The 49ers pummeling the Rams after suffering a tough loss the week before is a tradition as old as time. That tradition continued Sunday with a 31-14 win at SoFi Stadium that made it four consecutive years of the 49ers sweeping their divisional rival during the regular season. The last time the 49ers lost a regular season game to the Rams was on December 30th, 2018.
Here are my five takeaways from the 49ers' annual visit to the stadium, which is affectionately referred to as “Levi’s South.” I bet you thought I’d lead off with something about Christian McCaffrey, given the historical performance that put him in rare air.
All due respect the McCaffrey, but the leadoff spot this week belongs to the 49ers' defense and the man pulling the strings behind it because...
DeMeco Ryans officially owns Sean McVay
Ryans took over as the 49ers' defensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season, and since that time, the Rams have played 27 games. In those 27 games, the Rams' offense has been held under 300 total yards just five times. Four of those five games have come against the 49ers, and this defense led by Ryans.
In those five meetings since the Ryans took over, the Rams have failed to rush for over 100 yards against the 49ers while averaging 2.8 yards per carry over that span. The Rams ran for over 100 yards in four of their previous five meetings with the 49ers prior to Ryans taking the job, at a clip of over 4.2 yards per carry.
What was particularly impressive about the performance from Ryans and the 49ers' defense in this one was their ability to make the necessary adjustments mid-game. After forcing a three-and-out on the first drive of the game, the 49ers' defense allowed back-to-back touchdown drives of 75-plus yards.
The second Rams touchdown came with 6:35 remaining in the second quarter, and at that point in the game, the 49ers' defense had allowed 5.6 yards per play by the Rams' offense. In the remaining 35:25 seconds, the 49ers' defense held the Rams scoreless while also holding Los Angeles to just 50 total yards of offense at an average of just 1.9 yards per play.
The 49ers' defense was so dominant that the Rams' offense never crossed midfield over the final 35-plus minutes of regulation. Over that span, the farthest the Rams got was a 3rd & 6 from their own 42-yard line with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter.
Nick Bosa logged his eighth sack of the season and has now recorded a sack in every game that he has played in this season, with the exception of Week 5 in Carolina, where he missed the second half due to a groin injury. The 58 yards opponents have lost from Bosa’s sacks this season is them most among any player in the NFL this season.
In their five meetings with the 49ers since Ryans took over, the Rams have averaged 15.4 points per game. In their 22 meetings with every other team over that span, they have averaged 26.7 points per game. DeMeco Ryans owns Sean McVay until further notice.
Christian McWorthEverySingleDraftPick has a historical day
I had a much more NSFW nickname that I threw up on Twitter yesterday, but for the sake of keeping it professional here, we’ll use this one instead. McCaffrey was sensational in his second home debut, this time at the 49ers' vacation home known as Sofi Stadium. ]
The 49ers' star running back joined some prestigious company in this game, becoming just the fourth player in the last 50 seasons to record a passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown in the same game.
The last player to accomplish that feat was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005, and the only other two players to do it since the merger in 1970 were David Patten in 2001 and Walter Payton in 1979. Two of the three are not only hall of fame players but two of the most electric players with the football in their hands in the history of the sport, and now McCaffrey will forever have his name etched next to theirs in the history books.
Jimmy Garoppolo accomplishes something that hasn’t been done in over 25 years
Garoppolo went 21/25 against the Rams on Sunday, which equates to an 84 percent completion percentage. It is the highest completion percentage in a game by a 49ers quarterback since Steve Young posted an 85.7 percent completion percentage in a 33-7 win over the New Orleans Saints in September of 1997.
Brandon Aiyuk continues his hot streak
Aiyuk recorded six catches for 81 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown reception on a pass from McCaffrey. It was the third consecutive week that Aiyuk eclipsed 80 receiving yards and also the third consecutive week that Aiyuk had at least three first downs picked up.
Here is what Aiyuk’s recent three-game stretch looks like averaged out per game:
11.7 yards per reception
4 first downs gained
This is the 49ers' division to lose
Sunday’s win moved the 49ers to 3-0 against the NFC West this season. Seattle deserves respect and recognition for holding the top spot in the division through 8 weeks, but the 49ers have made it clear they are a class above every other team in the NFC West this season.
If they are able to get healthy and come out of the bye to win six of their final nine games, they will finish the season at 10-7, which likely is enough to clinch the division and, at minimum, one home game in the playoffs. Very doable, especially if the 49ers play the way they did in Los Angeles.