INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Here is how the 49ers (4-4) graded in Sunday’s 31-14 win over the host Los Angeles Rams (3-4):
PASS OFFENSE: A-
Jimmy Garoppolo completed 12-of-13 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns after halftime, and, although the offensive line yielded three sacks, none came during the second-half scoring spree. Christian McCaffrey’s 9-yard touchdown catch – a soaring grab on an off-schedule play – put the 49ers in the lead in the third quarter, and he finished with 55 yards and eight catches on a team-high nine targets. Brandon Aiyuk caught all six passes that came his way (81 yards), and not only did that include McCaffrey’s 34-yard toss, Aiyuk also had three catches for 30 yards on the go-ahead drive. Not to be forgotten was the tight end production on the final touchdown drive, from Ross Dwelley’s 56-yard catch in open waters to George Kittle’s second touchdown catch this season.
RUN OFFENSE: A-
McCaffrey’s 94 yards weren’t necessarily highlighted by his 1-yard touchdown run but rather his all-around, second-effort style. His longest run went for 25 yards, and a 24- yard scamper set up his touchdown. Not to be lost in The McCaffrey Show were third-down conversion runs by Garoppolo and Jeff Wilson Jr., who had a nifty 12-yard run on the go-ahead drive.
PASS DEFENSE: B
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp started off with their “love connection” – as Jimmie Ward described it last week. But, eventually, the 49ers’ second-half defense responded. Stafford finished with just 187 yards, 79 of which went to Kupp, whose touchdown catch against George Odum put the 49ers in a 14-7 hole. Fred Warner and Nick Bosa each were credited with a sack and two hits on Stafford, and Bosa noted they didn’t have opportunities to really get to Stafford until the second half. End zone penalties by Ambry Thomas and Charvarius Ward set up the Rams’ first touchdown, a Stafford scramble. It was the third game this season with no interceptions, and they’ve only had two in a game in their home opener against Seattle.
RUN DEFENSE: A
As unthreatening as the Rams’ rushing attack is – Cam Akers is benched and on the trade black – the 49ers deserve credit for limiting it to 2.7 yards per carry, matching the unit’s best mark this season (Week 1, Chicago). No run went longer than 6 yards, and the Rams had just 15 yards on 10 carries in the first half, then 41 yards on 11 carries after halftime. Fred Warner had a team-high nine sacks and then opened his press conference with a sense of relief by saying: “Go Niners. That was a great one. That was fun.” Oren Burks got the start next to Warner in place of Dre Greenlaw, and although Kupp slipped past Burks for a touchdown, the run defense was stout.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Robbie Gould’s field goal and point-after kicks moved him past Stephen Gostkowski and into 11th place among NFL all-time scorers (1,879 points). Mitch Wishnowsky’s punts pinned the Rams at their 12-, 10- and 9-yard lines. Ray-Ray McCloud sure is not timid as a returner, and although he fielded one punt at the 4-yard line, he averaged 11.3 yards on three punt returns, then had kickoff returns of 39 and 27 yards.
An eighth straight regular-season win over the Rams didn’t come easy, at least not until the second half, which was a welcome change for Kyle Shanahan’s repertoire. Garoppolo and McCaffrey praised Shanahan for the timeliness of the McCaffery touchdown pass, Defensively, the 49ers adjusted to the Rams’ screen passes and solved their third-down issues. Now they’re 3-0 in NFC West action and 4-4 overall entering the bye.