Oh happy day! The San Francisco 49ers snapped a two-game losing streak on Thursday, crushing the St. Louis Rams 35-11. Coming off back-to-back ugly offensive performances, the 49ers went back to basics and absolutely steam-rolled the Rams. There was a tough loss late as Joe Staley went down with some kind of injury. You could hear him screaming loudly as on replay it appeared he was bent backward at the knees. Thankfully Joe was able to walk off the field with the help of trainers, as opposed to getting carted off.
Considering the 49ers struggles the last two weeks, and the Rams 1-0-1 record against them last year, this qualifies as a solid win. The offense got off to a slow start, but in the second and third quarter, we saw the offense that got the 49ers to last year's Super Bowl. Frank Gore chewed up yards and game-clock, and the 49ers got some big passing out of those heavier formations.
The offense stalled in the first quarter and fourth quarter, but they have something to build on. Of course, it is no surprise that that something is Frank Gore. The man some were saying might be on his last legs put together a throw-back performance, finishing with 153 yards. That matched the fifth best single-game performance of his career.
Colin Kaepernick was far from perfect, but for the middle quarters, he was extremely sharp. The team needs to work on some consistency in the passing game, but they finally managed to get Anquan Boldin open. Boldin finished the game with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 20-yard reception reversed on review when the ball bobbled as he fell down.
The 49ers defense put together a stellar performance, thoroughly shutting down the Rams when it mattered. They gave up the late touchdown, although that was a tough call on Donte Whitner. He hit a defenseless receiver, but it's tough to make a play on that ball otherwise. Did they expect him to aim for the receiver's stomach?
The Rams were fairly abysmal today, but the 49ers defense deserves its share of credit. And the defensive player of the game HAS to be NaVorro Bowman. Without Patrick Willis in the lineup, Bowman took over the leadership mantle and dominated. He finished with six tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass deflection. I'm pretty sure he'll be in the running for defensive player of the week.
The 49ers will likely get a few days off before returning to practice. They head back home to face the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football next week. They should be favored in that game, but it will be a tough one given the depth the Texans have on both sides of the ball. It's a serious test for a 49ers team looking to prove they are in fact "back" where they belong.