The San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 20-7 on Sunday afternoon at the L.A. Coliseum, but scores can sometimes be deceiving.
What the score doesn’t show is just how thoroughly the 49ers shut down the high-powered Rams offense. How tight end George Kittle consistently found holes in the Rams defense. Or how quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did just enough to carry his team to victory.
The 49ers are now 5-0 for the first time since 1990 and looking every bit like the best team in the NFC. Sunday’s victory on the road in Los Angeles served as a statement to the rest of the league that these aren’t the same 49ers who went 4-12 just a year ago.
The Chicago Bears had a defense termed the Monsters of the Midway for the way they terrorized teams. This 49ers team can be called the Savages of Silicon Valley, and Rams quarterback Jared Goff felt their wrath.
The Rams were held to just 56 total yards passing on Sunday, the fewest the 49ers have given up in a game since the 2009 season. Goff, who had 912 yards through the air in his last two games, was held to just 78 on 13 completions. The Niners defensive line, led by Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Dee Ford, sacked Goff four times and knocked him down a further five times. Los Angeles gained 165 total yards, their fewest in Sean McVay’s tenure as head coach.
San Francisco gave up a touchdown run on a reverse by wide receiver Robert Woods on the Rams’ first drive of the game, the first score the 49ers have given up on the ground all season. But the Rams wouldn’t find the end zone again for the final 54 minutes. The closest they came was in the second quarter when running back Malcolm Brown was stopped on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line as the Rams turned it over on downs. In the second half, the Rams ran 26 plays for -3 yards.
The 49ers, meanwhile, got touchdown runs by Tevin Coleman and a quarterback sneak by Garoppolo. They made 22 first downs compared to 10 for the Rams and held the ball for 17 more minutes than their opponent.
There’s no reason the 49ers can’t keep winning. Their next three games are against the 1-5 Washington Redskins, second-year undrafted quarterback Kyle Allen and the Carolina Panthers, and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers might be 8-0 by the time they play NFC West rival Seattle in Week 10.
The Rams are facing their first bit of adversity since McVay took over as head coach before the 2017 season. They’ve now lost three games in a row for the first time under McVay to fall to 3-3 on the season. They didn’t lose their third game last season until Week 15. McVay had never even lost two games in a row in his three years on the Rams sideline.
Not only do the Rams trail the 49ers in the NFC West, but the Seahawks also improved to 5-1 with a win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The defending NFC champs are now in third place in their own division, down by three to San Francisco in the loss column with a head-to-head defeat at home.
The 49ers are now one of only two undefeated teams left in the NFL, along with the New England Patriots. They’ve already won more games than they did all last season. Garoppolo missed much of 2018 after tearing his ACL but is healthy and back to his winning ways. He’s now 13-2 in his career as a starting quarterback and ready to lead the Niners, along with the Savages, on a run to the playoffs and beyond.