The San Francisco 49ers are 5-0. Let that sink in. San Francisco defeated the two-time defending NFC West Champion Los Angeles Rams, 20-7, during the Week 6 divisional showdown. It wasn’t the prettiest, but both the offense and defense managed to get the job done. Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s contest:
1. On San Francisco’s second drive of the game starting at their own 25, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense drove down the field with completions to George Kittle (10 yards), Matt Breida (17 yards) and Dante Pettis (19 yards). The 10-play, 75-yard drive was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown carry by Tevin Coleman, his second score of the season. Coleman finished the game with 18 carries for 45 yards and a score to go along with two receptions for 16 yards.
2. Kittle continues to prove why he’s the highest graded player in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. On 3rd-and-3, Garoppolo connected with the tight end for a 45-yard catch-and-run. The tight end recorded 30-plus yards after the catch while dragging several Rams defenders en route to Los Angeles’ 6-yard line. Kittle finished the day hauling in all eight of his targets for 103 yards. Kittle now has four-straight games against the Rams with 95-plus receiving yards.
“George is an animal," Garoppolo said. "He’s an interesting individual. I don’t know how he does what he does on a daily basis. You’ve just got to tip your hat to him. The guy comes in and puts in the work. He battles. He fights. It’s awesome to have a guy like that.
“It’s just that energy that he brings. Gameday, practice, walkthrough, whatever it is, he’s going to show up. You can rely on a guy like that.”
3. In the second quarter, the Rams drove the ball down to the 49ers goal line. San Francisco’s defense came up big, managing to stuff running back Malcolm Brown on four-straight rushing attempts including a goal line stand to force a turnover on downs. San Francisco has allowed just one rushing touchdown through five contests, with the only score coming on the Rams first drive of the game, an end around from Jared Goff to Robert Woods for an 8-yard touchdown.
"That goal line stop, I look at it like as a turnover," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. "You completely swing momentum. The grit and fight that those guys have to be able to stand up there, get that push. It just shows the will of this football team. Where they had the same situation and our guys were able to push on a quarterback sneak to get that touchdown. Where we are able to push and keep them out of the end zone. Right now our guys have a great mindset.”
4. More on San Francisco’s defense. The 49ers allowed just seven points on the day, 165 yards of total offense, 10 first downs and held the Rams to 0-9 on third down conversions, all the fewest in the Sean McVay era. Los Angeles was limited to just 3.1 yards per play, the lowest average in Rams franchise history, and were held scoreless following their opening drive. Coming off of back-to-back games of 395 and 490 passing yards, San Francisco’s defense limited the quarterback to just 56 yards passing on Sunday, also the lowest of McVay’s coaching.
“I’m very happy with how we’ve played,” Kyle Shanahan said postgame. “We’re 5-0 which is a great thing. We’re not playing our best ball. We can do a lot of things better than that. Seemed like our defense played at an extremely high level, obviously minus the first drive. We can continue to get better on offense. We can continue to get better on special teams. I also think our defense is just getting started too.”
San Francisco managed to hold Los Angeles scoreless following their opening drive.
5. On the first play of the second half, Arik Armstead recorded his first career fumble recovery on a dropped handoff from Goff to Darrell Henderson. Armstead’s recovery set up San Francisco’s 1-yard rushing score by Garoppolo, the second of his career. Armstead also split a sack against Goff and tied with Fred Warner with the second most tackles against the Rams (6).
6. The defense came up big yet again, this time in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-1, Los Angeles attempted a fresh set of downs and was quickly stuffed at the line of scrimmage. The Rams went 0-for-4 on fourth down conversions.
7. Jimmie Ward is coming off of another standout performance. The defensive back recorded back-to-back PBU’s on third and fourth down to give the 49ers offense back the ball in the fourth quarter. Ward finished the game with five total tackles to go along with his pass breakups.
“Jimmie’s a dog out there,” Shanahan said. “We love Jimmie. I would wear his jersey on the sideline if I could. I love his mentality. I love watching him play. He’s had some unfortunate things with just not being able to stay healthy. When he is healthy, he’s one of the better players. You guys see what he does. He plays extremely physical out there. He’s not scared of anything. He’s not scared to fail. He challenges guys in coverage. It’s been fun having him out there these two weeks.”
8. Solomon Thomas recorded his second sack of the season and sixth of his career. Armstead, Ronald Blair III and Dee Ford also registered sacks for a season total of 17 after Week 6. Ford registered 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He now has 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season and 34.0 sacks and 11 forced fumbles in his career.
9. Garoppolo completed 24-of-33 passing for 245 yards and an interception for an 80.7 quarterback rating.