The 49ers secured a divisional victory Thursday night on the strength of Frank Gore and a tenacious running attack, besting the Rams, 35-11. Check out final grades and analysis below.
San Francisco 49ers - 35
St. Louis Rams - 11
Game Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers
Pass Offense: After a shaky first quarter, Colin Kaepernick was superb in the second half, throwing two touchdowns. As I predicted, the Rams focused much of their efforts on stopping Anquan Boldin, which gave Vernon Davis more opportunities. Boldin and Davis combined for 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Run Offense: Frank Gore continued to have success on the ground in the second half, rushing for 153-yards. Left guard Mike Iupati was marvelous tonight, as was this Niners offensive line. The hogs up front paved the way for over 200 yards rushing on the night.
Pass Defense: Sam Bradford look flustered and uncomfortable in the pocket. Credit should be given to this 49ers pass rush. Cory Lemonier filled in admirably for star pass-rusher Aldon Smith. Bradford finished the game with 202 yards passing.
Run Defense: The Rams abandoned the run in the second half, which played right into the 49ers hands. As expected, the Rams miss Steven Jackson and have yet to find a suitable replacement. The Rams running backs finished with 22 yards rushing on 16 attempts. That’s a pathetic 1.38 yards-per-carry average.
Special Teams: Kyle Williams had nice 21-yard return in the third quarter, but a block in the back killed that play. Against, explosive returner Tavon Austin, the 49ers coverage unit showed great discipline. Austin went nowhere tonight. Andy Lee was special tonight, booting seven punts for a 52-yard average.
Coaching: The 49ers coaching staff implemented a great game plan against the Rams tonight. As stated above, offensive coordinator Greg Roman finally decided to feature Pro Bowl Back Frank Gore. The Niners reclaimed their run-first identity in this road victory.
First-Half Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers
Pass Offense: After back-to-back underwhelming performances, Colin Kaepernick once again looked antsy in the pocket during the first quarter. However, he looked rather impressive in the second quarter. His poise and accuracy was on full display.
With the exception of Anquan Boldin, who hauled in a nice touchdown reception in the second quarter, the 49ers receivers are struggling to create separation. This passing attack is revolving around Anquan Boldin. The Rams will likely focus on Boldin in the second half, which should leave some opportunities for Vernon Davis. Kaepernick finished the first half with 104 passing yards and one touchdown.
Run Offense: Frank Gore is having quite a first half. Gore has piled up 107 yards on the ground on only 10 attempts. Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James received two carries apiece, but with little impact. It seems offensive coordinator Greg Roman is riding his feature back to victory. After the debacle last week, this should be refreshing for 49ers fans.
Gore touched the ball only four times in the second half of their Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. In the first half alone, Gore already has 10 attempts. The 49ers will have to continue riding their Pro Bowl back if they intend to escape Edward Jones Dome with a win.
Pass Defense: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford did throw for 138 yards, but the 49ers secondary has done a nice job preventing scoring drives in the first half. Donte Whitner has looked impressive in the first half. After Whitner muffed a clear interception on one drive, he redeemed himself with an acrobatic pick in the second quarter that prevented a Rams touchdown. If the 49ers can continue holding the Rams to field goals, this game could turn lopsided rather quickly.
Run Defense: The 49ers run defense look much improved from last week; however, did we really expect the Rams to have a standout game on the ground? In their first three games, the Rams are 29th in rushing. As expected, the 49ers have essentially shut down the run game. Daryl Richardson carried the ball 12 times for a measly 16 yards in the first half.
Special Teams: After a promising first series for the 49ers, kicker Phil Dawson missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt. Just before that, Kyle Williams muffed a punt attempt, but it was an obvious interference call on the Rams coverage unit.
Andy Lee continues his solid play. Lee boomed a 58-yard punt in the first quarter. With the exception of a blocked punt against the Seahawks in Week 2, this unit hasn’t stood out thus far in the season. After nursing an injury, LaMichael James made his 2013 debut. James served as the 49ers' kick returner in the first half.
Coaching: With the exception of a facemask penalty in the first quarter, the 49ers have been solid on the penalty front. The 49ers struggled out of the gate but finished the first half relatively strong. If they can carry this momentum into the second half, the 49ers have a great chance to secure a win.