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Winners and losers from the 49ers win over the Rams

Kittle, Warner, and Verrett led the way in an impressive victory Sunday night for the Niners.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers held a Sean McVay-led offense to two touchdowns and under 200 yards passing. On offense, the Niners nearly had 400 yards and would have if not for a lousy second half on offense. Though the team played their best game yet, there is still plenty of room for improvement. That’s promising, knowing the opponents that are up next. Let’s take a look at some winners and losers from Sunday night’s game.

Winners

George Kittle

Old reliable came through for the 49ers when they needed him the most. Kittle caught seven of his ten targets for 109 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown. He did have a costly drop, but he could have added another catch if not for an errant throw. Each of Kittle’s receptions went for a first down. When he touches the ball, good things happen for the Niners. Fair or not, this offense will need Kittle to play like the superstar he is for the remainder of the season.

Fred Warner

Watching Warner fly around will never get old. He’s running around blocks, navigating through the trash that happens in the middle of the field, and pops out of the other side to make a tackle near the line of scrimmage. Warner made a tackle for a gain of two where he outran a lineman, which forced the Rams into a 3rd & 8. They punted on the next play. In the next series, Warner makes another tackle where he runs like a mad man to the sideline for a gain of two. That forces another 3rd & 8, and the Rams have to punt on the following down. In back-to-back possessions, Warner was responsible for forcing the Rams into third and long.

Jason Verrett

Verrett played his best game of the season, and not just because of his ball production. Verrett’s confidence was through the roof on Sunday. He was only targeted a couple of times, but Verrett was in the Rams wideouts’ hip pocket all night. It’s easy to see Verrett’s athleticism, but his awareness has improved dramatically over the past couple of games. Against the Jets, and on a couple of plays against the Eagles, Verrett fell for route combinations that chased him out of his zone. That was not the case against the Rams, who do a great job of stressing your coverage rules in the secondary.

A couple of pass breakups and an interception are what Verrett will and should be recognized for. A couple of occasions were where he was aggressive coming downhill against the run and even made a lineman miss. Verrett was superb against the Rams.

Losers

Ben Garland

Even as the offense was rolling during the first half, Garland had the most blown blocks of any lineman. The Rams are an athletic group, and they exposed Garland’s lack of athleticism. Pass protection wasn’t an issue, but his run-blocking was. Garland is a tough son of a gun who has battled and played through injury. There is no taking that away from him. But, based on how things have gone this season, Hroniss Grasu may not be a significant downgrade.

Jaquiski Tartt

It’s pick on the injured guys day, apparently. I don’t fault Tartt too much for giving up that touchdown, as the throw was perfect. With that said, you can’t let a receiver cross your face in the end zone. It was the first reception Tartt gave up that hurt. He was in press coverage and hopped the wrong way as he fell for a head fake from the Rams tight end, which resulted in a 17-yard gain. Tartt, who is typically a great run defender, had a couple of head-scratching fits as well that opened up running lanes for the Rams. He didn’t play well Sunday night. I’m not worried about Tartt moving forward, though, and I hope he doesn’t have to miss time. His loss would be a big blow for this defense.

Pass rush

The 49ers were fortunate that bad Jared Goff showed up Sunday night. He missed some throws that could have put the Rams in position to put more points on the board. I sound like a broken record, but pressures and hustle plays will not get it done in the NFL. You need real hits and sacks to impact the QB. The 49ers only had two QB hits and a sack on Goff Sunday. One of those QB hits was thanks for Goff running into Dion Jordan after he climbed the pocket. The guys up front are not winning, and it’s not as if the Rams are high-end pass protectors. The pass rush has suffered so much that Robert Saleh has put Javon Kinlaw on the edge on third downs. That’s not Kinlaw’s game, and that’s stunting his growth to develop as an inside rusher. Injuries have forced the 49ers to become creative, but if there’s a move that the Niners should make at the trade deadline, it’s acquiring a pass rusher.

Winners

Mike McGlinchey

Mean streak Mike is who the 49ers need to show up every Sunday. The issues with McGlinchey have always come in pass protection. He hasn’t had a clean sheet all season, but he turned that around against the Rams. Usually, McGlinchey is either late with his punch, which allows defenders to get their hands on him first and control the play’s outcome. Other times, McGlinchey would get beaten to the inside or out, whether he would overset or give up a soft edge to the outside. There were no issues like this Sunday. He played confident and aggressive in pass protection. It was to the point where he was fully locking guys out and had a stranglehold on them. McGlinchey played like a player who was taken in the top-10 of the NFL Draft. That’s the version the Niners need of him moving forward.

Raheem Mostert

This last spot came down to Mostert or Deebo Samuel, and there’s not a wrong answer. I went with Mostert as he masked a few issues that remain on the offensive line. Mostert ran through a few tackles that were at or behind the line of scrimmage that would have put the 49ers behind the sticks. Sunday was Mostert’s most impressive performance to date if we’re talking about how he ran and not the results in the box score. He not only ran through tackles but had a couple of nice cutbacks where his speed turned gains of two into six, and sometimes more.

The Niners will miss him, and I believe he’s one of the few running backs in the NFL that make a difference and is not dependent on the five guys blocking in front of him. The good news for the 49ers is that Jerick McKinnon has become more disciplined as a runner, Jeff Wilson Jr. has always been a north and south, no-nonsense runner, and JaMycal Hasty will jump-cut his way to a positive gain.