The San Francisco 49ers improved to 4-2 on Monday with a 31-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. It was a difficult win for the 49ers, as they fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. The 49ers outscored the Rams 31-3 after the first quarter, as they never panicked. That being said, the team suffered several injuries, losing Patrick Willis, Mike Iupati, Jimmie Ward, and Stevie Johnson at one point or another.
The win over the Rams showcased the 49ers depth in the face of these injuries. Willis was the first to go down, and he was replaced in the second half by rookie linebacker Chris Borland. Borland had previously only played special teams snaps, but he got in 31 defensive snaps in Week 6. In their preliminary grading, Pro Football Focus graded him out at 3.7, with a 2.1 in pass rush, and 1.4 in pass coverage. It is safe to say he will face a stiff test later this week when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos. We'll see how Peyton Manning attempts to take advantage of the rookie over the course of 60 minutes.
Dontae Johnson also got in a sizable amount of work following Jimmie Ward's quadricep injury. Johnson played 23 snaps as the 49ers mixed him and Chris Cook in at different times. Johnson ended up with more snaps than Cook, and of course capped the game with his big pick 6.
Mike Iupati suffered a concussion in the second half, and was replaced by Joe Looney. This also got Dillon Farrell onto the field for the second time this season. He got 4 offensive snaps, as he took over the extra lineman duties once Looney was in the game with the starting line. Farrell will remain active while Anthony Davis is sidelined.
Aaron Lynch had the highest snap count of his young career. He had 47 snaps, and will likely be incredibly busy this Sunday against the Broncos. The 49ers will probably spend most of the game in their nickel defense, given Denver's extensive array of weapons. As with Borland, I am really curious to see how Lynch adjusts to Manning's play-calling. Manning is the most difficult quarterback the 49ers will face this year. He obviously can pick apart a defense through the air, but there is also everything he does pre-snap, as effectively his own offensive coordinator.