Finally A Home Win!

Jimmy Ward

When your back is against the wall, you tend to find out what you are made of. Sometimes you even find out who you are or at least who you forgot you were. There are really only two roads to take in this situation. Do you fold under pressure? Do you persevere and succeed? The choice you make and run with will define your outcome. This week, the 49ers persevered and succeeded. The Niners back is against the wall the remainder of the season. They need to remain consistent to make a play-off run this year.

The 49ers have been woefully inconsistent this year. Missed blocks. Missed throws. Dropped balls. Missed tackles. Missed interceptions. Mistake upon mistake continued to stack ending up in a loss after loss. On Monday night, the 49ers executed the offense and defense to a level unseen this year. Monday Night’s game looks like their ceiling against a top tier team. I am not sure that it is their ceiling, but it is very close.

The 49ers got back to their identity. They are a physical, smashmouth offense that lulls you to sleep culminating in a big down field explosive plays. On Monday night they ran the ball 68% of the time. On defense they are a relentless pass rushing, ball hawking group who hits with bad intentions. They sacked Matthew Stafford twice and hurried him roughly 19 times. The Niner defense also snagged two interceptions at the beginning of the game. Coach Shanahan ensured that the team got back to its identity. He got them focused. He devised an ingenious game plan and players executed his plan on Monday Night. The result is an EMPHATIC victory!

The defense set the tone on Monday Night. Jimmy Ward was the catalyst for the first 14 points of the game for the Niners. Fourth play of the game Jimmy Ward snags an interception on the seven-yard line. The Niners responded with an 18-minute, 93 touchdown yard drive that took 11 minutes off the clock. Once again, four plays into the Ram’s next possession, Jimmy Ward picked Stafford off and this time ran it in for six points. Just like that, the 49ers are 14-0 and the first quarter is virtually over.

The 49ers established the line of scrimmage early. They wanted to run the ball and that is what they did. The Niners rush attack averaged 3.5 yards a carry but they didn’t care. They stuck with it, pounding the rock 44 times. The Niners rush attack is multiple. They make a defense run sideline to sideline, but they can punch you in the mouth too. They wore the Rams defense down. Then, when called upon, Jimmy Garoppolo hit the passes he needed to convert 3rd downs and score touchdowns.

There were two key fourth downplays that were critical to the 49ers win against the Rams. The first came as the clock was bleeding out, and the Rams were sitting at 4th and 8 on the 49er 17-yard line. The Rams lined up to kick and the 49ers took a time out. They likely thought that a fake punt was coming and they were prepared because that is exactly what the Rams attempted. The score was 21 to 7 and Coach McVeigh desperately wanted to cut that down to a one possession game. He was unsuccessful. The second critical 4th down call came with 11 minutes left to go in the game and the score was 24 to 7. The game was still not out of reach for the Rams. The Niners were on the Rams 40-yard line. They could have punted and relied on their swarming defense and that would have been a good decision. Instead, Coach Shanahan rolled the dice and called his shot. Jimmy G throws a strike to Deebo Samuel who slices thru the Ram defense for a 40-yard touchdown catch. These fourth down plays likely defined the 49ers night and they were executed flawlessly.

The 49ers margin of victory was 21 points which is their largest of the season. They also captured their first home game win of the season. Their star players stepped up and played to their potential. Deebo snagged 5 balls for 97 yards and a touchdown while running for another 36 yards. Elijah Mitchell ran for 91 yards and Kittle snagged 5 for 50 yards and a touchdown. Nick Bosa added to his sack tally late in the fourth quarter. This game, more than any other is the steppingstone they need to build on as they continue their journey for a playoff spot. On to Jacksonville!

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