Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


49ers show character, resilience in bounceback win over Rams

Oct 18, 2020 at 10:19 PM--


What a difference a week makes for the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers were undoubtedly at a crossroads last week, facing a large amount of uncertainty after an embarrassing 43-17 loss against the Miami Dolphins put them in danger of a downward spiral against a rugged upcoming schedule full of playoff contenders. But instead of letting the situation get the best of them, the 49ers rallied with a good week of practice followed by a huge 24-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

The win proved the 49ers to be a team with the winning mentality and the level of resilience they'll need as they embark upon a stretch that features road games at New England, New Orleans, Seattle, and Los Angeles, with home games against the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills.

"The only thing to do (after such a loss) is get back to work, and that's what we did this week," tight end George Kittle told reporters following the win over the Rams. "You could feel it the whole week -- guys were locked in, were focused."

The 49ers were clearly dejected after the loss to the Dolphins, who came into the game as an eight-point underdog. They were able to start regrouping the following day, then built momentum throughout the week as they set themselves up for a rebound performance against the Rams.

"When you get embarrassed like that, you can find out a lot about your team," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday. "We came in Monday and it was a hard day, but usually when stuff like that happens, guys either give in because it gets too hard and they try to hide and point fingers a bit and go through the motions, or guys try to step it up and get better.

"I thought we had some good meetings on Monday, but you really don't know until you see guys on the field on Wednesday. I was very impressed with the character of our team and just how the players carried themselves and the way they came out to practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and really the way they responded to all of us getting embarrassed."

The key for the 49ers throughout the week, according to Shanahan, was tuning out any outside noise and focusing solely on improvement. The results they showed Sunday night spoke for themselves.

"They tried to get better this week and not worry about anything else. Usually when you do that and you can put together those types of practices, usually the results are better," Shanahan said. "I'm glad that they were, because I thought they really earned it throughout the week and today."

The 2020 season has been an inconsistent and at times frustrating one for the 49ers, who have had a number of injuries stand in the way as they attempt to regain the form they showed during their Super Bowl run in 2019. Their effort against the Dolphins brought back bad memories of the four-year stretch from 2015 through 2018, during which they won a total of just 16 games. But their showing against the Rams, which saw them jump out to a 21-6 halftime lead while making the plays down the stretch they needed to win, served as a reminder that their losing days are still in the rearview mirror.

"Just getting back to the brand of football we know we're capable of playing --- running the ball, moving the chains, taking the life out of a defense," defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. "Then on defense, big stops, three-and-outs, eliminating explosives, making them drive all the way down the field to beat us. I think we just got back to playing like we know how to play."

The 49ers still have some work to do before they reach the level of consistency they established in 2019, but the win over the Rams was a significant positive step. They'll look to build on their momentum next week against the New England Patriots, who should pose another major challenge despite falling at home to the Denver Broncos Sunday.

"We're definitely moving in the right direction," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "I wouldn't say we're totally there yet. There's still a lot of football left in the season. But how we finished this game, it felt a lot like last year, just how we controlled the clock at the end of the game, running the ball, converting third downs, and that's when we really put teams away. That's what we did tonight."





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