That game couldn’t have gone better for the 49ers. They hit the magic number on offense of 40+ rushes. There was big play after big play in the passing game. They had multiple sacks and turnovers on defense. And there were even a couple of good plays on special teams.
After the win, Deebo was asked to explain where the “Playmaker” chain came from.
“The necklace came from [Jason Verrett],” Deebo told reporters. “He kind of got it for the team. Whenever you make a play, you put it on. So that’s where it kind of came from. Just the fourth down play, we called in-breaking route and it just popped wide open as you can see, Jimmy made the right read and it turned into a touchdown.”
McVay didn’t have much of an answer to why that streak has gotten to this extent, saying there have been different causes for each of the losses.
“I have a lot of respect for them,” McVay said Monday. “They’ve done a nice job, but I’m not going to sit here and go into what we could go through all of those five games. There’s been a different reason. None of which is going to be anything other than an excuse on my end, you give them their credit. But we’ll get an opportunity to play them again later on this year.”
And it’s not just that he’s failed to beat Shanahan, but that his losses have breathed life into the 49ers. The first of this string, in 2019, was the most consequential win in the 49ers’.
“Honestly, it felt pretty similar to the Super Bowl year,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “That year that we, it felt like we ran the ball 30 times every time that year. When we can do that and be successful on third down, that’s a good recipe for us.”
The 49ers pushed the Rams around from the opening snap, taking their first possession 93 yards on 18 plays in a whopping 11 minutes and 3 seconds. It was the longest drive of the season by any NFL team and the longest opening drive by any team since 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“Anytime we get to sit there and drink Gatorade when they’re running that ball, that’s great football right there,” linebacker Fred Warner said.
“I don’t want to say it took their soul away,” Garoppolo said of the drive. “But it definitely did something.”
In a typical week, Kyle Shanahan might aspire to run the ball 30 times and hope his team finishes with close to that number of carries. Heading into Monday’s game, he set the mark even higher, at 40 runs. He figured that might be overly ambitious. But he reasoned that achieving it would require a complete game from his offense, defense and special teams, and that’s what it would take to defeat the talented Rams and to get the wobbly 49ers on solid footing again.
It turns out Shanahan aimed a little low. By game’s end, the 49ers had run the ball 44 times, two more than the mark they set in the NFC Championship Game against the Packers two years ago. Monday’s performance wasn’t as dominating as that one. While Raheem Mostert averaged a gaudy 7.6 yards a run two years ago, Mitchell’s average against the Rams was a mere 3.4 yards a carry.
- Two weeks, and two games in which the Rams have been bullied. The high-powered offense that turned heads and sent many soaring into the embrace of infatuation has disappeared when presented by a defense with teeth, and the Rams haven’t had so much as a growl to match their opponents’ bite. San Francisco replicated Tennessee’s game-swinging performance from a week earlier with two early interceptions, including a second that — like Kevin Byard’s in Week 9 — was returned for a touchdown. San Francisco’s physicality made an impact, no doubt, but so did Los Angeles’ pass-catching unit, which repeatedly failed to complete its half of would-be completions. Tyler Higbee caught a touchdown pass, but dropped two passes on crucial third-down attempts, including one intercepted by Jimmie Ward. Another went off the hands of Van Jefferson, and Matthew Stafford didn’t do himself any favors with his sporadic accuracy issues. In all, the Rams didn’t stand a chance because they never suited up for the fight.