The way the Los Angeles Rams played on Saturday night at Levi Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers, one would think that this was par for the course all season. Instead, this game was a high point for the LA Rams, which unfortunately ended in defeat.
Here’s how the boys graded out on the report card:
Am I famously too soft on QB Jared Goff? No, because I’m not even close to being famous, but I am a fan of the kid. While his interception that turned into a touchdown was probably the deciding factor in the game even though it happened at the end of the first half, Goff still played like a team leader for the rest of the game. There were moments where DE Nick Bosa was right in his grill and Goff held firm, throwing dimes to WR Robert Woods and his BFF TE Tyler Higbee.
When Jared Goff has one of the more impressive runs of the night, you know the rushing attack was no bueno. No matter where you place the blame, RB Todd Gurley II was ineffective and failed to ignite the offense when they needed him most. And the dude got the ball 15 times, which is pretty good for him, but his 3.2 yards per carry didn’t get the job done.
These guys are usually my favorite unit and they didn’t disappoint. WR Robert Woods balled out with 8 catches for 117 yards at 14.6 yards per catch. Even WR Brandin Cooks was in the mix often, showing up in big moments got move the offense forward.
Whatever is happening with TE Tyler Higbee, I love it. The dude has been invisible for years and suddenly the Rams give him a big contract and he’s still quiet as a church mouse until TE Gerald Everett gets hurt and then... BOOM. Hygz had another dominant performance even with the return of Everett (who had no catches off one target).
Even though the LA Rams put up 31 points against the 49ers, it felt that they were moving the ball down the field despite the offensive line. OL Bobby Evans looks overpowered for much of the game and fellow rookie OL David Edwards showed his inexperience in the penalty department. The big boys up front just couldn’t open up the holes for the running game, which was disappointing. However, Jared Goff was clean for the entire game — no sacks.
DE Aaron Donald was a beast as usual, giving QB Jimmy Garoppolo fits all night. They did allow the Niners to run the ball pretty easily between their slew of running backs, but the headline of the night for this unit was the pressure they put on the passing attack.
Man, where were these guys all season? LB Samson Ebukam, LB Morgan Fox, and ILB Troy Reeder were all over the place making plays. And the usual defensive leaders like OLB Dante Fowler (2.5 sacks) and ILB Cory Littleton were fantastic.
It’s probably not fair to dock the entire unit for one blown play that decided the game, but those are the breaks. S Taylor Rapp, a rookie that has played brilliantly for most of the season, got his wires crossed with CB Jaylen Ramsey in the final minute of the game and just like that... the season is over. Beyond that play, they did Garoppolo is check for most of the game, limiting him to 248 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
What’s going on with the special teams play this season? It’s been... off. There was a fumble by return man, WR Nsimba Webster and a missed kick by K Greg Zuerlein. He did redeem himself with a clutch kick in the 4th quarter though.
Coach Sean McVay called a solid game, putting his players in arms reach of the victory, they just needed to earn it. Losses are never acceptable, but the Rams were playing a very good Niners team and it was encouraging to see McVay coach them up to such a competitive level, which probably made the loss even more heartbreaking.