Welcome to your Week 1 49er-Rams game simulation. If you’re new to the program, I’ll walk you through it. Each week we here at Niners Nation will put the San Francisco 49ers through an in-game Madden simulation against their opponents. Sometimes these simulations are very accurate. Most of the time they are inaccurate. But they all carry an 80 percent fun value that you will feel better for using five minutes of your life to read. Regardless of the outcome, some things noticed in these simulations can be accurate to gameday.
This week we have the Los Angeles Rams. Because it’s Week 1, a few things to consider. The roster on Week 1 is funky. After this week, rosters are a bit closer to their real-life counterparts.
Quarter Length: 7 minutes.
Notable Inactives: Chris Davis (49ers) Pharoh Cooper (Rams)
The 49ers received Blaine Gabbert began the offensive drive with a one yard pass to Quinton Patton, and that short pass was enough for the 49ers to abandon the passing game and call on a now-healthy Carlos Hyde to carve the Rams defense. Hyde ran all over the place taking 3-4 yards a clip. Once crossing midfield, Mike Davis took the ball on 1st and 10 at the 45. He managed 3 and 4 yards, but on 3rd and 3, a Blaine Gabbert pass was knocked away and the 49ers had to attempt a 57 yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
Which he missed.
The Rams took over on their own 40 yard line and on the first play, Case Keenum fumbled the ball on a handoff to Todd Gurley after a few 49er players got in the middle of things. Mike Purcell recovered it bringing the 49ers back out to continue their drive. You have to wonder if this is the game’s way of getting Jared Goff to come in.
Mike Davis returned and started trucking Rams, needing 4 of them to bring him down on 1st down. On 3rd and 5 Gabbert just stood in the pocket and took off after a few seconds, but didn’t even sprint to the 1st down marker, he just walked...which made little sense.
Following that dismal attempt, the 49ers passed on kicking a field goal and instead punted the ball into the endzone.
The Rams didn’t even try running it. Keenum just slung it down field for a 15 yard completion and 20 yard completion to guys wide open. After that, Keenum reverted to some terrible overthrows. After a nice 7 yard run by Todd Gurley, the rams were stuck at 4th and 4 and elected to kick a field goal.
Score 3-0, Rams
Blaine Gabbert’s first play to start the series was an awful interception to Trumaine Johnson, putting the Rams on the San Francisco 45 yard line. An 11 yard run from Todd Gurley started things, but the Rams wide receivers made awful drops. Keenum made a compromise: throw the ball to Todd Gurley for 12 yards. Once that little pass made a demonstration of what the Rams receivers should do, Lance Kendricks caught a short pass and went around the three San Francisco defenders for the score.
Score 10 - 0 Rams
The 49ers received and that brought an end to the first quarter.
Blaine Gabbert began the drive with a short pass to Quinton Patton that ended with a 21 yard gain. From there the offense got into rhythm with Vance McDonald, Torrey Smith and Carlos Hyde all taking turns carrying the ball. Unfortunately a -2 yard loss on a sniffed out run to Hyde stalled the offense once more and the 49ers wound up with a 56 yard field goal that Phil Dawson managed to make this time.
Score 10-3 Rams
After trading the ball on two 3 and outs, the Rams again got into a rythem and did something rather odd. On the San Francisco 42, Jared Goff of all people came in and made a 5 yard pass to move the chains. Never mind that his NFL debut in video game land was on a 4th down. Whatever, Madden. Once hitting the 10 yard line, however, Todd Gurley fumbled the ball and Dontae Johnson was able to take it five yards before going down.
With 1:45 left, The offense returned and Gabbert started gashing the Rams defense with his arm. That is, until a Daniele Kilgore penalty on the 50 yard line brought the ball back and stalled the drive for another punt.
With one minute left in the half, Case Keenum slung the ball for 10-13 yards a catch and threw a 24 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt with 1 second left. Ugh.
Score 17-3 Rams
The Rams received and went 3 and out. The 49ers did the same leading to a long drive consisting entirely by running plays. The drive went into the San Francisco 25 yard line until Todd Gurley fumbled the football to be picked up by Gerald Hodges.
Once again the 49ers offense was able to pass the ball in spurts, but their rushing attack failed to get any momentum. a 15 yard facemask penalty brought the team to the 30 yard line. With a few nice passes in the the 49ers found themselves at 1st and goal on the two yard line to close out the quarter.
Carlos Hyde was able to waltz in for a 1 yard touchdown and to cut the Rams’ lead.
Score 17-10 Rams
The Rams received and began another drive consisting entirely of running the ball. Once crossing to 50 yard line thanks to a San Francisco defensive holding penalty, Keenum nailed Kenny Britt for a nice 18 yard gain to take them to the San Francisco 30 yard line.
The Rams rushing attack drove the clock down and moved the ball onto the San Francisco 10 yard line. Then Todd Gurley fumbled the ball.
And Navarro Bowman fell onto it.
With 2:46 left in the game, the 49ers offense went to try and take this game back, but two plays in, Blaine Gabbert threw an interception to T.J. McDonald that returned it to the San Francisco 20. 2:08 left in the half.
The Ran the ball, the 49ers burned their timeouts. with 1:32 left in the half, the Rams kicked a field goal to basically seal this one up.
Score 20-10 Rams
The 49ers began their two-minute offense and just deployed Hyde for several runs that chewed up precious clock. Once crossing the 50 yard line, Blaine Gabbert took a sack and batted passes to end the game.
Final Score: 20-10 Rams
I’m not too sure if that’s how this one is going to play out. The Rams defense is pretty good, but I don’t see Carlos Hyde getting stuffed like he was in this game. The 49ers would open up the passing game and do well, then just go back to Hyde even though it wasn’t working. The Rams on the other hand had a balanced offense...that was good? I doubt that many fumbles will occur in the game, but I’ll laugh forever if that does happen.
On the flipside, despite turnovers, the 49ers defense was largely quiet. I do think they are much better than they are last year, both schematically and ability. Some of the passes Case Keenum made seemed like things they wouldn’t have happen in real life—the pass rush would have gotten to him for the time he had on some throws.
Let’s see what reality holds.