49ers 20, Rams 7: Grades

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The 49ers beat the Rams 20-7 Sunday afternoon. Here are the 49ers’ grades.

JIMMY GAROPPOLO: C-plus. He’s 13-2 in his career as a starting quarterback, so he’s doing something right. He throws beautiful passes, has a lightning-quick release and hangs tough under pressure. But, this season, he still hasn’t been the reason the 49ers have won a game. Against the Rams, he turned the ball over twice, and his quarterback rating was just 80.7. He has become a game manager who makes two or three bad decisions per game. Fortunately for the 49ers, none of his bad decisions have cost them a victory yet.

RUNNING BACKS: C. The 49ers running backs averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, which was to be expected – fullback Kyle Juszczyk is the engine of the run game and he will miss four to six weeks with a knee sprain. Without Juszczyk, the running backs had very small holes to run through. But, Tevin Coleman scored a touchdown, and Matt Breida caught four passes.

DANTE PETTIS: A. Last week, I tweeted that Pettis is a “flat-out bust.” That tweet may have been premature. He’s only 23, he still has played just 17 games during his career and he performed well against the Rams. Pettis led all 49ers wide receivers with 45 receiving yards, averaged an impressive 15 yards per catch and almost made a fantastic touchdown grab in the end zone, but got pushed out of bounds. Pettis is a highly-talented receiver who seemed to lose belief in himself during training camp. Sunday’s performance was a major confidence booster. Good for you, Dante. Sorry I called you a bust.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D. Other than Pettis, the 49ers receivers did very little. Deebo Samuel had 18 receiving yards, and Marquise Goodwin had just 15. Samuel is an inconsistent rookie, and Goodwin is a part-time player. The 49ers’ passing game will go as far as Pettis’ takes it. He is their x-factor.

TIGHT ENDS: A. George Kittle injured his groin Friday during practice, but you couldn’t tell Sunday against the Rams. He caught eight passes for 103 yards. He has improved every season in the NFL. His backups, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo, were solid blockers, too.

OFFENSIVE LINE: C-plus. The 49ers were missing both starting tackles – Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey – and you couldn’t really tell. Sure, the offense averaged just 2.4 yards per carry, and Garoppolo got sacked twice. But, pass protection wasn’t an issue for most of the game. Backup left tackle Justin Skule gave up one sack to Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, but played well after that. And Backup right tackle Daniel Brunskill was solid.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A-minus. They gave up five yards per carry, which is too much. But, they were dominant against the pass. Arik Armstead was the player of the game. He made a touchdown-saving tackle on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, recovered a fumble on the first play of the third quarter and sacked Rams quarterback Jared Goff late in the fourth quarter to put away the game. Solomon Thomas recorded a sack and had by far the best performance of his career. Ronald Blair recorded a sack. Dee Ford record 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. And Nick Bosa didn’t record a stat, but he generated lots of pressure.

LINEBACKERS: A-minus. Also partially responsible for the leaky run defense. But, Kwon Alexander made a touchdown-saving tackle on third-and-goal from the one-yard line. And Fred Warner recorded six tackles.

SECONDARY: A-plus. Gave up just 78 passing yards the entire game. Jimmie Ward broke up two passes. Jaquiski Tartt recorded an excellent tackle for loss. And the cornerbacks dominated a terrific group of wide receivers. The Rams leading wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, had just 17 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus. Robbie Gould misses a difficult 55-yard field goal, but made two short ones.

COACHES: A-plus. Kyle Shanahan finally proved he’s a better coach than his former underling, Sean McVay. Shanahan outcoached him, even though Shanahan had four fewer days to prepare, had more injured players and had to travel to L.A. to play the game. Now, Shanahan has established himself as a serious head coach. And Robert Saleh has established himself as the best defensive coordinator in the NFL. He made Goff look like a scared 11-year old, and put the rest of the NFL on notice: The 49ers are back. As long as they have this defense, they can beat anyone.

This article has 71 Comments

  1. A truly satisfying win. I wonder what trajectory the game would have taken if Goodwin didn’t drop that perfect long pass from Jimmy.

    1. David,, that was a gut wrenching drop alright. But wasn’t the next play that pass to Kittle that got them beyond where the Goodwin miss occurred?

      1. I believe so. But then Jimmy threw the pick in the end zone. If Goodwin catches that pass, maybe we punch it in afterwards.

        1. It would be an interesting stat to see how many points we’ve left on the field by not capitolizing on turnovers. I thought we could have had at least 30+ points total today if we scored on turnovers or missed opportunities.

          But the win is sweet when looking at many the layers of the game.
          1. The McVay genius title is finally put to rest.
          2. Rams no longer viewed as the best team in our division.
          3. We put fear in the rams going forward.
          4. Lynch’s good signing (players) moves are starting to overshadow some of the bad ones. Especially with backup players. Had to throw that in.
          5. Bosa has made the defense better than its been for the last 7 years by making other players better (PT hit on this for last 3 years).
          6. The entire coaching staff is looking good.
          7. Saleh is the best DC of the year so far.
          8. Goff’ lack of passing proved that his headcoach has lost confidence in him. The 49ers D forced McVay to put his QB in bubble wrap today.
          9. The 49ers added more misery to LA fans after the dodgers debacle early in the week. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.
          Sure there are more layers but I’m tired.

    2. Well, there was also the pass on the goal line that Coleman muffed when he was wide open. That would have given them 7 points instead of 3, and may have deflated the Rams further (if such a thing were possible).

    3. goodwin should have caught it… but perfect? that ball was severely underthrown. great play call that should have been a TD.

    4. That was far from a perfect pass. Short and late.
      Goodwin had to turn around and wait for the ball. It’s these “easy” balls which give you time to think, that receivers drop.. Happens a lot.

      1. OK, so every pass that hits a receiver in the breadbasket and is dropped because the receiver has too much time to “think about it” is the QBs fault. Got it.

  2. I have to admit, I thought this would be a loss heading into the game. I thought as well as the D had been playing, they would be shown up a little today by a Rams offense desperate to course correct their season. I also thought the offense would really struggle on the road without their two starting OTs and Juice against a rested D looking to bounce back.

    The offense did have some struggles, but they managed to move the ball pretty effectively and could easily have put up 30 points today with some better play in the red zone. While the D was just astounding after that first drive. The D is playing terrific football. Didn’t allow a 3rd or 4th down conversion all game, and completely shut down a passing offense that had put up lots of yards and points the past two weeks. Great effort.

    1. When was the last time an NFL defense prevented *any* 3rd or 4th down conversions for a whole game (and particularly with the number of tries, 9 and 4 IIRC)?

  3. Grant says… Last week, I tweeted that Pettis is a “flat-out bust.” That tweet may have been premature.

    Wouldn’t be the first time you got ahead of yourself. Hang in there Grant. Between aging gracefully (the maturation process) and Sebbie’s heart-felt/tough-love criticism, you’ll be fine.

      1. PT I agree to a certain degree, but this secondary was horrible at tackling last season and the season before. They have improved a lot in that aspect, and have in the coverage and penalty problems.
        I think they’ve improved also.
        But yes.. the d-line makes them look better. Their isn’t a better one in the league at this point.

        1. Sherman, Moseley, Tartt and Ward all played well today. Credit to where credit is due.
          But looking back at these last 5 games, the dline might be the best in the NFL. That makes every thing look good.

  4. No argument.. The defense is the real deal and won the game today. The offense left a lot of points off the board especially in the Red Zone.. I don’t know how you don’t give a guy not one touch who scored 4 TD’s in two games in the the Red Zone..

  5. I never doubted, and as soon as I saw what McVay came up with after 10 days of preparation on their opening drive, I knew he was a desperate man.

    I thought Pettis needed to step up to have a chance of winning this game and he did. I hope he springboards off this performance, and continues to assert himself.

    This is a championship defense, and I will now go and celebrate the 49ers victory. To the Power And The Glory!

  6. But, this season, he still hasn’t been the reason the 49ers have won a game.

    Forgetting that stick to Pettis that won the Steelers game?

    1. Where’s Rocket…I mean that pseudo commenter that wrote an essay on how Goff does not wilt under pressure just like he did at Cal?

    2. It’s the whole body of work, not one play.
      The defense is the soul of this team. They cover up for a lot of offensive (QB) mistakes.
      I hold my breath every time the QB drops back to pass. It’s still a work in progress. There were a couple of dropped easy interceptions by the Rams in the game. And not protecting the ball with both hands in a crowd is amateurish. (strip/fumble).
      Grappolo is certainly not the reason the Niners are winning. Shanahan has a tight rein on him also. You can see it.

      He’ll get better with more play. But right now he’s nowhere close to being the fifth best in the league, like he’s being paid.

      1. The defense is the soul of this team.

        An offense that’s 3rd in the league in PPG is nothing to sneeze at either.

        Grappolo is certainly not the reason the Niners are winning.

        You’re right, he only has a 13-2 record as a starting QB, not 15-0.

  7. I feel like O-line should be around an A, and the special teams closer to a C. Entire front 7 should be A+, too. The line simply wrecked the Rams all game long.

  8. Its the passing game that is the only weakness on this team…hey Grant don’t do a suit for Periscope= cause you predicted a loss…back to messy hair and over large sweaters….LOL

  9. I knew Goff would crumble under the 49er pass rush which I call THE GOLD RUSH and their Sacks of Gold. It was good see that and I think every other team will wilt under that pressure. The Rams wilted in the Super Bowl and are still befuddled. Their confidence is shot with the exception of Arnold.

    Jimmy G has to stop with the dumb interceptions. This team is play off bound and not even as good as they will be with a successful draft next year.

    1. It would have to be Gold Rush II because of the all time great 70’s crew of Cedrick Hardman, Cleveland Elam, Tommie Hart and Jimmie Webb.

  10. As fitful as the offense was, less than 100 yards rushing, JGs two TOS, they still dominated TOP 2 to 1. Granted, Rams O couldn’t do anything when they had the ball, but Niners O moved the ball and the sticks when they had to. Considering the missing pieces, Shannies plan was otherworldly.

  11. Goodwin dropping a deep pass right on the number and Coleman not hauling in a sure TD-pass (though the pass was far from perfect) didn’t help JG’s statline either. Plus, he had pressure in his face all day long.

    1. The Goodwin drop sucked, but not sure it impacted his stat line too much – wasn’t the 46 yarder to Kittle a few plays after that anyway? If Goodwin makes the play then Kittle doesn’t make his.

  12. Wasn’t Jimmy the reason the Niners won the Pittsburgh game? He got smacked around, his teammates didn’t do him any favors and the kid made big boy throw after big boy throw…not to mention the game winning TD pass to Pettis…But why let little things like FACTS get in the way of a haters best!!

    1. No. He had 3 turnovers & his ESPN QBR for that game was his worst of the yr at 38.4. The reason they won that game was b/c the d held the Steelers to 6 pts off of 5 tov’s as well as forcing 2 tov’s that led to 14 pts.

  13. I wonder if McVay had stuck to the run more even while down by more than two scores…if they would have kept the ball longer and maybe scored more. You knew it was all over every time the Rams were in a passing situation and the Niner’s D-line was just getting ready to tee-off on Goff.

    One thing that I wonder about is the 49er’s offensive play calls when they’re ahead by 2 scores with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They seem to just hand the ball of with runs up the middle against the defense stacked against them. There’s like 12 defenders in between the tackles, and I’m thinking…you could pass the ball but okay…just grind out some yards but run wide for a 4 yard gain….but no, the Niners just run it right into the teeth of the defense for the loss of a yard. They might as well kneel down 3 times and punt the ball.

    Last week I was glad Ward was back as a deep defender that wouldn’t let anything by him…he may not make the big play interception but he’s not going to let someone run by him for a TD either. This week I was glad to see him with smothering tight coverage near the line of scrimmage.

    Arik Armstead is playing his way off of the team. Every good play he makes I just hear “cha-ching” and see $$$ float in the air.

    The Niners really do need a downfield receiver. I’ve said for quite some time that they don’t need a bona fide #1 receiver because Shanahan can scheme guys open. But they need a WR that Garappolo has confidence in. He had that with Trent Taylor a couple years ago. He has it with Kittle. But everyone else it seems like you just hold your breath and hope it goes well.

    I liked that impromptu shuttle pass to Tolio and watch him rumble for 7 yards. When Staley and McGlinchey get healthy…I’d like to see some way to get ex-TE Skule in there to serve as an extra blocker and pass receiver. Big man with ball! I loved it when Staley and especially Sopoaga caught a pass during the Harbaugh era.

    The interior run defense still worries me. It’s schematically weak and I wonder if the players are stout enough to compensate for it.

    I’m liking what I’ve seen from Emmanuel Mosely. New DB coach Joe Woods is doing a great job with the the secondary this year. Of course he’s being greatly helped by the stellar D-line pass rush.

    1. One thing that I wonder about is the 49er’s offensive play calls when they’re ahead by 2 scores with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They seem to just hand the ball of with runs up the middle against the defense stacked against them.

      Maybe Shanahan remembers what happened in a recent Super Bowl of which he was a part?

      The interior run defense still worries me. It’s schematically weak and I wonder if the players are stout enough to compensate for it.

      If Buckner, Armstead, Alexander, and Warner can’t stop the run…nobody can. The Rams used a lot of misdirection on their first drive that Saleh seems to have compensated for subsequently.

      1. You seem to have missed the part where I said they should run the ball WIDE….instead of up the middle and into the teeth of the defense.

        1. Doubt our makeshift OL has had enough time together to coordinate outside runs that have a reliably high chance of success. And with 9 in the box, the teeth are pretty much everywhere you’ll want to run, especially when they know it’s coming.

  14. We all know Jimmy has room for improvement. But don’t you LOVE the way he stands tall under pressure, and is ALWAYS looking to get the pass off? He isn’t gun-shy, that’s for sure!

    1. I’d be happier if Garappolo made his decisions in the pocket quicker. Beathard stood tall in the pocket too and it made him an in game tackling dummy.

      1. Are the receivers getting open fast enough? IIRC, prior to this game, Jimmy G already had one of the fastest get-rid-of-the-ball times (from snap to throw) in the NFL.

        1. That’s because most of his reads are simple 1-2 reads off of play action…almost predefined.

          He did drop back more in this game with full field reads. Sometimes he made quick decision but other times he was slow to get rid of the ball. It almost seems like he’s still looking for receivers to be open instead of knowing they’ll be open and anticipating it. Sometimes it seems like he stares at a receiver and then throws it in anticipation that they’ll be open. But over all it still seems like he’s waiting to see receivers get open.

            1. We’re seeing different things.

              When I watch him….he’s still first looking for his receiver to get open and then throwing him open…it’s extremely prominent if his first read isn’t open.

              His brain still appears to freeze if his first look isn’t open and the pocket isn’t clean. …he made a nice improvised play when he scrambled and shuttled the ball to Tolio. But you don’t really want to rely on backyard QB play like that.

      2. to me, his biggest problem is staring receivers down.
        that should have been a pick 6 he threw on that last 2nd quarter drive.

        i feel like his accuracy is a little off too this year. when he 1st got here, he was inaccurate on deep balls, but he was consistently accurate on short to intermediate throws.

      3. Faster???
        He gets rid of the ball in less than 2.5 seconds, there are maybe 3 or 4 qb’s that get rid of the ball faster than him.

        1. sigh……once again…it’s not his release that is the problem. also most of his passes are paired down play action passes (mostly pre-determined reads). So his decision making and of course his release is quick.

          But on those full field passing plays when his initial receiver is covered it’s like his brain freezes and makes stupid plays/gets sacked.

  15. Grant, you were a bit tough on Jimmy…but I agree with you here,

    “The 49ers are back. As long as they have this defense, they can beat anyone.”

    Looking forward to getting in Russell Wilson’s face!

  16. I believe Jimmy is a franchise Quarterback in the making. He is making 70 % of his throws and about half his interceptions aren’t the result of bad decisions. He’s a inexperienced QB but getting better game by game and will be Avery good QB for years to come. He’s certainly better than a C plus.

  17. “One thing that I wonder about is the 49er’s offensive play calls when they’re ahead by 2 scores with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. ”

    I guessed he called those plays so as not to embarrass McVay. Just to run out the clock, nothing more. Just a guess, like I say.

  18. Grant, your dislike for Jimmy G is out of line and is clouding your judgement. Jimmy G did what he was asked to do with 3 starters out knowing that he facing the #1 defense player in the game and another top 10 defense player who were licking there lips anticipating a sack fest. Jimmy G lead the Niners to 6 scoring potential scoring drives and scoring on 4 of those drives. While not perfect, Jimmy G did what KS expected him to do, not lose the game.
    Perhaps we all have missed his trend this season has bad Jimmy on odd numbed games and good Jimmy on even games. If this trend continues it could cause a problem. In this game the number of turnovers in total went down for the team, maybe by game 7 he will be down to 0 or 1.

      1. Grant what do you think about Richard Sherman’s post game comments on people who doubted the 49ers?
        You think you might be one of the people he is referring to?

  19. I was reading some posts over on PFT and I think a guy named ‘sixstream’ summed up our offense nicely:

    “Offensively, with a strong run game, a clutch tight end, a creative play-caller, and a quarterback who can move the sticks when he needs to, the 49ers give every indication they can match up with any team in the NFC.”

      1. Probably, but I don’t like to look ahead. One game at a time. Washington has nothing to lose in the next game. I think an important part of being a top-notch head coach is being able to get your team up to play a game which they are supposed to easily win. I don’t think Kyle has had the opportunity to do that yet. I’m pretty sure it will happen because even in the losing seasons he was able to keep the team motivated.

        The Panthers game looks like it could be tough. I haven’t seen any of their games, so I’ll need to do that.

        1. You are right Cubus. Don’t get ahead of ourselves. WSH is a trap game but we won’t get no credit till we beat another team with a winning record.

  20. I think Kyle will work hard to beat Washington. No one likes Snyder and I am fairly sure Kyle wants to destroy Washington to get back at Snyder for firing his Dad.
    Works for me.

  21. I would give JG a C, for his 2 turnovers, and him throwing a pick that was dropped.
    JG needs to have better ball security, especially around the goal line, where the Niners should have gotten at least 3 points, instead of nothing, with that pick in the end zone.
    The Rams stacked the box and took away the run game, forcing JG to win with his arm. Thankfully, JG performed well enough to win, although with that Niner defense, his job was made a lot easier.
    I do not think the WRs deserve a D. They deserve a C, because they won. If the Niners had lost, then maybe a D is in order.
    I would still give the Niner D line an A, because they did not allow any 3rd or 4th down conversions.
    All in all, this was a glorious, dominating win. The Rams did not have home field advantage, because it seemed like there were just as many Niner fans, as there were Rams fans. Maybe even more.

  22. The next tough game and test for this offense will be Carolina. They get to the QB better than any team we’ve faced so far, and their running game is no joke.
    That’s got the makings of a classic defensive battle. Glad it’s on the west coast and not Vice versa.
    And yes I’m writing off the redskins game.
    They’re so bad last years 49ers would have won this game..

    1. Nice summation.
      Panthers are a team that is improving rapidly after Newton went down. They’re probably better now than with him.
      But then the Niners are also improving.
      Especially with both QB garnering more experience with playing time, it could be a titanic clash. (LOL – just like the Rams game was supposed to be)

  23. Win against defending NFC champs, division rival, on the road…any road win in the NFL is a big deal but aside from the first drive the defense looked so solid that i’ve gone from cautiously optimistic to dang this is a good team. To do this without starting tackles and fullback is pretty awesome. There will be trials ahead, but this team might just be up to all of them.

  24. It’s scary to think how good our offense can be when we get both Tackles, Trent Taylor, and maybe Hurd back. Trent Taylor is Jimmy’s favorite WR and is probably the best WR on the team. Hurd is a chest-piece that Shanahan desperately wanted and hasn’t been able to use so far.

    When we get healthy and get a couple WRs back from IR, this offense can be scary good.

  25. This defense brings back memories of the Harbaugh days. Bend don’t break. Bosa is a stud. He isn’t getting the credit so far. We watched him bull rush the left tackle into Goff. Then they started to chip Bosa with the tight ends and then double team him. Not bad for a rookie. Jimmie is tough to watch. He reminds me of Tony Romo.

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