The San Francisco 49ers 24-9 victory over the Los Angeles Rams keeps them perfect in NFC West play and extends their regular season win streak over LA to seven games. Monday night's win was dominated by the defense who gave up just nine points to the reigning Super Bowl Champs but also saw impressive contributions from the offense and special teams.
"I was really happy overall," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "It was a cool way to win. We knew it would be a battle. To keep them out of the end zone is great. Special teams played well. It was really cool to see because I thought we had a chance to run away with it especially after George's (Kittle) touchdown. And then for that to get overturned, and then the next time down there thinking we were going to get that field goal and come up short on that, but then Huf (Talanoa Hufanga) getting that pick-six got us right back at it. It was cool to overcome a lot of things and have a big victory."
The Nick Bosa sack count continues to climb
Bosa has yet to have an outing in 2022 without registering at least one sack, and Monday night was no exception. On the Rams second offensive series, the defensive end sacked Matthew Stafford on 3rd-and-8 for a loss of nine yards. That play forced the Rams first three-and-out of the game. He added another sack in the second half for a loss of one yard. Bosa's sack count is now up to six for the year, which currently leads the league in this stat category.
Santa Clara is sack city
The 49ers defense followed up last week's four-sack performance against the Denver Broncos with a seven-sack outing versus the Rams. Bosa and Samson Ebukam accounted for two takedowns each of Stafford while Charles Omenihu, Deommodore Lenoir and Hassan Ridgeway had one each. Lenoir's sack was good for a loss of 11 yards and was the first of his career.
"We always want that big night, six sacks, but we kind of try to just focus on effort, doing our job and executing our assignments," Bosa said. "Nights like that just come with it."
Deebo Samuel does it again
"Monday Night Football" versus the Rams in 2022 feels a lot like "Monday Night Football" versus the Rams n 2021, at least a little bit. Samuel's 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter of this game was longer than his fourth quarter, 40-yard score of last year, but they looked and felt very similar. With some key blocks from Jauan Jennings, Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle, the 'wideback' was able to add another 52 YAC and punch in San Francisco's second touchdown of the game.
"The dude just missed the ball," Samuel said when describing his catch-and-run touchdown. "My mentality is that it's just me and the ball out there. What happened after that is just something that I work on all the time, and I just got in the box."
Jeff Wilson Jr. goes untouched for his first touchdown of 2022
Per head coach Kyle Shanahan, one of the 49ers keys to victory against the Rams is to establish the run game early. Wilson Jr. added another 74 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown to get the scoring started for San Francisco. With the help of some nice interior blocking, No. 22 sliced through LA's defense and went untouched into the end zone.
Hufanga notches his first-career pick-six
The second-year safety picked off Stafford in the fourth quarter and returned the ball 52 yards for a touchdown to give San Francisco the 24-9 advantage. The interception is his second of the season and his first-career pick-six. Headed into this game, Hufanga was the third-ranked safety according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and he has continued to add big plays to his stat sheet week after week.
"Man, it's just a blessing," Hufanga said. "We were just man coverage, just locked up with the tight end, and they had just been running screens all night. I saw a different release than I am used to, and instead of following my man I just turned my head and the ball kind of dropped in my face. I'm not going to lie."
The defensive lineman was ruled out of the game in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. McKivitz exited the game in the second half with a knee injury and was later ruled out of the contest. The offensive lineman was stepping in at left tackle in place of Trent Williams and after his injury, San Francisco went to sophomore lineman Jaylon Moore to take over at that position.
Penalties, third down conversions and turnovers are all trending in the right direction
The 49ers made big improvements in all the statistical categories that got in the way of them getting into a rhythm in Week 3. San Francisco didn't turn the ball over aside from a turnover on downs as time expired in the first half. The Rams, on the other hand, had two—one from Hufanga's pick six and, later in the fourth quarter, a forced fumble recovery caused by Ebukam's second sack of Stafford. As for third downs and penalties, San Francisco went 5-of-12 and limited penalties to four for 25 yards.
"When you go through a tough week like that (Week 3), it makes this feel a lot better at the end," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "We've been in this situation before, it's just a roller coaster this season. You just have to ride the highs and lows and stay right in the middle as much as you can, and that's how you get success in the end."