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49ers-Rams film breakdown: Looking at Pierre Garcon’s best catches

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We take a look at Pierre Garcon’s best catches vs. the Rams. And some of Brian Hoyer’s best throws, of course.

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

Against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon caught seven passes for 142 yards, including one amazing toe-tapping catch on the sideline and one beautiful 59-yard reception. He didn’t get a touchdown, as passing scores went to Trent Taylor and Garrett Celek, but he had a great game.

In looking at the film, I’ve found that Garcon often beat his man at the last moment and he often did so without the aid of huge screwups by the defense. The 49ers called well-designed plays and Garcon is very, very good when he’s being covered closely. He consistently found the seam and Brian Hoyer threw the ball well enough.

We’re going to go ahead and dive right into what Garcon did well and why some of the biggest passes that went his way actually succeeded. The Rams ran a lot of zone defense throughout the game, and Kyle Shanahan’s offense did a great job at exploiting those zones.

Today, we’re going to look at four passing plays in particular, and as demanded, I’ve got coaches film to work with as well. Let’s get to it.

3:58 of 1st Quarter, 1st and 10: Hoyer pass deep left to Garcon for 30 yards

A classic example of having no idea what’s going on downfield due to the broadcast angle. That said, we can at least look at the protection, which is solid. I especially like the blocking on the right edge. The pocket stays intact and Hoyer lets the ball go cleanly.

And here’s the coaches film. You an see the streaking receiver taking the middle cornerback deep with him, opening up the left side of the field underneath. The Rams played a very deep safety at this point, despite the 49ers showing run pre-snap. You also see Garcon leave his man completely behind right from the beginning.

6:35 of 2nd Quarter, 3rd and 17: Hoyer pass short right to Garcon for 18 yards

Once again, the protection is good on this play. I’ll be honest, though, I do have one complaint: Hoyer is staring down Garcon the entire play. But let’s take a look at the coaches film to see if that’s actually a problem.

Hoyer does have two men to his left and from what I can see, he doesn’t ever look at them. Nothing from Garcon’s route makes it clear that he’s going to get open on the timing route, so Hoyer is making a very risky decision in not going through his options. Still, it’s a well thrown ball and a brutal cut by Garcon.

9:17 of 3rd quarter, 1st and 10: Hoyer pass deep left to Garcon for 19 yards

This is the play where Garcon made the incredible toe-dragging catch that was originally ruled an incompletion. I didn’t include the non-coaches film because that clp has been circling enough. It’s a great route, a great cut, and a great decision by Hoyer to give the ball the extra oomph on it.

If he doesn’t, it’s undercut and intercepted. But he overthrew it just enough that only Garcon could get it. Garcon gets open primarily due to his man going underneath and the other guy being carried by the streaking receiver at the bottom of the gif.

6:35 in 4th Quarter, 1st and 10: Hoyer pass deep left to Garcon for 59 yards

The protection on this play is, once again, solid. Every blocker holds up well, and the running back even gets in at the very end to give Hoyer that extra second to throw the ball. As you can see from the broadcast footage, it’s a deep ball that can only be caught by Garcon.

Looking at the coaches film, the Rams defender plays this pretty well overall, but stumbles around the 20-yard line. Garcon has a step on him even without the stumble, but the stumble sealed it for him. It’s a simple route, and one that’s even better because it left several Rams defenders with absolutely nothing to do. Just a good play all around.