The San Francisco 49ers had their best outing of the season of offense against the Rams during Week 6. They were as efficient as they’ve been during the first half, as we’ve seen dating back to last season. The offense converted both of their red-zone trips into touchdowns, but they did stall more than you’d like to see on third down, going 5-for-13. The second half wasn’t pretty, and it kept the Rams in the game. There wasn’t a drive that went further than 28 yards after halftime. That has to change moving forward. Let’s get into this week’s stock report for the offense.
Quarterback: Stock up
We discussed Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance against the Rams on Tuesday. Jimmy’s stock is up as it couldn’t have been worse after his game against the Dolphins. His numbers were above average thanks to infinite layups provided by Kyle Shanahan. Garoppolo had the seventh-highest EPA per play and sixth-highest success rate during Week 6 among all quarterbacks, but context is key. He had the lowest air yard average at 4.5, and 222 of his 268 passing yards came after the catch.
Two minute drills are the best time to evaluate a quarterback as it’s dropback passing where the defense knows you’re going to throw. Garoppolo came off the initial read to George Kittle, which would have led to a first down, and threw it behind Raheem Mostert, who bailed him out with a nifty one-handed catch on the first throw beyond the line of scrimmage. After hitting Kittle on the following play and a defensive pass interference call, Jimmy tries to go down the field to Brandon Aiyuk, where you could argue there was pass interference, but the time left on the clock likely had something to do with the no-call. I didn’t have an issue with the downfield shot, but Kendrick Bourne is streaking wide open across the middle in Jimmy’s line of sight if you watch the replay. If Garoppolo hits him, the Niners are in field goal range. The final throw of the series, Garoppolo bails on a clean pocket and one-hops a throw to Kittle on an out route to the sideline. On 3rd & 10, Shanahan concedes the drive from the 41-yard line and runs the ball.
Stock up, but not by much.
Running backs: Stock up
I didn’t think Raheem Mostert could impress us anymore, but he found a way during the first half against the Rams as he ran his butt off and avoided being tackled behind the line of scrimmage on a few occasions. You can’t teach his speed, and he enables Mostert to outran angles from any defender. His presence will be greatly missed.
San Francisco isn’t short on talent at the position, though. Jerick McKinnon has gotten better and better with each carry and has become a more disciplined runner. McKinnon hasn’t had much room to work with. He’s sixth in Next Gen Stats “rushing yards over-expectation” per attempt stat. Who is in first place? Mostert. I know it’s easy to want Jet out of the lineup, but he’s going to start moving forward.
Tevin Coleman will miss this week’s game against the Patriots, but the Niners should have Jeff Wilson Jr. back and rookie JaMycal Hasty, who impressed against the Rams. Hasty’s “fresh legs” made the difference in the fourth quarter. He forced a couple of missed tackles, had a ten-yard gain that caused the Rams to use one of their final timeouts, and 20 of his 37 yards came after contact.
The 49ers lost their best player in this position group and will miss Mostert’s explosiveness, but the ground game should continue to be effective with the current stable of backs.
Pass catchers: Stock down
Is it the receivers’ fault they weren’t targeted often beyond the line of scrimmage? No. We know what this group can do after the catch. The issue has been holding onto the ball. The three drops didn’t come back to hurt them on Sunday because the 49ers were up big, but they were all for first downs. That can’t continue to happen. Bourne had a big one, as did Kittle. Drops are a part of the game. Everyone has them. San Francisco is sixth in the NFL in drop percentage this season. That’s alarming as the five teams ahead of them ave at least 40 more attempts. Generally speaking, fans overrate drops. When the drops are consistent, it’s fair to critique the receivers.
Against the Patriots, this unit will have to win their 1-on-1 matchups. Bill Belichick isn’t going to allow George Kittle to beat them. Against the Raiders, New England double-teamed Darren Waller and Derek Carr’s check down options to force Carr to throw the ball down the field. We can expect to see a similar gameplan Sunday. The wideouts will have their opportunities. They’ll just have to hold onto the ball.
Offensive line: Stock up
Buy all of the offensive line shares after Week 6. Remember Daniel Brunskill’s 54.1 PFF grade? Yeah, no.
49ers RG Daniel Brunskill had an incredibly impressive game in Week 6 vs. Aaron Donald. One of the better games you'll find from a guard against the best player in the league at his position (last clip is just a nice rep in the run game) pic.twitter.com/LSGTUuB9ft— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) October 21, 2020
He was outstanding when you adjust for his opponent, and the same could be said for each starter, save Ben Garland. This group played their best game of the season and it wasn’t particularly close. They had the fewest blown blocks of any game yet:
More importantly, they played with an edge that we have yet to see this season. Guys were finishing blocks more than ever, sometimes resulting in pancakes:
5 things I saw during the 49ers/Rams game that stood out.— KP (@KP_Show) October 20, 2020
Start with the OL. Thought they played with the most "attitude" all season. Fewest blown blocks of any game yet. here are a few pancakes. pic.twitter.com/G1sNCmOt60
The line’s left side was dominant, while McGlinchey shook off a couple of early blown blocks and went on to be lights out. The line played with an edge that we haven’t seen from them all season. You have to imagine they were challenged this past week. Not giving up a sack is impressive. Only being responsible for one QB hit is somewhat mind-blowing considering what we’ve seen.