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Stock up, stock down from 1st half of 49ers vs. Rams

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 17, 2023 at 3:15 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are in a tight race with their division rivals, as they're tied 17-17 at halftime with the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2 at SoFi Stadium.

The 49ers came into the game as overwhelming favorites, but the Rams offense has continued to build off their Week 1 performance with a strong showing on Sunday, leading to a close game at the half.

Stock Up

HC Kyle Shanahan

For the second consecutive week, head coach Kyle Shanahan has called a strong first half offensively, leading to a solid showing with 17 first-half points.

The 49ers dominated the pace early with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, and have scored on three of their first four drives, with the field goal coming within the Rams' 10-yard line.

On the lone punt of the half, the 49ers had a great opportunity to score on a crisp double move from Brandon Aiyuk, but quarterback Brock Purdy overthrew his open target, leading to a third-and-long, and an eventual punt in Rams territory.

Not only has Shanahan called a good game, but it's clear he's looking to be aggressive, as the offense lined up for it on 4th & 2 deep in the redzone before a completion was overturned, while the 49ers elected against going for a field goal at the end of the half, quarterback sneaking for a touchdown as time expired.

This newfound early aggression from Kyle Shanahan is a pleasant sight to watch, and he's continued to start strong offensively in Week 2.

DE Drake Jackson

Drake Jackson continues to work well with help from his supporting cast, making a nice play early, utilizing his athleticism, while recording a nice pass breakup at the line of scrimmage while Matthew Stafford rolled out of the pocket.

The defensive line hasn't been great early, but the 49ers have seen some nice plays from Jackson, who continues to flash.

The task now becomes changing that into week-to-week consistency as a piece on the 49ers defensive line.

RB Christian McCaffrey

Every single week, Christian McCaffrey finds a way to make significant explosive plays, which propel the 49ers' momentum offensively and ease up the passing game for when the run doesn't work.

McCaffrey caught fire with a 51-yard rush, while also having a 14-yard carry in the game, finishing the first half with 88 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Aiyuk stole the show in Week 1, but McCaffrey's consistent ability to create explosive plays in the run game is a refreshing feeling and further fuels the offense into incorporating what head coach Kyle Shanahan wants executed.

McCaffrey hasn't exploded yet in the passing game, but he hasn't needed to, and instead continues to excel in his role on the ground.

Stock Down

CB Isaiah Oliver

For the second week in a row, Isaiah Oliver makes the halftime "stock down" list after a couple of poor plays.

Oliver was inserted after cornerback Ambry Thomas was named questionable to return with a knee injury, and started with a big easy missed tackle on Kyren Williams that moved the chains and led the Rams to complete a scoring drive, where the cornerback didn't fit the run well on another Williams run.

Oliver also committed a "hands to the face" penalty.

The 49ers need a solution sooner than later at their third cornerback spot, and the early returns with their two options haven't been promising.

CB Charvarius Ward

Charvarius Ward has struggled early at the line of scrimmage, going up on several instances against Puka Nacua, with him committing a penalty and giving up a few catches.

Ward has normally been a strong press-man corner, working well at the line of scrimmage, but that wasn't the case on par with standards in the first half.

A portion of it could do with the amount of off-coverage that the 49ers are playing, which seems like a questionable decision given the strength of the defensive line and the offensive gameplan that the Rams are incorporating with their quick game.

But, Ward will look to improve in coverage during the second half by being more physical and winning matchups closer at the line of scrimmage.

DC Steve Wilks

Like I shared above, the amount of off-coverage on the day has been questionable from Steve Wilks, and not on par with what the Rams are running, leading to a number of shorter catches and an easy way for Los Angeles to move the ball down the field.

There haven't been many blitzes, which is an issue as the defensive line has struggled to get pressure, leading to a comfortable Matthew Stafford in the pocket to make throws to open receivers.

Wilks has to utilize his personnel better and be more aggressive in the second half to help shut down the Rams offense, which hasn't occurred yet, as Los Angeles scored 17 first-half points.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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