The Rams can be stopped
Big shocker, right? Especially considering how well the Rams played against the 49ers this year, most NFL fans and Niners fans, were thoroughly surprised how easy it was to stop quarterback Jared Goff.
Part of that was simply the ineffectiveness of the Rams running game. Most people like to forget head coach Sean McVay comes from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree, which includes San Francisco’s head coach, Kyle Shanahan. Now, in the Shanahan tree, a run game is key to success because everything is based off play action.
The Washington Post detailed how Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, given a defensive team not much more talented than that of the 49ers, managed to hold the vaunted Rams offense to 260 yards and just three points:
"Belichick and his staff had deduced that the Rams specialized in “man beaters,” Boyer said — tactics meant to defeat man coverage. Their litany of shifts and bunch formations and frequent jet motion all thrive against man coverage, which is the style the Patriots played almost all season and used extensively in Kansas City. Against the Rams, though, the Patriots would start the game in zone coverage. The Patriots believed that it would limit the effectiveness of how McVay dresses up his simple-yet-deadly scheme and that it would stagger Goff, a 24-year-old facing Belichick for only the second time."
Now, the 49ers do typically run a Cover 3 scheme that, in theory, functions as a zone. However, with the way the Niners run it, the outside corners essentially play man. Also, the 49ers lack the same defensive discipline that the Patriots run.
That all being said, this wasn’t the only time that the Rams have been stopped. And every time that a team manages to stop this vaunted offense, it comes from disrupting Goff and the run game. That gives the 49ers a perfect template of how to compete against this team.
Plays like this don’t hurt either: