Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 49ers had a grand total of one win going into Week 7, and the visiting LA Rams have yet to lose a game in the 2018 NFL season. The expectations were not high for the 49ers to come away with a win, and the NFL seemed to agree. This game was supposed to be in prime-time on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, but the NFL decide to move the game to the usual 1:25 Sunday start and show the Bengals and Chiefs game on Sunday night instead. The 49ers had planned a lot for this prime time game. They finally played in their much anticipated alternate all-white uniforms, as well as “The Catch” statues that were unveiled out front of Levi’s Stadium. This was a big game for the 49ers headed into this season, but the Rams are a well-oiled machine that eats backup quarterbacks alive.
The Rams didn’t have to do anything special to take control of this game. The game was almost completely out of reach for the 49ers before halftime. Not because the Rams completely dominated the 49ers; the 49ers were actually playing well early on in this game. The defense was doing a great job slowing down the Rams All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, and getting pressure on third-year quarterback Jared Goff. Then, the 49ers decided to do the Rams a solid by gifting them short fields. Turnovers by the offense are the main reason this game was such a blowout.
Turnover number 1
Was it a pick, was it a fumble? Either way, it's a turnover for the 49ers, who are a league-worst minus-15 in turnover margin (turning the ball over 18 times but getting only three turnovers on defense). The pocket breaks down quickly for second-year quarterback C.J. Beathard, who does his best to step up into the pocket, which is what he has to do on this play. Unfortunately, right as he went to throw the ball he got hit from behind, causing the turnover.
Turnover number 2
Another instance of a 49er offensive player putting the ball on the ground. This time it's 49ers running back Matt Breida, who has been fantastic this season. It’s hard to see the fumble on film, but this looks like a nice play by the defense to put a helmet on the ball. Though, I doubt that is what the coaches said to Breida, who should be able to hold onto the ball falling to the ground. This gave the high powered Rams offense a short field that lead to a quick touchdown.
Turnover number 3
C.J. Beathard does a nice job stepping up into the pocket on this play; he has had a rough time doing that this season. The play is designed to go to the dig route ran by the outside receiver. The slot receiver holds the free safety and the tight end holds any outside defender. The problem is the throw is late; Beathard should have let this ball go right after his first hitch step. Beathard felt outside pressure so he added one more step into the pocket; he was trying to avoid a strip sack. But that extra step cost him on the timing of the route, leading to a turnover anyway. Beathard needs to recognize the timing was off on the play and taken the check-down out of the backfield.
Turnover number 4
George Kittle is the best skill position player the 49ers have, and I don’t think it’s close. So I can understand forcing a ball into the hands of your best player. The ball is a bit behind Kittle, due to Beathard being late on the throw. Kittle almost makes an amazing catch, but the defender makes an even better play on the ball and it turns into another turnover for the offense.
I wanted to include all the sacks the 49ers took as well, because those are almost as game changing as the turnovers. But there were nine of them and the 49ersHub servers just couldn’t handle that many GIFs at one time. Just trust me when I say that #99 for the Rams might have a future in the NFL. C.J. Beathard didn't do his offensive line any favors though, holding on to the ball a bit too long on a few of the sacks.
The 49ers were a longshot at winning this game, but with the mental mistakes by the offense, the game was over halfway through the 2nd quarter. Something needs to change if this team plans on winning any more games this season, being careless with the football won’t win you anything in this league.
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