49ers grades from playoff-clinching overtime win vs. Rams

Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Ambry Thomas, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Defensive Grades vs. Rams

San Francisco got a bit of a boost within its secondary with cornerback Emmanuel Moseley returning off injured reserve, then it made the right decision to pair him starting alongside rookie corner Ambry Thomas instead of the embattled veteran, Josh Norman, who was relegated to reserve duties.

But with nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams out, the Rams made this group pay. At least initially.

Defensive Line: A-

Much like Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance, the 49ers defensive line got off to an awfully slow start, and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was appearing to have his ways with the Niners secondary because of the lack of a pass rush.

Yet San Francisco still did a tremendous job halting Los Angeles’ run game, ultimately limiting it to just 2.4 yards per attempt.

And by the second half, the 49ers pass rush was doing its job admirably, eventually sacking Stafford five times with defensive tackle Arik Armstead registering 2.5.

Linebacker: C-

The Niners were without linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who was inactive with injury, yet fellow backer Dre Greenlaw made his third start of the season after spending much of the year on IR with a groin injury.

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, though, as Greenlaw and the other San Francisco linebackers struggled with pass coverage on tight end Tyler Higbee and others.

At least linebacker Fred Warner recorded half a sack.

Secondary: C

Again, a tale of two halves.

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp turned into a massive problem for the 49ers, both early and for much of the game, finishing the contest with a whopping seven receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, and it didn’t appear as if the Niners had any early answers for him.

Williams being out didn’t help much either, as fill-in cornerback Dontae Johnson was regularly the target of Stafford’s passing attempts.

Still, the big-play interceptions by Moseley and Thomas, the latter coming in overtime to seal the game, helped keep this group out of the doghouse despite the shortages.