Recap of 49ers Win Over Rams
The 49ers won their second straight game thanks to Troy Smith’s poise and the defense stopping the Rams on drives that only lead to field goals. Overall it is great to get the third win of the season especially against a division foe in the Rams. However the 49er Faithful should be concerned about the three touchdowns that were negated because of penalty’s. Against any of the current playoff contending teams this season the 49ers would have lost the game. In the end we got a W in the win column and with Smith’s performance any questions of who should start under center are now settled. Let’s hand out some Game Gold Nuggets (GGN). Game Gold Nuggets are awarded based on the 49ers play, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.
Smith passing for 356 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions was huge for the offense. Troy gives life to the passing game that has been non-existent with Alex Smith under center. Troy looked pure and poised on his deep throws and with the issues on the offensive line being able to throw accurately on the run is huge. This is what has made Troy successful and Alex not.
Josh Morgan’s 65-yard catch to set up Frank Gore for the 49ers first touchdown in the first quarter was perfectly thrown by Smith. In the second quarter Smith threw a deep pass to Michael Crabtree that ended up being a pass inference call against the Rams for a 38-yard penalty. The passing play along with Morgan’s big catch showed the Rams were not respecting the 49ers deep passing game. Five plays after the penalty the 49ers scored with a touchdown pass to Vernon Davis that was called back because of a delay of game penalty. The 49ers just missed getting the snap off in time but the real killer was the 49ers had to settle for a field goal and went up 10-7.
Smith has shown his great ability to scramble and make plays on the run. In the third quarter Smith avoided pressure by running outside the pocket and connected with Delaine Walker for a big gain. The catch was one of four for Walker who had great day with 80 receiving yards. Another play that showed Smith’s ability to hit targets on the run was on the second negated TD because of a penalty. The pass was to Crabtree for a 19-yard TD but tackle Anthony Davis was called for holding which resulted in a field goal to put the 49ers up 13-7.
Vernon Davis was the victim again of the 49ers miscues as his 43-yard touchdown catch was called back again because of an Anthony Davis holding penalty. It was a shame the TD was called back because Smith threw a perfect pass just over the defender and Davis made an unbelievable catch. The 49ers still got a TD with a pass to Crabtree that gave them the lead with a 20-17 score. The Crabtree TD was a pass Alex Smith may not have made with the game on the line and with the velocity that Troy had behind it. The catch by Crabtree and how he tip-toed the goal line showed how great of receiver he is.
The 49ers were horrible on third down conversions in the second half but continued pounding the Rams to force the game into overtime. I don’t think the pass interference call in overtime was catchable by Walker but it is about time something went the 49ers way this season. The 22-yard penalty set up the 49ers at the Rams 21-yard line that lead to Joe Nedney’s game winning field goal.
The 49ers defense did a great job of slowing down Stephen Jackson who only had 81 rushing yards. The defense did make mistakes in the first quarter similar to the offense. Linebacker Ahmed Brooks was called for an offside’s penalty trying to time the snap count and it negated an interception by Nate Clements. The INT would have set up the 49ers at the Rams four-yard line. On the next play Ray McDonald was called for an offside’s. I thought the 49ers defense in the first quarter was going to play as they had in the previous losses suffered where the team beats themselves with penalty’s and mistakes. However the defense only got better as the game went on and kept the 49ers close.
While Clements had a better game compared to the last three games safety Dashon Goldson had a few miscues that could have really hurt the 49ers. In the third quarter Goldson was beaten badly on a pass to Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola that was overthrown by Sam Bradford. Thanks to pressure from the defensive line Bradford overthrew the pass that would have been a touchdown. In same quarter Goldson missed a huge tackle against Jackson that lead to a touchdown and gave the Rams a 17-10 lead. Goldson should have made the tackle because he was coming off a blitz untouched.
Without any turnovers by the defense the biggest play of the game was a tackle by Patrick Willis stopping Jackson for no gain and forcing the Rams to kick a field goal at their own 15-yard line late in the fourth quarter. The defense should not have allowed the Rams to drive so deep into 49ers territory but did a great job stopping the drive and only giving up a field goal which tied the game.
As the 49ers offense stalled in the second half the defense continued stopping the Rams offense and gave the 49ers the opportunity to win the game. From the start of the second half and into the fourth quarter the 49ers defense forced three straight three-and-outs and forced the Rams to punt on their first four possessions of the second half.
Joe Nedney won another game for the 49ers with his leg on a 29-yard field goal. Nedney had two other field goals as he played through a sprained right knee. Nedney will be out against the Buccaneers. Andy Lee was great as usual with three punts inside the Rams 20-yard line. In the second quarter the punt return unit let the football land at the 25-yard line and bounced to the six-yard line. The 49ers did march down the field to score but the return unit should have tried to make a play on the football.
In the second quarter the punt coverage unit did great job with under 2:00 minutes left by pinning the Rams at their own 4-yard line. In third quarter Manny Lawson missed a blocking assignment that lead to the punt being partially blocked. Lee got the punt away but it landed at the 49ers 36-yard line for an 18-yard punt.
Just when I thought the return game and Ted Ginn Jr. were coming around, Ginn did not return any of the Rams ten punts. On kickoff returns Ginn averaged just 14-yards.
Mike Singletary came up with a great game plan during the bye week that was successful in defeating the Rams. The three negated touchdowns and the negated interception hurt the 49ers as they had to play into overtime. This time however the 49ers won a close game for the first time all year but the penalty’s need to be addressed and fixed. Tackle Anthony Davis showed his inexperience with all his penalty’s.
I think a big reason why the passing game was so successful is because of the running game. Gore had 87 rushing yards but with offense coordinator Mike Johnson using misdirection and sweep running plays which the 49ers have not used a lot of this season allowed guard Mike Iupati to do what he does best which is pulling and run blocking. In turn this set up the passing game that the Rams did not respect and allowed the 49ers to get single coverage on their receivers with the Rams consistent blitzing.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was not like the Rams defensive coordinator who blitzed all game. Instead Manusky picked his spots to call for a blitz causing confusion for Bradford.
At home against the Buccaneers. The Bucs are a hot team right now and like the 49ers they have finally found their offense. The game will be a great matchup and will be close but being at home will lead to the 49ers third straight win of the season.