Talk about sending a message.
Despite having to face a loaded Los Angeles Rams team that recently added Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller to the roster, the San Francisco 49ers shockingly made life absolutely miserable for Matthew Stafford and Co. In fact, it’s hard to look at what Kyle Shanahan’s squad did to Sean McVay’s crew and not come away thoroughly impressed and optimistic about what lies ahead.
And for anyone who doubted San Francisco’s ability to compete for a Super Bowl title this season, Jimmy Garoppolo’s post-game admission should strike fear into the rest of the NFL and get 49ers fans fired up about the future.
San Francisco delivered an emphatic statement by sending Sean McVay’s team back to LA with a lopsided loss
Few expected the 49ers to topple the Rams on Monday Night Football.
But nobody expected them to completely dominate a team widely viewed as a top Super Bowl title contender.
Surprisingly, San Francisco showed little trouble slowing down a high-powered LA offense that recently added OBJ to the mix. By playing a fast, physical style of defense that kept Stafford out of rhythm, DeMeco Ryans’ unit limited the Rams to a season-low 278 total yards. Most importantly, the 49ers won the turnover battle, picking off the former Detroit Lions signal-caller twice in a lopsided 31-10 win.
Ultimately, the highly hyped affair between the two NFC West rivals didn’t turn out to be nearly as competitive as anticipated. Not only did the 49ers deliver a dynamite defensive performance, but they also dominated the time of possession battle by employing a run-based attack that forced the Rams to play defense for two-thirds of the game.
Overall, the 21-point victory certainly raised eyebrows around the league. And in the aftermath of his team’s fourth win of the season, Jimmy Garoppolo made a frightening admission that should have 49ers fans fired up.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s frightening admission should have 49ers fans fired about what lies ahead
Just two years removed from playing in the Super Bowl, the 49ers still have their sights set on winning a championship. And despite their injury issues, they remain in the mix for a playoff berth.
For fans who watched their beloved team go 13-3 and come agonizingly close to defeating Patrick Mahomes for the Lombardi Trophy, the Rams game provided a glimpse at the current squad’s scary potential.
And if San Francisco’s performance against LA didn’t say enough, Garoppolo’s post-game admission should have the rest of the NFL on full alert.
“Honestly it felt pretty similar to the Super Bowl year,” the 30-year-old quarterback told reporters. “It felt like we ran the ball 30 times every time that year. When we can do that and be successful on third down, it’s a good recipe for us.”
Of course, the 49ers went well over that 30-carry mark Monday. Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel, and Jeff Wilson Jr. combined for 155 yards on 42 attempts, controlling the clock and wearing down a Rams defense that entered the game having allowed a combined 113 rushing yards in their previous two games.
Moving forward, San Francisco fans should feel excited about the direction of the team. Garoppolo’s statement shows the offense still has the ability to dictate the pace by establishing the run and making clutch plays in the passing game on third-down situations. With Samuel emerging as a legitimate superstar, Mitchell excelling as a ball-carrier, and George Kittle rounding into form, the 49ers have several skill players who can inflict major damage.
Plus, if 2019 first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk keeps trending upward (he’s caught 13-of-18 targets since Week 8), Garoppolo will have another weapon to rely upon down the stretch.
Despite a shaky start to the season, Kyle Shanahan’s squad still has a chance to make some noise in the crowded NFC
With Garoppolo openly admitting that Monday night’s victory felt “pretty similar’ to that magical 2019 season, it would be silly to count San Francisco out of the playoff race. In fact, if the Rams game represented a sign of what’s to come, the rest of the NFC shouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers continue to rise up power rankings.
Even though they entered Week 10 with a sub-.500 record, four of their five losses came against legitimate playoff contenders. Plus, they only lost to the Green Bay Packers by two points, and they suffered seven-point defeats at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in back-to-back games.
Does Shanahan’s squad have the ability to get hot down the stretch?
If the running game continues to be effective and Garoppolo stays healthy (a big if), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see San Francisco finish the season as a top-10 offense. And if Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and the rest of the defense plays with the same effort and intensity it did against the Rams, opponents should have a tough time putting up points.
In addition, the schedule falls in the 49ers’ favor. With matchups against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the struggling Seahawks, and the 1-8 Houston Texans on the horizon, they should take care of business and add three more wins. And even though the Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals, and Atlanta Falcons remain in the playoff hunt, San Francisco could easily win at least two of those matchups.
Fittingly, Jimmy Garoppolo’s playoff hopes may boil down to what happens during the final game of the regular season. And if the 49ers use the same formula against the Rams in Week 18, they could very well leave LA with a Wild Card berth in hand.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.