49ers solved their second-half woes in Week 8 vs. Rams

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) against Los Angeles Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) against Los Angeles Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

31. 42. 14. 51. Final

The 49ers scored 21 unanswered points after halftime against the Rams in Week 8, suggesting the Niners’ second-half woes could be over.

Heading into their Week 8 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers were averaging a mere 7.6 points in the second half, which ranked 26th in the league. And while the first five weeks saw a Niners defense that generally could hold the line if the offense could get out to a big enough lead, the last two weeks left that defense exposed amid back-to-back losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.

And San Francisco’s offense couldn’t pick up the slack.

In Week 8, it appeared as if the 49ers would have to reverse the trend, as they were losing 14-10 against head coach Sean McVay and Co. heading into halftime, and the Niners aren’t exactly built as a come-from-behind team.

Well, San Francisco appears to have fully rectified those problems and then some.

49ers finally dominate second half in Week 8 vs. Rams

The 49ers eventually finished with that 31-14 victory. And looking at what the score was prior to the third quarter, it doesn’t take a math major to figure out the Niners were the ones doing all the scoring after halftime.

Twenty-one unanswered points are telling enough, as is the fact San Francisco’s defense shut out McVay’s offense after the half, too. All to the point where EDGE Nick Bosa felt Los Angeles essentially quit, telling reporters the following:

"I was kind of surprised when they gave up a little early, I think when there was six or seven minutes left, and they ran the ball on third down. I was hoping for some more pass rushes there. But I guess they didn’t have confidence in coming back."

The 49ers made defensive adjustments, namely by sniffing out the many screen passes McVay utilized early in the game. While the pass rush wasn’t necessarily as violent and aggressive, it likely led to the Niners being far more balanced.

However, the bigger turnaround was on the offensive side of the ball.

It’d be easy to assume San Francisco merely got hot in one game, and the bigger context still suggests Shanahan’s offense will continue to struggle after halftime.

Yet quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did things that were far more commanding in the second half, including attempting some deep passes while taking advantage of the fact the Rams were selling out to stop running back Christian McCaffrey.

That chemistry is sustainable, and it’s likely the element that unlocks the 49ers’ second-half offense.

McCaffrey was the difference-maker, yes, rushing for a touchdown, receiving one from Garoppolo and even tossing one, too, to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. And when a single player has a game like that, it’s easy to say his squad holds all the momentum no matter what half it is.

Yet it’s important to note the Niners aren’t even at full strength, and they’ll anticipate getting All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel back into the mix, too, and that’ll serve to make Garoppolo’s prowess with players like McCaffrey that much more potent.

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San Francisco can look at the splits in this case, recognizing the first-half scoring woes that existed for the majority of Weeks 1 through 7.

Now, in light of what happened in Week 8 and with the realization that success is sustainable, the 49ers can hopefully look at the second half of the year with the hope their offense in the third and fourth quarters will round out well above the league average.

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