The Los Angeles Rams were able to clinch a bye week in the playoffs after defeating the San Francisco 49ers. Even without RB Todd Gurley, the Rams were able to score in bunches while the defense forced the 49ers to turn the ball over four times. Los Angeles cruised to a 48-32 victory.
Entering the contest, I thought the 49ers would give their young players as much exposure as possible against an elite team. While for the most part it was true, veteran running back Alfred Morris stole the show for the 49ers with his best game of the season (16 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown). Here’s how some of the young 49ers fared against the now locked-in two seed Rams.
QB Nick Mullens
Mullens had an up-and-down game against the Rams. Although he threw for three touchdowns and 282 yards, Mullens also threw three very costly interceptions.
Interception No. ✌️ for Littleton + he'll take this one to the house! pic.twitter.com/act2kY2dke— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 30, 2018
The 49ers had a good portion of the season to see what Mullens could do and while he likely isn’t the long term starter, perhaps Mullens has put up enough tape to earn an opportunity elsewhere or serve as a very competitive backup for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
LB Fred Warner
Warner was all over the field against the Rams. He finished with 14 total tackles and did his best to contain C.J. Anderson, who still finished with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown. Overall, Warner does help the 49ers mitigate the loss of Reuben Foster as he has proven to be a tackling machine. Unfortunately, Warner did leave the game for a bit as he was tended to for an injury.
Now #49ers LB Fred Warner receiving medical attention near the team's sideline.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) December 30, 2018
As the surrounding cast of the 49ers defense improves, Warner will likely continue to have more chances at impact plays.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
As mentioned above with Alfred Morris having his best game of the season, it was mainly because Wilson left the game early with a shoulder injury.
#49ers RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (shoulder) is questionable to return to the game. Alfred Morris has checked into the game.— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) December 30, 2018
Wilson finished the game with three carries for nine yards.
WR Kendrick Bourne
Bourne took advantage of Dante Pettis’ absence by leading the 49ers wideouts with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown (although George Kittle lead the team as a pass catcher).
Kendrick Bourne with a sweet TD catch. DPI declined. Bourne having a nice little day.— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) December 31, 2018
LB Elijah Lee
Lee also impressed by being all over the field. For the game, Lee finished with 10 total tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Considering the Rams still rushed for over 150 yards with their star running back out, many would say the linebacker group didn’t have a good day. However, the late emergence of LB’s in Lee and Warner could perhaps be a sign of improvement for the young 49ers defense.