The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Los Angeles Rams Saturday night 34-31 by showing some moxie and guts. Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back in the fourth quarter, and the defense found a way to get a key stop. Here are the PFF grades and snap counts from both sides of the ball.
Offense-57 total snaps
No Dante Pettis on the field, but that’s not much of a surprise. It was a surprise to see a healthy Matt Breida stand on the sideline all night. Breida had a costly lost fumble against Atlanta last week, and he also fumbled a couple of plays before. It’ll be interesting to see if the coaching staff gives Breida some run in Week 17, or if this will be a permanent benching. Breida is too talented not to give him the ball, especially as the playoffs start next week. Breida is a walking big play. You can’t give up on him entirely. Breida isn’t hurt. He played on Special Teams.
That pass Dwelley caught was the only route he ran all night. Talk about making the most of your opportunities.
Top-five offensive grades
Kittle was credited for giving up a sack and two other pressures as a pass blocker, but his work as a receiver made him the highest graded 49er.
Loved Kyle Shanahan going out of his way to get Deebo involved. Coleman had five carries for 33 yards. He looked decisive, and that’s what the 49ers need from him. Coleman is also a critical blocker on passing downs. He had a couple of nice pickups Saturday night.
The Garoppolo rollercoaster was at it again. He was sacked seven times on the night. I thought he was responsible for some of those. For most of the season, Jimmy’s pocket movement has been good, and he’s done a nice job at avoiding rushers. That was not the case Saturday. Garoppolo scrambled for a first down in the fourth quarter and led the offense to two additional scoring drives. Three crucial conversions on third down made the difference. The touchdown to Kittle on third and goal, and two 3rd & 16 plays were as ballsy as it gets for the quarterback. He seems more comfortable when there is chaos surrounding him, and the pressure rises. That’s what you want in a quarterback.
Jalen Ramsey did a great job on Sanders all night. He eliminated Sanders for the majority of the game. Even on that final play, it was more of a coverage bust than Ramsey getting beat. It was two great players, and Ramsey won the battle. That’s all I’m taking away from it.
Mostert had 11 carries for 53 yards, but he didn’t make anyone miss, and I imagine that’s what he’s penalized for. His touchdown run game on some fine blocking. Only 19 of his yards came after contact. One run stood out: Mostert had one yard to convert, and the defender tackled him at the line. There was no push or any yards after contact on the run. It wasn’t very reassuring for fututre short-yardage situations, but Mostert remains the best option on the team.
When you play Aaron Donald, the odds are he is going to get the best of you. I can’t wait to rewatch to see how Brunskill did. Heading into the game, I was curious if the team would roll with Brunksill over Mike Person moving forward if Brunskill held his own. PFF had him for a penalty, sack, and three other pressures. Garland didn’t allow any pressures but had a run-blocking grade of 40, which is tough to do in their system.
Jeff from PFF had a great nugget on how the 49ers defensive line’s depth is being tested: Bosa/Armstead/Buckner: 115 pass-rush snaps / 18 QB pressures Thomas/Day/Street/Valoaga: 81 pass-rush snaps / 1 QB pressure
What we saw happen earlier in the year was the trio get pressure, and the fourth rusher, whether Ronald Blair, Damontre Moore, and obviously Dee Ford, all took advantage of their 1-on-1 opportunities. The fourth rusher not named one of those three hasn’t made plays, and it’s hurt the defense.
Top-five defensive grades
I’ve gained a newfound respect for the way Sherman sells out every play. Coverage was always a strength, but this season more than ever, we are seeing him attack run plays. He had three-run stops against the Rams. He made one tackle near the line of scrimmage, and it looked like his shoulder popped out of place. Sherm missed one play and went right back in.
Buckner had seven pressures, and Armstead had six. Both were disruptive, but this is where “sacks matter” come into place. Not that it’s on either of these two, but sacks end drives. Pressures don’t. Armstead did get his hands on a pass. He’s a monster.
K’Waun bounced back nicely. I thought his Rams game earlier this year was his worst. We saw the type of impact Williams has as a blitzer, as he hit Goff and pressured him another time. Williams finished with three-run stops on the day. He also forced a fumble, and while he allowed four catches, they went for 20 yards.
Fresh off a Pro Bowl snub, Warner had eight solo tackles, five of them were run stops, and he had a pick-six. Warner lives around the ball.
Bottom-five defensive grades
Ward gave up a long pass that resulted in a first down, and he also missed a key tackle. It felt like Goff did a good job with his eyes to keep Ward off balance all night. It was a night to forget for Witherspoon, who gave up two touchdowns on the night. The first touchdown looked like Witherspoon had a plan to bait Goff, but he didn’t close in time to finish. Add in a missed tackle, and it was a rough outing. Plenty of fans wanted to pull the plug on him. I’m not ready to do that yet.
So long as Harris plays, offenses are going to target him in coverage. Harris allowed four catches for 55 yards and had a questionable penalty, but it did give the Rams a first down. The only target Harris didn’t allow to be completed was the pass he dropped.
Thomas missed a tackle that led to the Rams converting a critical first down. That was his lone “win” of the game in 32 pass-rushing snaps. Thomas was also responsible for an eight-yard reception. It’s tough to be too critical on him because he shouldn’t be playing this many snaps, to begin with, but Thomas isn’t making plays.