ground! Which is unheard of this year, as this run defense has been absolutely stout. Los Angeles ran seven (!) straight running plays, that ended with a Robert Woods 8-yard rushing score. It was the first rushing touchdown the 49ers had allowed all season. The Rams certainly wanted to come out and make a statement and prove they could run on this defense. 7-0 LAR.

However, the 49ers would answer on their ensuing drive. They benefited from Rams DE Dante Fowler being offsides on 3rd & 8, which negated a sack that would’ve ended the 49ers drive at their own 38-yard line. Instead, Garoppolo connected with TE George Kittle for a 10-yard gain on the next play, and two plays later connect with Breida for a gain of 17 yards! They were suddenly at the Rams 25-yard line. Another two plays later, Garoppolo hit Pettis who made a man miss and then carried the ball down to the LA 2-yard line! Tevin Coleman would punch it in on the next play. The drive went for 10 plays, 65 yards and chewed up 5:38. 7-7

After the Rams went three-and-out on their ensuing drive, the 49ers were looking to take the lead. A few plays into the drive, Garoppolo hit Kittle for a 45-yard gain down to the LA 6! Unfortunately, they appeared to suffer from some miscommunication, because the drive that should’ve ended with 3 points at worst, ended with 0. Garoppolo threw the ball to Kittle, who was tied up with a defender in the end zone, and it was intercepted by Rams CB Marcus Peters. A facemask penalty on SF WR (R) Deebo Samuel would give the Rams an additional 15 yards on top of the touchback.

Luckily for San Francisco, their defense came to play! They held the Rams to 0 points on their ensuing drive after the interception. They would go 8 plays for 24 yards and then be forced to punt. The 49ers would go a quick three-and-out themselves though, giving the ball right back to Los Angeles still tied at 7-7. After allowing two big runs (22 and 14 yards) back to back, the Rams set themselves up inside the end zone. A couple of plays later, the Rams would be faced with a 4th & goal from the SF 1. Lucky for SF, DJ Jones and Arik Armstead were tired of being ran over on the ground, and teamed up to make the huge stop and force the turnover on downs.

The 49ers would take over dangerously close to their own end zone (SF 1). So close in fact, their first play of the drive was a QB sneak, just to give them a tiny bit of breathing room. Two plays later, Garoppolo would connect with Kittle for consecutive gains of 11 yards; and the next two plays after that would be passes of 12 and 11 to Breida and Goodwin — setting the 49ers up at midfield. With :58 left in the first half, San Francisco was trying to gain a little more ground to give K Robbie Gould a better chance of making a field goal. While they were able to get the ball up to the LA 37, it was still a 55-yard attempt for Gould, who is still getting comfortable with the new special teams unit. 55 yards proved to be too much to ask of the veteran kicker, as he missed it wide right. The 49ers would go into halftime still tied 7-7.

The Rams received the ball to open up the second half, but they did not hold onto it long at all. On 1st & 10, Rams QB Jared Goff pitched the ball to RB D. Henderson, but he wasn’t able to catch it. The ball bounced off of Henderson, and 49ers DL Arik Armstead was able to recover and give the 49ers a very short field! The first play of the drive (starting at the LA 17), Coleman ran the ball for a 14-yard gain, all the way down to the the LA 3! Three plays later, Garoppolo called his own number and ran it in! Extra point by Gould was good! 14-7 SF.

Surely the Rams would feel the pressure to respond with a score of their own, right? Well they apparently disagreed! Their ensuing drive would travel all of -5 yards, and they would be forced to punt after a quick three-and-out that only lasted 1:34.

Garoppolo would hit Toilolo for an 8-yard gain. Facing a 3rd & 1, San Francisco trusted their ability to pick it up on the ground — handing the ball off to Coleman, who picked up 9! Two plays later on 3rd & 6, Garoppolo would connect with Kendrick Bourne who would make his way down to the LA 35 (11-yard gain). After a short Mostert run, Garoppolo hit Pettis, who made a great catch in traffic and carried it down to the LA 2! Unfortunately, the 49ers wouldn’t be able to punch it in even from the 2-yard line. Luckily for them, Gould was feeling a bit more confident and came in to knock down the easy 25-yard field goal. 17-7 SF.

After a quick three-and-out by Los Angeles, the 49ers started their drive on their own 42-yard line. They would swiftly drive their way through the Rams side of the field and get a Gould field goal! 20-7 SF.

The Rams, feeling the game is slipping away from them, tried to get a spark from their offense. Goff connected with TE Tyler Higee for a gain of 8. SF CB Richard Sherman (25) would be injured on this play and head into the blue medical tent. It appeared his shoulder or forearm took the full force of Higbee’s helmet while he was trying to punch the ball out in his way to the ground.

Three plays later, the Rams were facing a 4th & 1 at their own 44-yard line. Needing to get themselves back in this game, head coach Sean McVay decided to go for it again. However, 49er defenders Jimmie Ward and Fred Warner had different plans, as they stopped Henderson short of the marker, forcing a turnover on downs!

Unfortunately, the 49ers were apparently feeling generous themselves on their next drive. Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass on 3rd & 5 at the LA 40, and would be sacked and stripped by Aaron Donald. Corey Littleton would recover the fumble and run the ball back 10 yards before pitching the ball back to Robey. who would run it another 12 yards down the field down to the SF 36. Robey had ran the ball back to the SF 17 originally, but after further review the referees ruled he stepped out of bounds at the SF 36.

However, again, the 49ers must feel extremely lucky that their defense is ready for whatever is thrown their way (how many times have we said that this season?). That was evident on the Rams ensuing drive, as they were faced with a 4th & 2 at the SF 28. Do you think San Francisco allowed Los Angeles to get two yards? That’s what I thought — of course not! The 49ers defense forced a third turnover on downs! Jimmie Ward, who was playing extremely well, made the stop and gave the ball back to Garoppolo and the offense.

After trading back-to-back-to-back punts for three drives, the Rams got the ball with 1:06 left in the game, down 13. The 49ers defense kept their foot on the gas and forced yet another turnover on downs (the fourth) to ensure their offense can run the clock out. The 49ers would get the ball back, and thanks to a few Mostert runs, were able to do just that! Victory formation is sweet!

The Spin:

San Francisco improved to 5-0 after their victory against the Los Angeles Rams in LA, even though it felt like it was at Levi’s Stadium, with all of the 49ers fans in the stands!

It was an impressive win — especially since the media was saying all week that this game would be the true test for the 49ers (even though they had said the same thing prior to the Monday night beatdown against the Browns). It will be interesting to see if they start to get the respect they deserve. Although honestly, I couldn’t care less if they do. We know what we have in this 49ers team — an explosive running game, paired with a solid passing game with fast, smart receivers and an elite defense. That travels anywhere — it doesn’t matter if it’s in Germany, Cuba, Antarctica, rainy, sunny, cloudy — this team can play like this anywhere, anytime!

The 49ers sit atop of both their division and the entire NFC at 5-0, and remain the only other undefeated team than the New England Patriots. They are playing some great football, on both sides of the ball. Although Gould missed his first attempt (55-yarder), but he seemed to get into rhythm for the rest of the game. This team is well-coached, disciplined, hungry for success, most importantly — they’ve been at the bottom of the league (as recently as last year), so they know what that feels like. I’d be willing to bet they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure they never feel like that again.

Looking ahead, the 49ers face the Washington Redskins in D.C. next week, then come home to face a resurgent Carolina Panthers, and then go to Arizona to face off in their second divisional showdown against the Cardinals. I really don’t think it’s unrealistic to say this team can easily be sitting at 8-0 heading into their Monday night brawl against the Seattle Seahawks at home in week 10. What a complete transformation we’ve seen here in Santa Clara, as it appears the players are all buying in 100% to what Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are selling.

Living just south of the team’s facility, I’ll be the first to tell you that the energy around here in the South Bay Area is different. It’s almost as if you can feel the culture changing. All I know is I love it, and I do not want it to end anytime soon.