In a week destined to be a knockout beating, the 49ers turned around things in style. Here are the top 5 takeaways from the 49ers 31-10 win over LA Rams.
Wide receivers switched the teams.
Up to this point of the season, the 49er receivers were guilty of fumbling, dropping the football at crucial times. They sucked the life out of offensive drives, which made it difficult for 49er's offense to convert on 3rd downs. This week wide receivers of both sides decided to switch their profiles. The 49ers wide receivers played a great game, catching the ball even when crowded with defenders.
In comparison, the Rams wide receivers dropped the ball multiple times. Some of the drops were on 3rd down situations without a single defender nearby. To be fair, the Rams were missing Robert Woods.
If the 49ers wide receivers continue with the philosophy of "catching the ball is the best way to go down the field," we can expect better results in the coming weeks.
Jimmie Ward can walk the walk.
In an interview with Grant Cohn before the season, Jimmie Ward went ballistic about the LA Rams. He questioned their decision to replace Jared Goff. He did not hesitate to hide any emotion. On Monday night, with the 49ers backed up against the wall, Ward delivered vital blows. When Odell Beckham Jr shot on his own foot with route running, Ward came up with the first interception of the night.
Ward allowed the 49ers to take a 7-0 lead. Then Ward pounced on a ball that ricocheted of Rams tight end Tyler Higbee and returned it for a touchdown. The night became a nightmare for the Rams after that with the score 14-0. They never threatened the 49ers again.
Run, Kyle Run
After ages with mysterious play calling, Kyle Shanahan decided to run the ball at every given opportunity on Monday night. Not only did it pave the way for success, but the team also bullied Sean McVay. The 49ers made a clear statement about how they can be dangerous if they commit to running the football. The 49ers ran the ball 44 times, limiting Jimmy Garoppolo to only 19 pass attempts.
The team has Jeff Wilson back in the ranks to help out the running back department. The finger injury to Elijah Mitchell is a setback to the team as he acted as the leading rusher so far in the season. Still, the team should get an effective product out of the rest of the running backs if Shanahan keeps his faith.
Secondary stay disciplined
The 49ers had a significant issue with pass interference penalties throughout the season. This week they performed admirably, led by Ward's interceptions. There were more interception-worthy plays were created by the secondary, but Matthew Stafford was lucky that the 49ers could not hold on to the ball. K'Waun Williams gave away the only pass interference penalty.
The 49ers need to be careful about the busted coverages that allowed the Rams to move the football freely. The Rams receivers were not in the best of sync after Robert Woods's injury. So 49ers secondary has their work cut out to maintain and improve the performance in games to come.
Jimmy Garoppolo managed the game.
There was a thought that Trey Lance would be the starter against Jacksonville in Week 11 after the 49ers lost to Colt McCoy-led Cardinals. Garoppolo made sure that the thought process was not valid with executing the game plan expected of him.
He released the ball quicker and made some excellent short throws enabling the offense to move along. The throw he made on 4th and 6 ended with a touchdown and sealed the game for the 49ers.
This performance does not mean that Garoppolo played at a Pro Bowl level by any means. Garoppolo missed open receivers down the field on multiple occasions, but as long as the ball is not turned over, Shanahan should get the team over the line with designated schemes.