As most of you know, that wasn’t the case. Head coach Sean McVay, running back Todd Gurley and Co. didn’t take their foot off the gas, soundly thumping the 49ers, 39-10. How closely did San Francisco follow the three keys that I laid out before the game?
1. Carry over the effort, energy and mojo from Week 6 at Packers.
It was like the air went out of the stadium early in the game, as soon as quarterback C.J. Beathard fumbled on the 49ers’ opening drive. All of the momentum that the 49ers could have carried over from the Packers’ game — and the 49ers’ defensive stop — went out the window immediately.
Following the opening drive fumble, the 49ers’ offensive drives went: punt, fumble, safety, interception and touchdown. Before fans had a chance to blink, San Francisco was down 22-7 at halftime and the game was all but over.
It’s been said time and time again, but San Francisco isn’t good enough to overcome mistakes in their game, with so many key injuries across their team. They didn’t play with the same effort level as in Green Bay, resulting in an embarrassing loss at home.
2. Slow down Los Angeles Rams’ running back Todd Gurley
I didn’t think the 49ers were going to slow down the NFL’s best running back, but if they wanted to win the game, they had to stop the Rams’ offensive catalyst. The 49ers’ defensive line did a better job than I anticipated, only giving up 63 yards on 15 carries (4.2 yards per attempt).
The struggles were in the red zone, where Gurley torched the 49ers’ defense for two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown. After rushing for over 200 yards the previous week in Denver, Gurley was certainly corralled by the 49ers’ rush defense — but it didn’t really matter.
3. Involve wideout Marquise Goodwin in the deep passing game
There’s multiple things that are integral in being successful in the deep ball game — having a strong pass-blocking offensive line, an accurate quarterback, and a speedy receiver that can take the top off of a defense.
The problem is that it’s rare in San Francisco that Kyle Shanahan’s offense puts all three of those things together and turns it into a long gain. For a poor offense to have success moving the ball the length of the field, they need to hit on some chunk plays.
Wideout Marquise Goodwin stepped up against the Packers, but disappeared against the Rams. After being targeted five times, Goodwin only came up with two catches for 24 yards. That’s not good enough — especially, if the 49ers want to defeat good teams.
Sitting at 1-6, the 49ers have a legitimate chance to find a win, as they head on the road to take on the Cardinals, who are just as pathetic seven weeks into the season.