That 20-7 score of the San Francisco 49ers win over the Los Angeles Rams is not very indicative of just how bad that was for the Rams. The 49ers manhandled them in what was awesome for Niner fans and devastating for Rams fans. In the first few minutes, though, there was a bit of a scare. The Rams didn’t bother passing and went straight to running. And it worked. When you look at how efficiently they ran it on that one series (you know, the only one they scored on all game), it would be fair to think this was going to be ugly and that Robert Saleh needed to think of something quick. Hey, Kyle Shanahan had to be breathing down his neck, right?
Not exactly. Saleh came out for the postgame and was asked about the run and described what Shanahan said after the Rams effortlessly punched it in (without Todd Gurley’s help):
“Kyle was great, talk about a guy whose had tremendous growth in these three years. He got on the headset, “Hey, don’t panic, get it fixed and get these guys right.” So Kyle was phenomenal on the headset he has been all season. So for Kyle, obviously him communicating, him keeping us in our element, keeping us focused, and keeping the task at hand; constantly throughout all the game just talking to us about what he was trying to get done so thought he was really good.”
Translation: “He stayed the hell out of our way.”
Shanahan runs the offensive side of the ball, but he’s also the head coach. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows a lot more defensive scheming than he lets on, but the fact he steps back and lets Saleh do his thing says a lot. After all, the whole reason I brought this up was because Shanahan was the victim of a coach stepping on his toes once. You’d have to think that played into the way he coaches now. The below tweet was from when he was offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns under Mike Pettine.
An interesting sideline exchange between Mike Pettine and Kyle Shanahan.— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 12, 2017
Pettine: "I say we run it."
Shanahan: *The look* pic.twitter.com/qYEK5xQB2z
Ok, I really just wanted an excuse to show that priceless look Shanahan has after Pettine tells him, “I say we run it.”
Having known a thing or two about people pulling rank and/or throwing their weight around when they should stay in their lane probably explains why Shanahan let Saleh do his thing.
That look, man.