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The 49ers Fleeced the Rams, but did They Save their Season?

The 49ers secondary is about to be an embarrassment of riches soon, if it can stay healthy (knock on wood).

As I predicted, the 49ers beat the Rams on Monday Night Football. Their offense scored more than I predicted (24 points instead of 17) and their defense allowed fewer points than I expected (9 instead of 13). All of the keys that I mentioned were crucial in securing this much needed victory:

1) Get back to pounding the rock.

2) Jimmy Garoppolo needs to play at least average.

3) The 49ers defense probably needs to score a touchdown or at least get turnovers that lead to points.

4) Daniel Brunskill (or Spencer Burford) needs to be Aaron Donald's dad.

5) Arik Armstead must play.

6) Deebo Samuel must have a monster game.

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7) Double- or even triple-cover Cooper Kupp to make someone else beat the 49ers.

8) The entire team must play as if their season depends on it, because it pretty much does.

The 49ers defense has allowed 0, 9 and 9 points in their past 3 games. Talanoa Hufanga scored on a huge pick-6 too at Levi's Stadium on Monday night, giving them a 15-point win when their offense only scored 17 points. They dominated a depleted Rams interior offensive line, but that isn't likely to be sustainable. They are very good, or even great, but I'm just not ready to call them the best yet. Missing both starting defensive tackles is likely to be felt more against healthier interior offensive lines.

The 49ers offense was pretty good, but the Rams defensive line has struggled getting pressures all season and they were missing their second- and third-string cornerbacks as well.  Garoppolo wasn't pressured much literally on the field, or figuratively on the scoreboard. Getting George Kittle more involved in the passing game seems like an easy way to get more scoring. I don't agree with those who think that he has declined. It would be wise to lessen Deebo Samuel's work load.

The 49ers special teams weren't special, but weren't terrible, either. Hopefully, Tarvarius Moore will be back soon from his hamstring injury. He was missed on punt coverage.  

As I feared, more injuries continued. Arik Armstead injured his foot. Second-string left tackle Colton McKivitz sprained his MCL, which could keep him out up to eight weeks. Third-string offensive tackle Jaylon Moore didn't allow a sack but, after seeing his performance, or lack of performance in Denver, I still have big concerns with him protecting Garoppolo's blind side.

The good news is that Jimmie Ward and Jason Verrett have had their practice windows opened to come off the Injured Reserve and Physically Unable to Perform Lists. The 49ers secondary is about to be an embarrassment of riches soon, if it can stay healthy (knock on wood).

The 49ers need to get Armstead, Verrett, Ward and Javon Kinlaw, Jason Verrett back quickly. The team played well Monday night and saved their season for a week, but need to win twice in the next two weeks on the East Coast. The Panthers in Charlotte may present a bigger challenge than the banged up Rams did at Levi's. I will get my Panthers preview out to you ASAP!