No. 2: The passing game gets it done
You’ll hear a lot about how quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo struggled against the Rams. There’s some truth to this, but there’s also a major caveat.
Yes, Garoppolo threw a very bad interception into the end zone (and had another would-be interception dropped), and he did fumble the ball to give the Rams the slightest sniff in the end.
But when you face one of the best defenders in the league in Aaron Donald, and you’re playing with a ramshackle offensive line, miscues will happen.
What would have silenced this is if the team got all the points it left out on the field. Garoppolo’s interception left three points on the field, another three points went begging with another missed field goal from kicker Robbie Gould (in fairness, it was a long attempt) and running back Tevin Coleman dropped a sure touchdown, which made the 49ers settle for three points instead of a touchdown.
The score should have at least been 30-7 instead of 20-7. Garoppolo did a good job, especially when you consider the Rams did everything possible to stop the running game.
The Rams dared Garoppolo to beat them, and he did just that. He was not a game manager, he was a true franchise quarterback even if he wasn’t perfect.
Garoppolo finished with 24-of-33 passing for 243 yards and an interception. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but a quarterback sneak gave him a rushing touchdown, which was some reward for effort.
People will point to the relatively low 243 yards figure, but the 49ers successfully planned a lot of screens and quick throws to avoid the offensive line being overly tested.
He hasn’t been tested in a shootout yet, but Garoppolo has shown that he can carry the offense on his back.