49ers vs. Rams: Instant Grades and Analysis for St. Louis

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 11, 2012

49ers vs. Rams: Instant Grades and Analysis for St. Louis

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    The St. Louis Rams (3.5-5.5) played a tough game at Candlestick park against the San Francisco 49ers (6.5-2.5) that ended in a tie. 

    The Rams had more than a few opportunities to secure their first road win of the season, but a number of penalties and mental errors cost them. 

    It was a disappointing ending considering the Rams could easily be chalking this game up as a victory, but there has to be some satisfaction knowing they remained competitive against one of the best teams in the NFL until the end. 

    Final OT

    Rams 24, 49ers 24

Quarterback: A- (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: A

    Sam Bradford put up 275 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns against arguably the best defense in the league. 

    Bradford had admirable composure throughout the fourth quarter and overtime, so regardless of the frustrations, he pulled his own weight. 

    The final drive was somewhat embarrassing, but his overall performance in the fourth quarter and overtime was remarkable. 

    Third Quarter: A

    Bradford continues to remain effective after going 12-for-20 with 149 yards and a touchdown through three quarters. 

    It's not a terribly impressive statline, but he has been turnover-free and is going against one of the better defenses in the league, so you have to respect this performance by Bradford. 

    Second Quarter: B

    Sam Bradford was not given a chance to shine after the offense barely had time to possess the ball in the second quarter. 

    He hit Lance Kendricks for a 12-yard pass on third-and-long, but there were few highlights in the second quarter. 

    First Quarter: A+

    It's still early, but Sam Bradford has been tuned in and looks sharp in the passing game. 

    He was 2-for-2 in the opening drive, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to rookie Brian Quick. On the second drive, he again went 2-for-2, including a 17-yard strike to Lance Kendricks and a 13-yarder to Danny Amendola. 

    Bradford has a 100 percent completion rate in the first quarter and is at the top of his game, which is a great sign. 

Offense: C- (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: D

    The two killer penalties in overtime—the illegal formation and delay of game—are completely inexcusable for a professional football team. 

    The Rams played a terrible game from an mental standpoint, and the offensive is the primary culprit. 

    They had multiple opportunities to secure the win, but boneheaded mistakes cost them big time. 

    But to be fair as far as their grade, they need march downfield for the Austin Pettis touchdown in the fourth quarter, and they at least gave Greg Zuerlein a shot at a field-goal, even if their stupidity ruined it for him.

    Third Quarter: A

    The offense was guilty of some terrible penalties in the third quarter, but they remained resilient and kept the drive alive. 

    The playmaking abilities of Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola allowed the Rams to chew major time off the clock in the third quarter, leaving the 49ers with just one quarter to cover a 10-point deficit. 

    The drive resulted in a field-goal instead of a touchdown, but the time they killed was huge. 

    Second Quarter: D

    A dropped pass by Brandon Gibson forced a punt on the first drive, while a false start led to a punt on the second drive. 

    A pair of miscues resulted in two three-and-outs, which basically prevented the offense from producing in the second quarter. 

    The offense must bring back the rhythm they showed in the first quarter. Their lead is too small to protect for the entire second half. 

    First Quarter: A+

    The Rams offense has been notorious for not finishing drives on offense, but they managed to find the endzone in both of their first-quarter drives. 

    Steven Jackson is running the ball like it's 2006, while Danny Amendola and Brian Quick have been dangerous in the passing game. 

    Daryl Richardson also managed to contribute with a 32-yard run, which set up the Rams' second touchdown of the game. 

    Phenomenal performance for the Rams offense early on. 

Defense: C (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: D

    The Rams went into prevent mode in the fourth quarter, which only hurt them. 

    The 49ers moved the ball basically at will and the Rams could do nothing about it. A missed field-goal by the 49ers is the only reason the defense didn't blow the game. 

    On the 49ers' final possession of the game in overtime, the defense came up with a key sack to get the ball back, which is the only play that saves them from an "F".  

    Third Quarter: A

    The 49ers hardly had a chance to possess the ball in the third quarter, but the Rams defense was still able to step up and prevent them from scoring. 

    With a young and inexperienced Colin Kaepernick in for the injured Alex Smith, the defense will have a chance to overwhelm the rookie and secure the victory. 

    Second Quarter: C+

    The defense lost some of its mojo at the start of the second quarter. 

    On the 49ers' first offensive drive, Alex Smith managed to hit Michael Crabtree for a touchdown. And on the second drive, the Rams forced a punt, but they allowed 49ers to prolong the drive and keep the St. Louis offense off the field. 

    We're still seeing some good things from the defense, but they need to tighten up a bit in the second half. 

    First Quarter: A+

    The 49ers entered this game determined to run the ball down the Rams' throat, but the defense isn't having any of that. 

    Rookie Michael Brockers has been a force early on in this game, and the defense has managed to stuff the tough San Francisco run game. 

    The 49ers were forced to punt on their first two drives, and the St. Louis defense looks fired up. 

Special Teams: B (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: C

    Isaiah Pead fumbled on a kick return, which prevented the Rams from securing the win during the fourth quarter. 

    Johnny "Hot Hands" Hekker had yet another fake on a punt, which allowed him to hit Lance Kendricks for a huge first down. 

    In overtime, Greg Zuerlein nailed a 53-yard kick, but a penalty forced him to kick it again at 58 yards, which he missed. 

    The delay of game penalty from the field-goal unit, combined with the fumble, really hurts the grade.

    Third Quarter: A

    Greg Zuerlein's 27-yard field-goal puts the Rams ahead 17-10. 

    Special teams is still a small factor in this game, but they've been able to step up when it counts. 

    Second Quarter: A

    Johnny Hekker had an awful 13-yard punt following the Rams second drive of the quarter, but the defense made a stand and prevented the error from causing any damage. 

    Special teams stepped up on the third drive. The team lined up to punt from their own five-yard-line, but they faked the punt and Hekker dumped it out to the receiver for a first down. 

    It was an extremely risky call considering the field position, but it paid off. As a result, the 49ers didn't get another chance to score before halftime. 

    First Quarter: A

    Special teams hasn't been much of a factor early in the game, but the Rams did manage to pin the 49ers inside the 20-yard-line on the kickoff following their first touchdown. 

Coaching: C+ (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter: F

    From a physicality standpoint, the team was absolutely ready to play. 

    From a mental standpoint, the team looked like a group of Pop Warner hopefuls who were struggling to grasp the basic rules and concepts of the game. 

    The Rams had 13 penalties for 85 yards, and many of those penalties came in key situations. The lack of discipline reflects poorly on the coaching staff.

    But to be fair, the Rams hung in there against a far superior team until the bitter end.

    Third Quarter: A+

    Jeff Fisher did not allow his team to lose focus after an impressive first half performance. 

    The team remained tough and determined in the third quarter, even if things weren't as explosive as they were in the opening quarter.

    Second Quarter: A+

    So far, the Rams have played a solid half of football against one of the better teams in the NFL

    There's no doubt that the bye week did the team some good. Jeff Fisher has the team focused and ready to play, and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain the focus in the second half. 

    First Quarter: A+

    Chris Givens and Janoris Jenkins—two key rookie assets—were on the inactive list leading up to this game for violating team rules. 

    If the Rams win this game, Jeff Fisher is a tough and smart disciplinarian in the fan's view. If they lose, he's a drama queen who overreacted. 

    But regardless of your opinion on the discipline, you cannot deny that the team is ready to play and that the game plans seem to be working.