The 49ers Faithful believed it could be done and low and behold, San Francisco dominated the game from start to finish and ended up having the biggest margin of victory and the only shutout of Week 1.
The defense! NaVorro Bowman led an inspired defense that completely dismantled the Rams’ attack and most importantly, bottled up Todd Gurley (17-47 yards, 0 TD).
The blitz packages were exciting and effective and what was most impressive was how stout the 49ers looked up front. Quinton Dial, Mike Purcell, Arik Armstead, and DeForest Buckner were disruptive on their own and on nearly every play, making the cleanup job easy for the linebackers and secondary.
It was really good to see quality defense from both Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward, who both finished at the top of Pro Football Focus’ grades for the defense.
The offensive line played very well against one of the top lines in the NFL. This unit is improved and Joshua Garnett was inactive. If these guys stay healthy, the offensive line will continue to be a strength.
Stats of the Day
Sacks – Armstead and Ahmad Brooks each notched a sack. Armstead is going to be a real force in 2016.
Interceptions – Bowman got one off a tipped pass and the emerging Ray-Ray Armstrong snagged one that ended a drive that was threatening to score.
Rushing Totals – 150 yards (SF) to 65 yards (Rams). Hyde finished with 88 yards and two scores while Gabbert was also effective with 43 yards and a couple first downs.
62.9 – Gabbert’s pass completion percentage. If Gabbert can get near 65% this year, the passing attack should be effective.
34.2 – Case Keenum’s QB Rating. The Niners were all over the field and the Rams’ scheme did not work in any way.
Jeremy Kurley (WR) was targeted the most last night with 11 targets and hauled in 7 catches for 61 yards. He was able to convert first downs and looks like a viable option in the slot.
Blaine Gabbert was still somewhat inaccurate but did enough good to not be very worrysome. Hopefully he will improve, but we’ll keep an eye on this.
The other thing that was odd was the offense of the third quarter. It seemed stale with no sense of urgency. Up 14-0, the Rams were one play from getting back in the game. Fortunately, the Niners were able to put the game away, but next time they may not be so lucky. Keep the foot on the throat and finish opponents off early!
The Bottom Line
There was very little to complain about, in fact, this was largely a complete performance by the whole team. The rushing attack was very good, the passing game was efficient and the defense was swarming. Hopefully this keeps up as they now have to travel to Carolina on a short week.