Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The San Francisco 49ers improved to 12-3 with a last-second victory over the division rival Los Angeles Rams. With the win, the 49ers knocked the Rams out of playoff contention and continue to further the “Super Bowl Hangover” for the City of Angels. Let’s cut to the chase and get on to the stock watch!
Stock Up: Third and Long Conversions
On their final, game-winning drive, the 49ers were faced with not one, but two third-and-16 plays. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo mustered up every bit of his clutch gene and hit wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Emmanuel Sanders for the conversions on both. Bourne was able to catch a strike over the middle and back his way into 18 yards while Sanders took advantage of a busted coverage to net 46 yards and set up the final field goal.
Stock Up: Fred Warner, LB1
Linebacker Fred Warner has had many a close call when it came to coming down with an interception this season. Right before halftime on Saturday night, he finally came down with his first career interception and turned it into a quick six points. Warner also lit up the stat sheet with 11 tackles and a pass deflection to go along with the pick. He has excelled all year long and should be in the conversation for being the best linebacker in the entire league.
Stock Down: Ahkello Has a Rough Night
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon had been having a good season before Saturday night. Against the Rams, he turned in the worst performance of the year and was routinely beaten by WRs Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks. Witherspoon gave up a pair of touchdowns but at least you can say he tackled well. Not the best thing to say about a cornerback after a game but it’s important to find positives, right?
Stock Down: OL Also Has a Rough Night
Normal right guard Mike Person was held out of the Rams game with a neck injury and was replaced by Daniel Brunskill. Brunskill immediately had his hands full trying to contain Rams DL Aaron Donald and crew. The 49ers’ OL on the whole had a poor showing as they allowed Garoppolo to be sacked on six different occasions. It has been a roller coaster season for the group up front and they will need to fix that before the playoffs begin.
Stock Up: George Kittle is Still the Primary Target
Not many teams can say they run primarily through the tight end, however, George Kittle is Garoppolo’s number-one target whenever he is active. Kittle lead the team with 8 targets, 5 catches, 79 yards and a critical score on a third-and-goal play. It is very clear that when Kittle is on the field, he is what makes Kyle Shanahan’s offense tick. Whether it is his blocking, receiving or what he does after the catch, Kittle is and still will be the primary target unless something drastic changes.
Stock Up: Robbie Gould Keeps #1 Seed Alive
Kicker Robbie Gould kicked a 33-yard game-winning field goal as time expired and in doing so, made Week 17’s game against the Seattle Seahawks the most important one of the entire year. With a victory on Sunday night, the 49ers would secure not only a first-round bye but homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. With a loss, they would drop to the fifth seed in the NFC and would be forced to go on the road during the Wild Card round.
You can follow Matt on Twitter here!
Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more great 49ers coverage and analysis!