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Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers Rout Matthew Stafford, Rams in Odell Beckham Jr.'s Debut

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 16, 2021

AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

The San Francisco 49ers may be finding their footing.

San Francisco defeated the Los Angeles Rams 31-10 in Monday's NFC West showdown at Levi's Stadium. Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel and the defense led the way for the victors, who improved to 4-5 overall but 2-1 in their last three games.

Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions in the losing effort for the 7-3 Rams, who have now lost two in a row and are one game behind the Arizona Cardinals in the division.


Notable Player Stats

  • Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF: 15-of-19 passing for 182 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Deebo Samuel, WR, SF: 5 catches for 97 yards, 1 TD; 5 carries for 36 yards, 1 TD
  • George Kittle, TE, SF: 5 catches for 50 yards, 1 TD
  • Matthew Stafford, QB, LA: 26-of-41 passing for 243 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
  • Cooper Kupp, WR, LA: 11 catches for 122 yards

49ers Use Ball Control, Efficiency to Put on Offensive Show

San Francisco is stuck in the middle of what could be a transitional period for the franchise with Trey Lance waiting in the wings and Garoppolo under center trying to lead the team back into the playoff picture in the NFC.

Monday was an opportunity to move one game back of the Carolina Panthers in the win column in the race for the final postseason spot, so Garoppolo got the call. All he did was direct two of the most impressive drives of the season right out of the gate to stake the home team to a commanding 14-point halftime lead.

The first drive was a thing of beauty at 18 plays and 93 yards. Elijah Mitchell, Samuel and Jeff Wilson Jr. set the tone with the rushing attack, and Garoppolo exploited the openings underneath while completing all five of his passes and a touchdown strike to George Kittle.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

49ers strike first on this TD catch by Kittle 😀<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/LjVnyEdXiz">pic.twitter.com/LjVnyEdXiz</a>

NFL @NFL

11 plays. 91 yards. 7:49.<br><br>Another impressive <a href="https://twitter.com/49ers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@49ers</a> drive puts SF up 21-7. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSF</a> on ESPN<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy">https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ldb7a0SJio">pic.twitter.com/Ldb7a0SJio</a>

NFL @NFL

DEEBO. DEEBO. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSF</a> on ESPN<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy">https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy</a> <a href="https://t.co/7PMwaChafL">pic.twitter.com/7PMwaChafL</a>

NFL @NFL

When in doubt, find Deebo. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSF</a> on ESPN<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy">https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy</a> <a href="https://t.co/Co7VTwXGot">pic.twitter.com/Co7VTwXGot</a>

The formula remained the same on the second drive when Garoppolo completed all three of his passes as part of an 11-play, 91-yard march that ended with Samuel playing the role of running back and scoring with his legs. 

San Francisco's methodical efficiency was almost alarming given all the star power on the Rams defense, and Robbie Gould picked up the slack with a 50-yard field goal when the offense finally started to stall in the second half.

Fittingly, it was another short pass over the middle that broke the game completely open in the final quarter when Garoppolo converted a 4th-and-6 to Samuel, who then turned on the jets and blew past multiple Rams defenders in the open field. 

It was yet another example of the San Francisco offense capitalizing on its opportunities and preventing its dangerous Los Angeles counterpart from establishing a rhythm because it was on the sidelines for so long. The 49ers finished with more than 39 minutes of possession and put on an absolute clinic while controlling the entire game.


Mistake-Filled Performance Costs Rams Offense

The Rams debut of headline players in Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller was the headline entering play, but this was also a critical game for the team's pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the NFC with daunting road matchups against the Green Bay Packers, Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens looming.

Los Angeles needs to beat the under .500 teams on its schedule, but it was anything but dialed in from the start.

Beckham and Stafford weren't on the same page when the quarterback threw an inexplicable deep ball that Jimmie Ward picked off on the first possession. Ward wasn't done impacting the game and returned his second interception for a touchdown after Stafford's screen pass to Tyler Higbee bounced off the tight end's hands and into the air.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Welp, that escalated quickly 😳<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/1wvta9hQ28">pic.twitter.com/1wvta9hQ28</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

49ers are in COMPLETE control after this pick-6 😳<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/L4R9nh3Ebh">pic.twitter.com/L4R9nh3Ebh</a>

NFL @NFL

Stafford to Higbee puts the <a href="https://twitter.com/RamsNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RamsNFL</a> on the board! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RamsHouse?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RamsHouse</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSF</a> on ESPN<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy">https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy</a> <a href="https://t.co/Kk6EgbBA9v">pic.twitter.com/Kk6EgbBA9v</a>

NFL @NFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/49ers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@49ers</a> defense stops the fake field goal attempt! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LARvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LARvsSF</a> on ESPN<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy">https://t.co/Pbh7qEl7Sy</a> <a href="https://t.co/ooTJa4Immt">pic.twitter.com/ooTJa4Immt</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

This would've been the interception of the year if this counted 🀯<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/IxTbtKJglx">pic.twitter.com/IxTbtKJglx</a>

Higbee at least made up for his blunder by catching a touchdown pass, but the Rams stumbled into the locker room facing a 21-7 deficit after their fake field goal went awry and ended a promising drive before halftime.

Somehow things got even worse for the visitors in the second half as they went three-and-out on their first three possessions. Cooper Kupp and Higbee each had a critical drop on third downs as the game slipped away with the 49ers controlling possession on offense and forcing mistakes on defense.

Van Jefferson also dropped a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as things continued to unravel.

It was more of the same for a Rams team that also struggled in its last loss to the Tennessee Titans, which is perhaps reason for concern in the close NFC West race. There is only so much room for error at this time of the year, and Los Angeles is trending in the wrong direction.              


What's Next?

The 49ers hit the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, while the Rams are on a bye ahead of their road trip to face the Packers in Week 12.

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