The 49ers showed a championship heart in their victory over the Rams on Saturday night, but not a championship talent level.
They were outplayed for most of the game, and it took a brilliant defensive play by Fred Warner to steal the lead at the half and a clutch Jimmy Garoppolo game winning drive at the end which featured two consecutive 3rd and 16 conversions. The second one was a 47 yarder to Emmanuel Sanders that set up Robbie Gould‘s 33 yard game winning FG.
When the two teams met earlier in the year, the Niners sacked Jared Goff four times and made his life miserable the whole game. In that game, the team had Ronald Blair, DJ Jones, Kwon Alexander, Jaquiski Tartt, and Dee Ford. In Saturday night’s game, they had none of those guys.
The difference was no sacks and no pass rush on Goff, who was free to pick apart the secondary and make it look a whole lot like last year’s secondary. That makes three straight games they’ve looked that way, getting trashed by the Saints and Falcons, as well as the Rams.
The Niners were also missing two interior offensive linemen against the Rams which resulted in six sacks against Garoppolo.
Without Blair, Jones, and Ford, Arik Armstead has reverted to the form he showed in his first four years. Which is mostly MIA.
At least the Niners are getting experience in nailbiter games. They’ve had eight this year and won five. Unfortunately, next week’s winner take all game in Seattle will be against a Seahawks team that has won nailbiter games all year long.
With a healthy team, the 49ers would be a very good bet against Seattle, who have their own injury problems, losing two guys this past week. Both teams need a first round BYE to get some players back from the injury list. Neither team is going to get very far in the playoffs without that BYE.
The 49ers haven’t won in Seattle since 2011. Now would be a good time to end that streak.