Wow. That was unexpected. After two straight defense-oriented yawners, the 49ers and Rams held an old fashioned offensive barn burner. Easily the most entertaining Niner game in years.
The game was as evenly matched as you can get. Each team had over 400 yards of offense, 300 by passing and 100 by running. They each scored five TDs and 2 FGs. And two turnovers. The Niners got their muffs out of the way in the first quarter, the Rams in the second and fourth. In the end, it all came down to a missed PAT by the Niners and a failed two point conversion.
The most glaring difference between the teams was the pass rush. The Rams had four sacks, the 49ers had zero. Number one draft pick Solomon Thomas was again barely visible, with one tackle representing his only stat of the game. In fact, none of the first five picks in the 2017 Draft Class are contributing anything so far this year, although Reuben Foster most certainly was, before his injury.
Defensive ineptitude by both teams was also equally on display. For the Rams, a bit surprising. One would think Wade Phillips would have his team a top five group, but they’ve been a sieve all three of their games. Maybe the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is not going very smoothly. If it ever gels this season, the Rams will be a legitimate playoff contender. Their offensive turn around, especially the play of QB Jared Goff, has been amazing.
For the Niners, the continued lack of a pass rush is killing them. Their run defense has been solid, a refreshing turn around from last year. But teams with good passing attacks are going to tattoo this group all year long.
On the plus side, Brian Hoyer finally found his groove and the offense at last performed like we all expected a Kyle Shanahan offense to perform. Bolstering the hope that the remaining games this year will be very competitive and entertaining, whether that is reflected positively in the win/loss record or not. The Niners are 0-3 right now, but are clearly better than the 1-2 teams of the previous two years.