Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


Rapid Reaction to the 49ers’ 20-7 Victory Over the Rams

Matt Andruscavage
Oct 13, 2019 at 5:51 PM


1) This May be the Best Defense in the NFL


There is so much to report about concerning this defense that it's difficult to find a starting point! First, it held a passing attack that averages 421 yards to only 131. The 49ers' pass defense limited Jared Goff to a measly 78 yards (56 yards net passing on the day). The Rams went 0-9 on third down and 0-4 on fourth down, including failing to convert on a devastating goal line stand.

After giving up a touchdown on the Rams' opening drive, the 49ers never looked back and shut out the Rams the rest of the way. Once the Rams fell far enough behind and couldn't run anymore, it was open season on Jared Goff and the front seven did not disappoint as its members were in the backfield and in Goff's face the entire day.

Through five games, the defense has only allowed 57 points (minus Garoppolo's Week 1 pick six). (stat credit to Al Sacco)

Robert Saleh deserves a lot of credit for calling a great game and this defensive line has put the rest of the NFL on notice as it can close out games. This was complete domination.

2) The Injuries Matter, but the 49ers are Playing Through Them


Justin Skule has been much better than expected, filling in for Joe Staley. After giving up a sack on the first drive, we did not hear his name until the announcers gave him credit for playing well the entire game. Daniel Brunskill gave up a couple pressures, but also filled in well.

Kyle Juszczyk being out does limit the running game a bit, but the scheme was sound and it rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Statistically, the yardage wasn't great, but the running backs did run for a few first downs and they were able to run enough to keep the defense honest and milk the clock.

Emmanuel Moseley continued to play well in Ahkello Witherspoon's absence and overall, the 49ers have not blinked in the face of adversity. The next man up is expected to play well and we are seeing that on the field.

3) Jimmy Garoppolo is a Very Good Quarterback


You just cannot argue with an 11-2 record. While he isn't winning games by himself, there is just no way to argue that he isn't valuable and even that the 49ers would be winning these games without him.

He was once again very efficient and it was against a quality defense on the road. Garoppolo finished 24-33 for 243 yards and a rushing touchdown. He did have an interception (that could have been overturned as George Kittle was held in the endzone by his defender, but was not called) and there was a fumble, but he plays through the pressure and is able to get off passes quickly to move the chains. The 49ers have not had a quarterback like this since the Pro Bowl Jeff Garcia days of 2000 and 2001.

Garoppolo is tough, mobile and the truth is, he may just be getting started.

4) Redemption


It's no secret how The Faithful has felt about certain players left over from the Trent Baalke days. Jimmie Ward, Arik Armstead, and Jaquiski Tartt have all had to endure their share of criticism, but all have played a big role in not only this win, but all season.

Tartt has been quietly having a good year in both coverage and in being able to make open field tackles. He had a beautiful hit for a loss today and always brings the wood.

Armstead has been a force since mid-season 2018. He has been getting pressures and sacks, and has been terrific against the run.

Even Jimmie Ward, who is finally healthy after a long history of injuries, got in the mix today. His coverage and tackling were key during a number of drives and it's good to see him having success.

The bottom line? Trust this coaching staff. If they're on the team, they are here for a reason.

5) The Playoffs Are in Sight


Obviously, we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves, but the facts are the facts. The San Francisco 49ers are 5-0 and are atop the NFC West. They possess the best defense in the NFL. They have a legit quarterback. They have the best running game in the league. This may only be the beginning.

Coach Shanahan said today, "I'm very happy with how we played. We're 5-0, which is a great thing, but we're not playing our best ball. We can do a lot of things better than that. It seemed like our defense played at an extremely high level, obviously, minus the first drive. We can continue to get better on offense. We can continue to get better on special teams. I also our defense is just getting started, too."

Yes, there are flaws on offense, but let's continue to give it some time and see how they play over the next few weeks. They are now a real playoff and division contender, something many have doubted. It's a one-game-at-a-time approach, but we could finally see postseason football at Levi's Stadium.

Once they get guys back from injury, this team could be much better than it is already.
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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