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Rams vs. 49ers: Week 7 game grades, analysis for San Francisco

Oct 21, 2018 at 5:15 PM


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The San Francisco 49ers suffered a turnover-prone Week 7 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Let's grade out the Niners' efforts position by position.


The San Francisco 49ers' issues with turning the ball over continued in Week 7 with the red-hot Los Angeles Rams coming to town. And the league's worst turnover differential grew even wider following the Niners' 39-10 defeat, as San Francisco committed four turnovers in the games and forced zero, widening what was a minus-11 mark entering the game to minus-15.

In short, the 49ers continue to find ways to lose games. Turning the ball over has been an issue primarily responsible for head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad the past three weeks now. The 49ers committed five turnovers in Week 5 at home against the Arizona Cardinals. A key fourth-quarter interception tossed by quarterback C.J. Beathard in Green Bay against the Packers on Monday Night Football last week ultimately led to the future Hall of Famer, Aaron Rodgers, making yet another epic comeback over San Francisco in Week 6.

No improvement shown against the Rams.

Beathard was averaging 2.7 turnovers per game in his three starts this season. That number didn't get any better versus L.A., so let's grade out his efforts and the rest of San Francisco's positions after Sunday's defeat.

Quarterback


Beathard went 15-of-27 for 170 yards, one touchdown against two interceptions for a passer rating of 56.1. But keep in mind those picks, as well as the strip-sack fumble from the first half. Those all hurt, and the Rams took full advantage of each Niner turnover.

To make things worse, Beathard showed his old bad habits of holding onto the ball too long and taking more than a few unnecessary sacks -- at least four of the seven total quarterback takedowns suffered to the Rams defense. He didn't improve over what was a pretty impressive effort in Green Bay the previous week.

Grade: F

Running Back


The 49ers weren't helped by running back Matt Breida's lingering ankle injury, which he initially suffered in Week 5 versus the Cardinals. Breida exited the game early after re-aggravating his ankle, finishing with 15 yards on five carries. His backup, Alfred Morris, didn't do much in relief.

No. 3 running back Raheem Mostert had himself a solid game, though, rushing for 59 yards and an average of 8.4 yards per attempt.

Grade: B

Wide Receiver


Marquise Goodwin led all 49ers wide receivers with two catches for 24 yards. That's all you need to know about this group. It was nonexistent today.

Grade: F

Tight End


George Kittle continues to be one of the few feel-good stories the Niners have this season. His stellar 2018 campaign continued with a five-catch, 98-yard effort that included San Francisco's first (and only) touchdown of the day.

This play leading up to the touchdown was pretty cool too:


Grade: A

Offensive Line


So much for the 49ers offensive line carrying over the momentum from a tremendous effort in Week 6 in Green Bay.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald mauled the Niners' O-line along the interior all game, registering four sacks alone out of the seven total San Francisco allowed during the game. While some of those sacks were on Beathard, the 49ers didn't exactly hold up their level of pass protection much either. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey struggled in pass protection and center Weston Richburg was completely overwhelmed by Donald.

At least the Niners' run blocking was OK.

Grade: D-

Defensive Line


Defensive tackle Arik Armstead recorded a sack in garbage time. EDGE Cassius Marsh managed one on the Rams' first offensive possession of the game.

Neither changed the outcome.

The 49ers' three first-round investments along the defensive line (Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas) have produced just one bona fide contributor, Buckner. Both Armstead and Thomas have shown to be little more than rotational depth players this deep into 2018. Neither is a difference maker on a defense needing a lot of difference makers.

Grade: D

Linebacker


Rookie linebacker Fred Warner missed another tackle, which would bring his season total to six. And Week 7 wasn't exactly fellow linebacker Reuben Foster's best game either. He gave up a touchdown grab by the Rams' Todd Gurley, and Foster was regularly taking a lot of bad angles before suffering a shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco needs Foster to revert back to his 2017 form. He hasn't been that this year at all.

Grade: D-

Secondary


The 49ers were shorthanded in their defensive backfield in Week 7, missing cornerbacks Richard Sherman (calf) and Jimmie Ward (hamstring). This forced both Ahkello Witherspoon and Greg Mabin into starting roles.

At least Mabin wasn't victimized as much as he was late in Green Bay last week. Witherspoon gave up a red-zone touchdown to Rams wideout Brandin Cooks.

Coverage was still an issue against Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Co. But that's to be expected. This unit isn't particularly good or deep right now. And it didn't help losing starting free safety Adrian Colbert to what appeared to be a serious lower leg injury.

Grade: D+

In fairness to the 49ers defense, this unit saw way too much field time (nearly 33 minutes of defensive stands) and still somehow managed to hold L.A.'s offense to 331 total yards and a 5-of-12 mark on third down.

Some might argue the Rams kept the Rams from one of those 500-yard performances in Week 7. But this game was yet another example of a 49ers failure in one area carrying over to the rest of the field. Those turnovers were absolute killers. Committing those against even an average-performing Rams offense this week wasn't going to be a winning formula.

Instead, San Francisco is handed yet another embarrassing loss.

At least the 49ers have a chance to enact some vengeance from another turnover-prone loss -- their 28-18 Week 5 loss at home versus the Arizona Cardinals, who managed five forced turnovers from San Francisco in that contest.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
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.


2 Comments

  • Tiny
    Super insightful article.....It gets so frustrating as a fan trying not to get down on our team when it's the same "Ground Hogs Day" game replaying every Sunday. There are patterns in performances in football based on past games played and you do not need a special talent to see what a player has done on the field. We trust and rely on 49ers management and I think they have a great plan but there is just not enough talent yet. Jed has grown a lot and has put us in a much better place with new G.M. and Kyle, it is unreasonable to expect us to be in the Super bowl in the next year or two.
    Oct 27, 2018 at 7:22 AM
    0
  • mbniner
    Beathard is a tough QB who is effective if he is given enough time. However, with this team he is under pressure a lot and his weaknesses are evident. He has very poor pocket presence and is not quick in reading coverages and locating receivers. That leads to sacks and turnovers. At this point in his career he reminds me of Steve Deberg who was Walsh's first QB for the Niners. He would look OK and have decent stats but would give up interceptions at critical times. People said that he "was just good enough to lose the game". I don't know if CJ will grow beyond this stage in his career but his NFL future depends on it.
    Oct 22, 2018 at 8:15 PM
    0

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