Grading 49ers' offense, defense in dominant win over Rams


INGLEWOOD — The 49ers’ stinker a week ago became a distant memory on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, their home away from home.

The 49ers rallied from a four-point halftime deficit and pulled away for a 31-14 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a key NFC West matchup.

It was the Christian McCaffrey Show, but this was far more than just a one-man performance for the 49ers.

Here is a look at a report card that looks considerably better than a week ago when the Kansas City Chiefs gave the 49ers a 44-23 beatdown:

Rushing offense

The 49ers did not have a huge volume of run plays, but they had a lot of success with 111 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts.

McCaffrey had a strong showing with 94 yards and a touchdown on 18 rushing attempts.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo picked up a key first down with a sneak up the middle that led to a field goal in the first half.

Grade: B

Passing offense

Garoppolo completed 21 of 25 pass attempts for 235 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was a sterling 132.5.

The 49ers’ first touchdown came from an unlikely source, as McCaffrey took a backward pass from Garoppolo and lofted it down the field to Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard touchdown.

Garoppolo missed an opportunity on the 49ers’ first drive of the game when his deep pass for Ray-Ray McCloud hung in the air too long to allow Nick Scott to break it up.

McCaffrey caught eight passes for 56 yards, including a nice toe-tapper in the back right corner of the end zone. George Kittle had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Grade: A

Rushing defense

The Rams' run game is a mess. And the 49ers’ run defense was dominant.

Linebacker Fred Warner registered a game-high 12 tackles, as the 49ers held the Rams to an average of just 2.7 yards on 21 rushing attempts.

Safety Talanoa Hufanga notched eight tackles.

Grade: A

Passing defense

The 49ers completely shut down Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ offense in the second half. The Rams managed just 58 yards of total offense in the second half.

Warner and Nick Bosa came up with big third-down sacks, as the 49ers’ defense pitched a shutout in the final 30 minutes.

Cooper Kupp had eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. However, he was targeted 12 times, which amounts to an average per pass attempt of 6.5 yards. Nickel back Jimmie Ward had a strong game.

Ambry Thomas and Charvarius Ward both had penalties in pass coverage in the end zone to give the Rams first downs to prolong their 17-play, 88-yard touchdown drive for the first points of the game.

Grade: B-plus

Special teams

Ray-Ray McCloud had a 39-yard kickoff return and averaged a solid 11.3 yards on three punt returns.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had a net 41.0 yards on three punts, as the Rams did not get any return yardages on his kicks.

Kicker Robbie Gould made a field goal and four extra points, and did a good job of angling his kickoffs to the corners.

Grade: B-plus


Coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans made all the necessary adjustments and pushed the right buttons to enable the 49ers to get the better of the Rams’ coaching staff. No question.

Shanahan inserted the halfback pass into the game plan on Thursday night. It was supposed to be used in the red zone, but he figured the time was right when the 49ers were down 7-0 and had the ball at the 34-yard line.

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Ryans had the 49ers’ defense ready in the second half for the Rams’ short-passing game.

The coaching staff put the players in position to make plays, and they players came through.

Grade: A


Coming off an “F” performance against Kansas City, the 49ers did not look like the same team on Sunday.

They needed a big-time performance, and that’s what they got in sending the Rams down to defeat for the eighth time in their last nine head-to-head meetings.

For the first time this season, the 49ers looked like a team capable of moving into the territory of elites in the NFC.

Grade: A

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