In a game that followed the recent script of building an early lead, and the head coach sitting on it with ultra-conservative play calling, the defense stepped up big time, and slammed the door in the LA Rams’ face with a glorious pick 6 by Talanoa Hufanga, the latest USC Trojan stud DB to enter the league. He has been absolutely unstoppable this season. 2 picks and numerous breakups and tackles.
This one is truly on the defense as DeMeco Ryans dialed up stunts and blitzes that had Stafford and the Rams on their heels all game. The score should have been even more lopsided as Gipson dropped a pick in the end zone, and Warner dropped a pick 6 in the 4th quarter.
The offense? Well, this team goes as far as Jimmy goes. What was goo to see is the team focussing on Aiyuk and Samuel as wide receivers rather than running backs. Deebo had the play of this young season, snagging a high throw by Jimmy (intentional or not we will never know), turning a potential pick 6 into a dazzling display of broken field running. Half the team threw blocks downfield, including Aiyuk’s last block at the 2 to finish off the TD run.
Jimmy didn’t throw a pick. He didn’t fumble. So there’s that. The team was 5-12 on 3rd downs. Worlds better than the 1-10 against Denver. Sure, he missed a wide open Juice on a route out of the slot that would have been a TD, he threw to the wrong shoulder of Woerner on a sideline route which would have been a 40 yard gain, and missed a wide open Jennings on another slot route that would have netted 30+ yards. He didn’t make any mistakes. The maligned O line did not give up any sacks, and the run game did enough to keep the LA defense honest. Key stat? 193 of the 239 passing yards were gotten after the catch. Yackety Yac.
We actually started running misdirection plays again. Highlighted by the 32 yard run up the middle by Wilson for the first TD. Shocking as the power run game has been pretty weak. They finally scaled back on running Deebo as he had 2 carries for 2 yards. But, Shanahan continues to be an absolute disaster at coaching with a lead. After a near TD by Kittle on 3rd down on the 1, Kyle does not trust his defense to hold the Rams offense on the goal line and instead kicks the FG in the 4th quarter to keep the game a one-score lead.
No going for the win, but instead playing not to lose. This is usually a disaster, but Shanahan was bailed out by the defense because Hufanga jumped the out route to Kupp and upped the lead.
Still and all, a solid game that suddenly puts the 49ers in the NFC west lead with their wins over LA and Seattle.