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49ers-Rams film breakdown: Taking a look at San Francisco’s sacks allowed

The 49ers allowed four sacks against the Rams in Week 3. We take a look at the film to — what else — assign blame.

Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line looked better against the Seattle Seahawks than it did against the Carolina Panthers. Replacing Zane Beadles with Laken Tomlinson at left guard has improved the unit, but the guard spots — including Brandon Fusco at right guard — remain a weakness.

Against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, the line was actually fairly decent overall, I thought. Going up against Aaron Donald, perhaps the best defensive player in the entire NFL, is a tough task for anyone. The 49ers caved under the Donald pressure when things were heaviest in the fourth quarter, but they did hold up better than expected overall.

I was pretty lenient with quarterback Brian Hoyer over the first two weeks. I thought his performance overall against the Rams was encouraging, but ultimately, I think Hoyer made significant mistakes on three of the four sacks allowed by the 49ers.

Back this week is the coaches film, by popular demand. We’re just going to dive into the film.

7:16 of 2nd Quarter, 2nd and 12 from LA 45: Hoyer sacked at 50 for -5 yards (DE Morgan Fox)

Well this is an ugly play. I’m not sure who the first read is even supposed to be, but Hoyer doesn’t get a chance to make one. Left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Laken Tomlinson leave a gap, by design, and Carlos Hyde is left to fend for himself. Hyde looks like he’s expecting to get the outside man, and it’s certainly possible that Staley blocked the wrong guy, but it’s on one of those two.

And, by popular demand, here’s the coaches’ film of the play though, of course, it’s not really necessary here. For such a shallow dropback I’m not sure why the 49ers were running those routes given the Rams’ underneath coverage they were showing pre-snap. Seems like a play that should have been audibled out of, especially given all the routes short of the first-down marker on 2nd and long.

4:30 of 2nd Quarter, 3rd and 3 from LA 26: Hoyer sacked at LA 30 for -4 yards (LB Matt Longacre)

The pocket doesn’t survive on the right side, with right guard Brandon Fusco letting his man cut inside sharply enough to force Hoyer to step up. Tomlinson and Daniel Kilgore also struggle, so whatever Hoyer was seeing downfield wasn’t going to come to fruition. But what was he seeing downfield?

Hoyer can see tight end George Kittle breaking and closely followed at the top of the screen. He knows Kittle is going to turn upfield after breaking out, and Kittle does. Kittle gets open for the touchdown over the top, but by the time he does make the break, Hoyer is out of the pocket and being dragged to the ground. Trent Taylor also gets ahead of his man late and would have been there over the top, but Hoyer has no chance to let that ball

0:36 of 2nd Quarter, 3rd an 3 from SF 47: Hoyer sacked at SF 40 for -7 yards (LB Connor Barwin)

Right tackle Trent Brown has been good at passing his guys around full circle with limited movement on his part — he’s so big that getting guys from one side to the other is actually a lot more than most people. But Brown is caught sleeping on this one, and Barwin makes short work of Hoyer.

You could argue that Hoyer should be going to his man at the top o the screen here on the quick curl, especially in a 3rd-and-short, but he doesn’t. I have to put some blame on Hoyer here because you can see him look away from that receiver. It’s a tight throw given how fast the Rams defender can close, but Hoyer needs to make that throw. Then again, Brown needs to make that block to give Hoyer some more time.

1:50 of 4th Quarter, 4th and 20 from SF 40: Hoyer sacked at SF 32 for -8 yards (DE Aaron Donald)

A deflating penalty, and the 49ers are faced with a 4th and 20 with the game on the line. In the best of situations, Hoyer needs more time than he’s given on this play. This is not the best of situations and right guard Brandon Fusco is completely and utterly dominated by Aaron Donald on the play. Fusco has no chance to handle Donald. I do question the 49ers’ decision to double the other guy as opposed to Donald.

The 49ers run some good routes here, some guys get open for good yardage down the field, though the Rams linebackers are in a good position to intercept anything with danger of making the 20-yard gap. Either way, Hoyer has no time to attempt these throws.