Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 5-0 San Francisco 49ers are the hottest team in the NFC after dismantling the Los Angeles Rams. Enough chit chat, let’s jump into the stock watch!
Stock Up: Robert Saleh, GIFMachine
The 49ers’ defense had their second consecutive statement game and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh couldn’t have been more excited. Following a goal line stand, Saleh was extremely animated and the FOX TV cameras loved to focus on him. Over the course of the game, his repeated fist pumps made for incredible GIFs that have been shared all over the internet.
Stock Down: Robbie Gould Is No Longer Automatic
Kicker Robbie Gould only missed one field goal during the entirety of the 2018 season. So far this year, he has missed a league-leading six in fifteen attempts. Plenty of the blame can be attributed to a changing kicking battery with seemingly a new long snapper each week and the inexperienced punter Mitch Wishnowsky as the holder. When the 49ers are winning games by a large margin, this will not matter, however, once the games get close, the kicking game becomes very important.
Stock Up: Backup Offensive Tackles
With starting offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey both sidelined with injuries, many assumed that the Rams’ defensive line would walk all over backups Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill. To the contrary, Skule and Brunskill not only outperformed expectations, they were the best offensive lineman on the field Sunday. After Skule gave up a sack to DL Aaron Donald on the first drive, the rest of the game was smooth from the bookends. Skule and Brunskill will have another tough challenge ahead against the very talented Washington Redskins defensive front.
Stock Down: Garoppolo’s Decision Making
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has now twice led the 49ers to five-game win streaks and his stats during those streaks are eerily similar. However, his decision-making leaves quite a bit to be desired from time to time. On Sunday, Garoppolo threw a bad interception when the team had the ball on the Rams’ one-yard line. All the goodwill he builds up through good passes into tight windows will be thrown out if he continues to make poor decisions.
Stock Up: Dee Ford, Pass Rush Specialist
When general manager John Lynch traded for defensive end Dee Ford, many assumed he would be an every down player for Saleh’s defense. Instead, Saleh has utilized Ford as exactly what he is: an elite pass rusher. Ford is allowed to pin his ears back and go get the quarterback nearly every down he is on the field. They are not asking him to play outside his comfort zone and keeping his legs fresh so he can continue to make an impact late into the fourth quarter. On Sunday, Ford only played 21 snaps, 4 fewer than fellow DL Solomon Thomas, but Ford made the most of those as he was also Pro Football Focus’s highest rated 49ers defender of the season.
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