Why 49ers win vs. Rams is a microcosm of Niners 2021 season

Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) catches a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward (1) and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (4) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers familiar with digging themselves out of an early hole

San Francisco started the Week 18 game being dominated through the air. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was not moved out of his comfort zone enough and was able to find wide receiver Cooper Kupp early and often.

The biggest weakness for the 49ers, the secondary, was exploited repeatedly and helped the Rams build a commanding 17-0 lead with under a minute left in the half.

Offensively, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked timid and unsure, throwing the ball high and taking sacks, leaving the Niners Faithful to question if Kyle Shanahan should have started rookie signal-caller Trey Lance instead of the injured Garoppolo.

The first half of the season went in a similar fashion. With a 3-5 record after eight games, the 49ers were looking to right the ship and get healthy, hoping to regroup and find an offensive identity, while on defense, the focus was getting healthy and building a strong pass rush that would cover up the shortcomings from the cornerback spots.