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

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerContributor IIIDecember 2, 2012

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

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    The St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) were able to defeat San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) by a score of 16-13 in an overtime thriller.

    This game was a defensive clash as both teams struggled to gain points and yardage, but the Rams came through on offense when it mattered—such as the two-point conversion following the Janoris Jenkins touchdown, and the two field-goal drives. 

    Not a lot of analysts would have picked the Rams to come out on top against a superior San Francisco team, but anything can happen when these two rivals face off, and today is proof of that. 

    Read on for positional grades and analysis from each quarter. 


    Final OT

    Rams 16, 49ers 13

Quarterback: B (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: A

    It wasn't the the flashiest performance for a quarterback, but can anyone really expect that against a defense of San Francisco's caliber? 

    Bradford completed 66.6 percent of his passes and finished with 221 yards. He didn't find the endzone, but he avoided turning the ball over, which turned out to be huge in this game. 

    Bradford came through when it mattered most. He hit Kendricks on the two-point conversion, and his 14-yard scramble in the fourth quarter helped to set up Greg Zuerlein's game-tying field-goal. 

    Bradford is really developing as a player. We are seeing less and less mistakes, combined with more consistent production. 


    Third Quarter: B

    Bradford is completing over 70.0 percent of his passes with 155 yards. He is struggling to score points, but that's more of an offensive problem rather than a quarterback problem. 

    In the meantime, Bradford looked confident in the pocket during the third quarter and has avoided costly turnovers in this game. 


    Second Quarter: D

    Bradford's discomfort in the pocket is steadily increasing, while it's apparent that he has absolutely no rhythm established with the wide receivers. 

    The absence of Danny Amendola certainly makes things difficult for Bradford, but there's still no excuse for the lack of production in the first half of this game. 


    First Quarter: C+

    Sam Bradford has not been relied on heavily in the early goings, with only three pass attempts during the first two drives and just five in the entire first quarter. 

    Though Bradford looks mobile and alert in the pocket so far, it also seems as though he has struggled to establish an early rhythm with the receivers. 

Offense: D+ (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: C+

    If it wasn't for the two-point conversion, the Rams defense would have outscored the Rams offense. Instead, both units contributed eight points to the 16-point total. 

    With this team, it feels that every week contains the possibility of the defense outscoring the offense, and that's unacceptable. 

    But even though the offense didn't contribute a touchdown in this game, there are some positives. 

    For starters, Chris Givens continues to shine and had a phenomenal game in Danny Amendola's absence with 11 catches for 92 yards. 

    Also, Steven Jackson finished with 117 yards from scrimmage and had an inspiring performance. Despite the offensive struggles, there's no question that the Rams lose this game without Jackson. 

    As the team adds talent and gains experience in this offensive system, things will hopefully begin to improve. Until then, there's no doubt that this team is inept on offense. 


    Third Quarter: D+

    The third quarter was by far the best offensive quarter of the game for the Rams after driving the ball inside the five-yard-line, but they still failed to score any points despite their efforts. 

    If the end result is the same, an improved performance doesn't make much of a difference. 


    Second Quarter: F

    The offense was not only shutdown in the first half of the game, but they didn't have a single drive that even resembled production. 

    The 49ers defense has been made it extremely difficult for the Rams to cross midfield, and at this point even a field-goal would be miraculous. 

    Brian Schottenheimer has some serious halftime adjustments to attend to. 


    First Quarter: D

    The offense needed to strike early and catch the 49ers defense off-guard, but they were unable to do so and produced zero points in the first two drives. 

    The sloppy start on offense could have them playing catch-up for the remainder of the game. 

    On the bright side, Steven Jackson has been a beast running the ball and appears to be the center of the offensive game plan. 

Defense: A+ (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: A+

    The defense had a somewhat sloppy start in the first quarter after allowing the 49ers to march down the field for a Frank Gore touchdown on their second drive of the game, but the Rams tightened up and had a great game. 

    They allowed two field-goals in the fourth quarter, but they stepped up in overtime and prevented the 49ers from scoring during their two possessions. 

    Janoris Jenkins came in on a blitz, which helped force a safety on Colin Kaepernick, while he also recovered a fumble for a touchdown. 

    Outside of Jenkins, the defense also contributed three sacks, which is an accomplishment given Kaepernick's well-known mobility. 

    The defense allowed just seven total points in the first three quarters and allowed just 13 points overall to one of the better teams in the NFL. It was one arguably the most impressive defensive showing all season long for the Rams. 


    Third Quarter: A+

    For a second consecutive quarter, the Rams defense shut down the 49ers offense and prevented them from scoring any points. 

    On top of that, the pressure on the quarterback and the overall physicality has been impressive. Combine that with the safety, and the defense has clearly been the strong point for the Rams this afternoon. 


    Second Quarter: A

    After the Rams defense gave up a touchdown in the first quarter, it seemed as though they were regressing and it would be a long afternoon. 

    Luckily, the defense stiffened up in the second quarter and shutdown the San Francisco offense. The defense is the only reason the Rams are still in this game. 


    First Quarter: C

    The Rams defense appeared energized and ready to play during the first drive, but Frank Gore ran them over during the second drive and eventually punched one into the endzone. 

    If the offense isn't going to help out by sustaining long drives, the defense needs to take matters into their own hands and come up with a key turnover. 

Special Teams: A (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: A

    Greg Zuerlein has been in a slump ever since missing three field-goals against Miami in Week 6, but it's clear that Legatron has made a comeback. 

    Zuerlein hit a 53-yarder to send the game into overtime, where he followed up with a 54-yard kick to seal the win. 

    If not for an awful punt by Johnny Hekker that nearly lost them the game, this grade would be an easy A+. 


    Third Quarter: B

    Special teams did not stand out in the third quarter, and that is sometimes a good thing, as mentioned earlier. 

    The offense really needs Pettis to bust one out on a punt return, but the overall lack of mistakes by special teams has certainly been helpful. 


    Second Quarter: C

    Austin Pettis has questionably fielded two punts that had a chance to bounce into the endzone, which demonstrates a lack of awareness on his part. 

    And you can't blame Greg Zuerlein for missing a 58-yard field-goal, but that kick is certainly in his range and it has been a while since he has made a monster kick. 


    First Quarter: A

    Special teams has not been a factor so far in this game, but sometimes that's a good thing. 

    Austin Pettis had an admirable effort on a punt return following the 49ers' first drive, but he was unable to break free and was eventually tackled following a short gain. 

Coaching: A (Overall)

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    Fourth Quarter/Overtime: A+

    Asking your team to match San Francisco's toughness and intensity is difficult to do, but that's exactly what Fisher did in this game, and his players delivered. 

    The defensive game plan was highly effective. They allowed yardage, but they made the 49ers earn every yard. And outside of a 50-yard run by Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter, they didn't allow any killer plays. 

    On offense, it was difficult to call effective plays with Danny Amendola on the bench, but a healthy dose of Steven Jackson and Chris Givens gave them enough to get by. 

    This team is known for imploding at the first sight of trouble, but even after the offense struggled and the 49ers took the lead with a Frank Gore touchdown, the team remained resilient and fought back. 

    It wasn't pretty, but the coaching staff did an excellent job leading the team to victory. 


    Third Quarter: A

    The coaches made solid adjustments on offense and the unit is having much more success moving the ball, even if they haven't been rewarded with points. 

    Also, Jeff Fisher and his crew have been able to keep the intensity level up, as the defense continues to play a fierce game. 


    Second Quarter: C

    The defensive coaches seem to have the answers for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense, at least for now. 

    The only problem is on offense, where the Rams are struggling not only to score points, but to pickup first downs and move the chains. 

    Something has to change on offense if they want even a remote chance of winning this game. 


    First Quarter: C

    The offense looks completely lost at this point, while the defense has been unable to rattle Colin Kaepernick despite their best efforts. 

    The coaching staff will have to mix things up in the second quarter.