49ers Rout Rams 35-0


The San Francisco 49ers handed the St. Louis Rams a crushing 35-0 loss last week.

Special teams, offense, defense, offense, defense.  That was the order of the 49ers touchdowns scored on Sunday as the Red and Gold demolished the Rams 35-0 improving their record to 3-1 and widened their NFC West divisional lead to two games.

The 49ers first touchdown was kicked by Rams special teamer Quincy Butler after the punt returner let it bounced which hit off of Butler’s foot allowing rookie Scott McKillop to recover the football for the games first six points.

By half-time it was 7-0 and I was just happy the 49ers had some points on the board against the Rams.  The 49ers offense predictably got off to another slow start and that continued into the second-half as the 49ers opening drive of the third quarter yielded another punt.

When the 49ers got the ball back for the second time of the third quarter Shaun Hill led the offense on a 48-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis, 14-0.  The catch and play was very similar to Davis’ first touchdown against the Vikings the week before.

The 49ers did a great job of holding down the only threat on the Rams offense in Steven Jackson who had only 79 rushing yards.  The D decided to get into the scoring category when Patrick Willis intercepted a pass by Kyle Boller which he ran back for a 23-yard touchdown, 21-0.

Willis who had one of his best games of his career with 8 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, 3 tackles for losses, 3 quarterback “hurries” and 1 pass defended to go along with the INT and touchdown was spying Boller the whole way on the pass and broke on it as soon as he realized where it was going.

After the score there was 5:31 left in the third quarter and with the way the Rams were playing I thought the scoring in the game was finished as I waited for the 49ers to go into conserve mode and bleed out the clock.  To my surprise offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye wanted to go for the jugular as Shaun Hill drove the offense 43 yards in just over two minutes for a 24-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan for a 28-0 lead.

Morgan missed a potential receiving touchdown in the first-half that bounced right off his hands.  He made up for that mistake on the pass from Hill that was perfectly placed for Morgan so long as he could jump up and catch the football.

For Hill to look to Morgan and to trust him to make that type of play shows Hill quickly forgets about mistakes made earlier in the game and shows the trust he still had in his receiver no matter what previously happened.  Any scoring after that would have just been icing on the cake and the 49ers got all of the icing it could take 14 seconds later with a fumble recovery by Ray McDonald for an 11-yard touchdown, 35-0.

This is what great teams are suppose to do against the lower level teams in the NFL.  You don’t just beat them, you destroy them.

The 49ers are not one of the top-ten teams or one of the great teams in the NFL yet.  However with the way they have been playing on both sides of the football this should serve notice to the rest of the league that the 49ers are for real and if you do not take us seriously we will make you pay.

Game Observations:

The Pros:

  • Everyone on the team got into the game and contributed.  If you can get a score from your special teams, two from defense and two on offense you know you have something going right for your team.  This gives us confidence going forward knowing that any unit on the team can score a touchdown.
  • The 49ers defense had their first shutout since the last game of the 2001 season. Shutouts don’t come easy in the NFL and the 49ers should be proud of the goose egg they had on defense.
  • Shaun Hill was 14 for 24 for 152 yards with two TD’s and no interceptions.  He is 10-4 overall as a starter and is 7-0 when he starts at Candlestick.
  • Josh Morgan’s receiving touchdown in the third quarter was the first by a Niners receiver.  This could easily go into the Con category but Morgan is starting to come around as a threat and with the play of Vernon Davis defenses will be focusing more on the tight end in the passing game.  I saw the 49ers receivers progressing in this game.  It won’t show up in the stats column but Raye is getting them more involved as he sets up the passing game with the run.
  • Glen Coffee played well in the absence of Frank Gore.  I expected more as he only had 74 rushing yards and did not break off any big gains but he played well enough for the 49ers to be able to continue running the ball, he had 24 attempts, and kept the Rams concerned about the run.
  • The 49ers are off to a 3-1 start through the first quarter of the season. Even though they rank 28th in the league in offense their defense is ranked 7th in the NFL.

The Cons:

  • Joe Nedney missed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter with the score tied 0-0.  Nedney needs to make these field goals especially in close games and in the first-half.  The 49ers offense gets off to a slow start and any point we can come by in the first-half helps us the rest of the game.  In the future if the 49ers continue to have a slow starting offense and they cannot get points on special teams or defense they may be out of games come the start of the second-half when they start playing teams like the Falcons, Colts, Bears and Eagles.  These teams will take advantage of mistakes unlike the 49ers four opponents so far.
  • Shaun Hill was sacked four times by four different Rams, three of them backups.  The offensive line played better but still allowed too many sacks by a defense that is not good at pressuring the quarterback.  They gave Hill the time he needed to make plays most notably his two TD passes but to give up four sacks against the Rams D shows there is still a lot of work to be done by the O-line.
  • The 49ers scored some points but showed they are still developing their offense.  The offense generated 228 yards in total offense against an 0-4 team ranked 29th in the league in defense.
  • The 49ers had drives end eight times in punts compared to the Rams eight drives that ended in punts.  To make matters worse the 49ers were 4-13 on third-down conversions.

Game Grades:

Offense (B-):  The grade could have been higher had the 49ers offense had a more productive first-half on offense.  They did this against the Vikings last week as well and have to watch out going forward in the future.  The D will not always be there to bail out the offense in the first-half.  Teams that are better than the 49ers will exploit their slow generating offense.  Getting the 49ers first TD by a wide receiver was huge.

Defense (A):  A shutout, 177 total yards against, an interception and fumble ran back for TD’s and 5 sacks will get you an A grade every week.

Special Teams (B+): If not for Nedney’s missed field goal this might have been an A grade.  Nedney needs to be automatic on field goals when the game is tied.  Andy Lee was in Pro Bowl form making up for the lack of the 49ers offense with 5 of his 7 punts placed inside the 20.

Coaching (A-):  Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye stayed true to the run even when it was only getting two or three yards.  As unexciting as that may be for the 49er Faithful the commitment to the run pays off in the passing game.  Raye showed he trusts Hill to make plays calling up three throws to the end-zone on which he connected on two of them for TD’s.  Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky drew up another brilliant game plan as he limited Steven Jackson and the damage he can do and forced Boller into making mistakes by pressuring him with the linebackers.  Special Teams coach Al Everest gets an A for another special teams TD.

Next Up:

@home vs. Falcons.  The 49ers are at home and have the momentum going into week 5 with their blow out win.  The Falcons will be rested as they are coming off of their bye week but I think the advantage goes to the 49ers who will have their bye week in week 6.  If the 49ers can push their record to 4-1 they will go into a tough stretch of their schedule fully rested, Frank Gore back and with lots of confidence when they travel to Houston (week 7) and Indianapolis (week 8).

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