The San Francisco 49ers took an early lead in the NFC West with ther their 30-23 -7 win over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday.
Here are my ten takeaways from the victory:
1 Brock Purdy
Purdy was not perfect, but he was still good on Sunday while extending his regular season win streak to seven.
Most of the discussion during and since the game has been around three downfield misses, two of which were potential touchdowns. Despite the misses to Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings, Purdy finished with a higher yards per attempt (8.2), completion percentage (68%) and average depth of target (9.3) than he did in week on against Pittsburgh.
For the sixth time in seven regular season starts for Purdy the 49ers offense scored at least 30 points. The fact that some are concerned about his performance yesterday shows just how good Purdy has been to this point.
2 Aaron Donald shut down.
Lined up predominantly across from Aaron Banks and Colton McKivitz, the multi-time All-Pro did not record a single tackle in the 54 snaps. Donald finished with just one quarterback hit and one pressure in 23 snaps while working against McKivitz at left defensive end.
3 Second half adjustments
Something about facing the Rams brings out the best in the 49ers defense, especially in the second half.
After allowing Los Angeles to score on all three of its first half possessions, 17 points in total, the 49ers held the Rams to just six points after the break. San Francisco did a much better job of getting Los Angeles into third and five or more during the second half.
For San Francisco this has become a regular occurrence against the Rams. Including yesterday’s performance, the 49ers have held Los Angeles to just 19 second half points in their last five regular season meetings.
4 Isaiah Oliver
When the 49ers signed Oliver during free agency the expectation was that he would be the replacement for Jimmie Ward. However, struggles during training camp led to Deommodore Lenoir getting the call to move inside instead with Ambry Thomas stepping in for Lenoir on the boundary.
When Thomas was forced to leave the game after the Rams second offensive possession, Oliver stepped in and showed why he was brought in.
The veteran recorded his first interception as a 49er to end a Rams scoring threat in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter he shot through to help drop running back Kyren Williams in the backfield on fourth and short to get the ball back.
5 Deommodore Lenoir
Sunday was a bit of a struggle for Lenoir. The third-year cornerback was targeted 11 times, allowing seven receptions for 84 yards.
Despite the rough outing Lenoir made the play to put the game away for San Francisco.
Leading by seven with just under five minutes left to play, Lenoir cut under Rams receiver Van Jefferson to intercept a Matthew Stafford pass. Jake Moody hit a field goal a few plays later to put San Francisco up by ten, effectively ending the game.
6 Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey’s 51-yard run on San Francisco’s second possession gives the running back a run of more than 50 yards in each of the first two games. His three carries of at least 15 yards leads the NFL through the first two weeks.
McCaffrey’s 268 rushing yards through the first two weeks are the most by a 49ers running back in the first two weeks since Garrison Hearst ran for 325 yards to start the 1998 season.
7 Jake Moody
The rookie kicker has been perfect to start his career, hitting on all six field goal attempts and six point after tries. Moody gave the 49ers the lead for good with a booming 57-yard field goal, second longest in 49ers history, in the third quarter. He also hit from 26 and 27 yards out.
8 Deebo Samuel
Samuel continued his dominance against the Rams with 101 scrimmage yards on Sunday. This marked the fifth consecutive time he has gone over 100 scrimmage yards against Los Angeles. Samuel’s touchdown run gave him at least one touchdown in four consecutive games against the Rams.
9 Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw led all 49ers defenders with 12 tackles, including seven solo. The linebacker also knocked away a Matthew Stafford pass.
10 Fred Warner
Warner was right behind Greenlaw with 11 tackles, including one for loss. Warner also recorded his first sack of the season, dropping Stafford to end the Rams final possession of the third quarter. That stop and touchdown by Deebo Samuel on the ensuing offensive possession allowed San Francisco to go up ten and take control of the game.