Rams @ 49ers
Final Score: 49ers 24, Rams 9
Writer: Justin Herrera (@Semtexmex93 on Twitter)
The Los Angeles Rams traveled to Santa Clara on Monday Night to play division rival San Francisco 49ers. A rematch of the classic NFC Championship game that catapulted the Rams into the Super Bowl. The last three years had been a different story, with the Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers owning a 6-0 record against the Rams in the regular season. The 49ers were without Elijah Mitchell, Trent Williams, and Javon Kinlaw in this divisional matchup. This game started off close, but the 49ers’ formula of playing great defense and letting their playmakers loose paid off. As Deebo Samuel took control of this game early, breaking off an awesome 57-yard effort play for a touchdown. The 49ers’ defense would handle the rest as they sacked Matthew Stafford seven times, ran back a pick-six, and ended the game with a strip sack. Make it 7-0 for the 49ers in this dominant victory over the Super Bowl Champions. The result was San Francisco 49ers 24, Los Angeles Rams 9.
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford: 32/48, 254 Yards, INT | 2 Carries, 6 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)
Matthew Stafford O/U 0.5 INTs had more OVER money than all the other player props tonight @CaesarsSports…
The over had 96% of the tickets and 99% of the handle 😳
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) October 4, 2022
Matthew Stafford, we might have a problem. Stafford has looked off this year, but he didn’t look like a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in this game. The 49ers’ defense rocked him with 11 QB hits and seven sacks, one strip sack leading to a fumble recovery by the 49ers. Stafford also threw an interception that was taken to the house by Talanoa Hufanga, but this probably should’ve been the third interception of the game. On two other drives, the 49ers had their hands on interceptions that were lost to the ground. Stafford’s main takeaway from this game should be that he needs to find someone else to throw the ball to the outside of Cooper Kupp. Giving Kupp 19 targets in a game where they didn’t score 10 points means that this offense needs to stop relying on Kupp.
Stafford had some big throws in this game like he’s always been able to. The difference is that he tends to throw interceptions when he goes into his gunslinger/playmaker mode. And this game, like I said earlier, could’ve been more of a dominant showing from the 49ers than it already was. Look for these Rams to try and rebound next week and maybe get some more guys involved in this offense.
Darrell Henderson Jr.: 7 Carries, 27 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 12 Yards
Cam Akers: 8 Carries, 13 Yards | 1 Target
Brandon Powell: 1 Carry, 11 Yards
Cam Akers was the starter on Monday night but outside of his first run of the game for four yards and a run later in the first half for six. Akers was ineffective vs the 49ers’ front seven, not really getting anything going to a point where he was stopped behind the line several times. It got to the point where Akers only ran the ball three times in the second half in a one-score game.
Darrell Henderson had the better of the evenings with 27 yards on seven carries and 12 yards on three receptions. He didn’t carry the ball as many times as Akers, but he was in on a couple of first-down runs and showed a little more juice than Akers. The game did get away from the run, as the 49ers possess the league’s best statistical run defense, and the Rams got a sense of urgency to score through the air. Brandon Powell had the best run of the night with a disguised end around for 11 yards that set up a field goal attempt.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Cooper Kupp: 19 Targets, 14 Receptions, 122 Yards
Tyler Higbee: 14 Targets, 10 Receptions, 73 Yards
Ben Skowronek: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 33 Yards
Kendall Blanton: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards
Allen Robinson II: 6 Targets, 2 Receptions, 7 Yards
Deebo Samuel 🤝 Cooper Kupp
Best WR jersey swap? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/R5ysGvTCdj
— ESPN (@espn) October 4, 2022
Cooper Kupp had an awesome night with 19 targets, 14 receptions, and 122 yards. Kupp is unguardable and is also the top weapon for Matthew Stafford. Stafford went to him on third down and converted two of three attempts for 28 yards. Kupp was necessary to this offense, and Stafford’s dependency on him inevitably led to Talanoa Hufanga‘s interception return for a touchdown. As Hufanga was able to recognize the screen attempted to Kupp and jump it.
Tyler Higbee was a target hog this week, collecting 10 of his 14 targets for 73 yards. He was used primarily underneath and as a chain mover for the Rams. Higbee’s longest catch of the day was for 12 yards, and most of his work was done between five to eight yards. The tight end’s involvement going forward is going to be crucial, especially considering no other receiver on this team did anything worth a damn.
Ben Skrownek caught two passes for 33 yards. Allen Robinson continues to disappoint, getting six targets and only reeling in two passes for 7 yards. He caught a pass on third and three for two yards. There has to be a better way to integrate him into this offense, and he has to get better with what he’s given.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo: 16/27, 239 Yards, TD | 1 Carry, 3 Yards
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 25, 2022
Jimmy Garoppolo played a great game, didn’t get exposed, and allowed his playmakers to get the job done. There were some throws that were a little skeptical, but that’s going to happen with Jimmy G. The 49ers had 187 yards after the catch, which means that this team put Jimmy on its back. Some highlights for Garoppolo were his three-yard first-down run that helped lead the 49ers to their second touchdown in the game. On that same drive, he threw a slant to Deebo Samuel, just out of the defender’s reach, and got taken to the house for a 57-yard touchdown. To end the half, Garoppolo had a chance to get more points with George Kittle open down the sideline but opted to throw the ball out of bounds and finish up the half.
In the second half, Garoppolo and the offense caught a couple of breaks, including a 35-yard flat route to Kyle Juszczyk. On the same drive, Garoppolo hit Kittle in the perfect spot in the back of the endzone for a touchdown that was called back after Kittle failed to get two feet down. The last big play Garoppolo had was a screen to Deebo that was extended for 29 yards. Overall, Garoppolo did his job this week and didn’t lose the game for the 49ers.
Jeff Wilson Jr.: 18 Carries, 74 Yards, TD
Kyle Juszczyk: 1 Carry, 9 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 35 Yards
Jeff Wilson's got SPEED. pic.twitter.com/vi0WADuc24
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 4, 2022
Jeff Wilson Jr had a massive run in this game after some good blocking from George Kittle opened up the middle of the line and allowed Wilson to turn on the Jets for a 32-yard touchdown run. Wilson ran for 42 yards on 17 carries outside of that big run. The 49ers’ game plan was to run the ball 30 times, and they got up to 21, and Wilson was the only true running back to take a carry. Wilson is a game changer for the 49ers, and if he can get loose more often, we might be seeing more house calls this season. Kyle Juszczyk had his role in this game and made two first down worth plays, with a nine-yard full back cutback. “Juice” caught a flat route that turned into a 35-yard catch and run after the defense bit on a slant by Brandon Aiyuk.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Deebo Samuel: 7 Targets, 6 Receptions, 115 Yards, TD | 2 Carries, 2 Yards
Brandon Aiyuk: 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 37 Yards
George Kittle: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards
Jauan Jennings: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 22 Yards
Ray-Ray McCloud III: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 6 Yards
Ross Dwelley: 1 Target
Charlie Woerner: 1 Target
Greg Papa's radio call of the Deebo Samuel touchdown 📻 pic.twitter.com/qVUSVkrX0o
— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) October 4, 2022
Deebo Samuel is the best weapon in the league, all he needs is the ball and space, and he’ll make it happen. Samuel had six receptions for 115 yards; 86 of those yards came off two effort plays. The first one was a slant that could’ve easily been picked off, but it was high-pointed by Samuel and taken to the house. The next play was a screen pass taken for 27 yards due to great blocking and playmaking ability. Another stat for Samuel was his 40 yards after the catch on screen passes. Overall, Samuel continues to make Aaron Donald look silly for not knowing who he is, another legendary performance for the man dubbed 19 Problemz.
Brandon Aiyuk had four catches for 37 yards, working mostly the intermediate and short routes. Aiyuk started the game with an 11-yard slant, but some of his best work isn’t recorded on a stat sheet. He made key blocks on both of Deebo’s big plays. Aiyuk even got Jalen Ramsey flustered in this game, with those two getting real chatty at one point.
George Kittle was also very involved in the blocking game last night, but he did get four targets, with one big 20-yard play and a missed TD. If he only got his second foot in, he could’ve gotten his first TD of the year. Jauan Jennings showed up on the first drive for 22 yards on two receptions and didn’t get another catch the whole night.
Dre Greenlaw: 15 tackles
Samson Ekubam: 4 tackles, 2 sacks
Nick Bosa: 3 tackles, 2 sacks
Talanoa Hufanga: 4 tackles, Int, TD
TZZ UP FOR BIG HUF
First-career pick 6 for @TalanoaHufanga!
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 4, 2022
Dre Greenlaw was everywhere tonight, collecting 15 tackles. Whenever Kupp was coming across the middle or Higbee needed to be covered, you’d see Greenlaw. Nick Bosa and Samson Ekubam are a deadly combo at the defensive end, and both had two sacks this week, leading the defense to a dominant win with Ekubam stripping the ball on the Rams’ final drive. Bosa is currently the league leader in sacks with six and continued to show his dominance on Monday. Talanoa Hufanga has been an absolute stud for the 49ers this year; he hits hard and has all the natural instincts that the great safeties have. In this game, he put the nail in the Rams’ coffin by anticipating a screen pass and picking off the pass intended for Kupp, taking it back for a touchdown. This is the best defense in the game, hands down.