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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Elijah Mitchell, Von Miller, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers running back Eli Mitchell (25) is stopped by Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers regained their identity after halfway point of the season

Week 10, against the same Rams team, is when the season turned around, and San Francisco built an identity that has continued up to this point.

In that matchup, the 49ers ran the ball at will, 44 times, beating up the Rams until they were too defeated to want to tackle the running backs the same as before. They dominated the time of possession and frustrated Los Angeles en route to a 31-10 victory. The Niners won their next three games and never seemed unsure of their identity, like in the earlier part of the season.

On Sunday, the field goal right before the half gave San Francisco confidence that if it committed to the run game, the passes would open up and some points will be added to the scoreboard.

Kyle Shanahan deserves credit for not abandoning the game plan, even as the time started ticking down in the second half.

In the running game, the early 3-yard gains turned into 8- and 12-yard gains. Running back Elijah Mitchell started breaking tackles, and Jimmy Garoppolo found a nice rhythm with his receiving corps. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel became a man possessed, and Shanahan was hitting on all cylinders with his play-calling.