The Los Angeles Rams lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, 7-20.
This one was nearly an incomplete grade for me, because this game was just so weird for QB Jared Goff. At halftime, he was 7/8 for 27 passing yards. With 12 minutes left to go in the game, he had yet to complete another pass.
This was a very unusual setup for Goff today due to some factors outside of his control, but the game got completely away from him and he wasn’t anywhere near up to the task of elevating the team on his own today.
17 handoffs for 79 yards between RB Malcolm Brown and RB Darrell Henderson, Jr., isn’t horrible, but three factors drop this grade. One, Hendo’s dropped toss was inexcusable and far too costly even if it might have been the definition of a rookie mistake. Two, take out his first two runs for 36 yards and his other four rushes got just three yards with Brown lacking the explosion of Hendo. And third, Rams Head Coach Sean McVay was absolutely trolling people calling five Brown rushes from the Rams’ first six plays. On those five runs, Brown racked up 40 yards. After that first series? Brown ran the ball six times...for 0 yards.
Wide receiver/tight end
This is one of those games where it gets reinforced that it’s practically impossible to evaluate WR/DB play from television angles. I’m going off of Goff more than their play here, but when Goff did have time he wasn’t firing meaning they weren’t convincing him the windows were big enough.
We’re going to need to talk about this group this week, but I’m not convinced of this group’s overall failure as a whole. I think today was more a factor of going against a very, very good 49ers front seven that dominated them in the 1st half. With LG Joseph Noteboom going out with the knee injury, the Niners settled into a groove and just walloped our line. A bit of a snowball effect from there, but no disguising how bad this group was today.
While many might have been hoping to take advantage of the Niners missing their starting tackles, the Rams aren’t strong enough at the edge to do so in the first place let alone with LB Clay Matthews out though he hasn’t been very good on a consistent basis as a pass rusher this year anyway. Overall though, they did a fantastic job against the run. With a couple big plays today from DL Aaron Donald, they had a good outing.
I thought this might have lowkey been the linebacking groups’ best game as a whole. Not much from pass rushing, but 49ers QB Winny Ihateitthough was getting the ball out pretty quickly. They were however very good in run support.
I know they’re easy scapegoats, but I thought they were fantastic today. Ihateitthough’s clearly most comfortable going to TE George Kittle, and it’s easy to see why. But the Niners’ wideouts combined to catch just nine passes for 89 yards. That’s a fantastic shutdown performance from the DBs with great run support from the safeties.
This isn’t as much about playcalling or situational issues which I didn’t think were all that overwhelming today. Instead, it’s (yes) about the offensive line, but moreso about the team’s identity.
Who are the 2019 Los Angeles Rams? The Rams threw the ball less than half as much this week as they did in Week 5. The running game was front-and-center for the first drive and then come-and-go thereafter. The setup for 3rd down was staccato leaving no rhythm for Goff who clearly wasn’t settled leaving the Rams to go 0/9 on 3rd down and 0/4 on 4th down. The Rams didn’t pass for a first down until the waning moments of the game.
Across the field, the Rams saw a 49ers team that built on their identity of a team with an unexplosive but relentless offense that churns up clock while their defensive front wrecks havoc on teams. It’s an identity that the Niners have revealed week after week leading them out to a 5-0 start now.
The Rams are just all over the place identity-wise. There’s no center. There’s nothing to lean into amid adversity.
They showed that again today, and that’s all on McVay’s leadership which right now has the Rams lost at sea.