Who knew that all the 49ers needed to break out of their rut was to face one of the most intimidating teams in the NFL?
Well, perhaps some did. The 49ers have made a habit lately of beating the imposing Rams, and it was no different on Monday night on national television. San Francisco put their foot down early and ran away with the victory, 31-10.
But the latest romp is the sweetest because San Francisco was in desperate need of a win. The 49ers’ fifth consecutive victory against Los Angeles (7-3) gave them a 4-5 record and renewed hopes for the playoffs. Plus, it was San Francisco’s first win at home in more than a calendar year (that win was against the Rams, too).
The 49ers only had two drives in the first half, but that’s all that was needed to create separation at the break. Each long, grueling march resulted in a touchdown. And between each score, defensive back Jimmie Ward cashed in a pick-six late in the first quarter.
The Rams were simply tenderized from the start as they tried to implement their much-celebrated roster additions, WR Odell Beckham and EDGE Von Miller. The 49ers made sure to hit the Rams early and give them something else to think about, or somesuch, as explained by coach Kyle Shanahan and QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
“We felt going into this game we wanted to make it as physical as possible,” Shanahan said.
And Garoppolo clearly didn’t think it took the 49ers long to land some devastating, tone-setting punches. The 49ers’ first drive was a merciless 18-play, 93-yard march that lasted over 11 minutes and featured 12 runs.
“I don’t want to say it took their soul away,” Garoppolo said. “But it definitely did something.”San Francisco Chronicle
Garoppolo didn’t want to say the 49ers took the Rams’ soul away, but he kinda did with that quote. And you can’t blame him. The Rams had no answers in the second half despite plenty of time to right their ship.
With respect to the entire team, especially RB Elijah Mitchell, the lead bully for the 49ers on Monday night was WR Deebo Samuel (no surprise, given he’s named after Deebo from Friday). He was sensational, even lining up in the backfield on occasion. His totals for the night: five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown, and five rushes for 36 yards with another touchdown.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Samuel’s complete highlight package from the night, a glorious one for the 49ers. They’ll try to start a two-game winning streak next week in Jacksonville against the Jaguars.