After dropping two games following their opening week win, the Niners seemed to be at an early season crossroad. Losing meant dropping to 1-3 in a division with an undefeated rival. Winning would get them back to 500 and keeping pace with other playoff teams.
There were a lot of questions going into the game. The defense had been already been shaky this year and was going to play with not just one of their best linebackers out, but two of them in the same week and there was not telling how the defense would perform. The offense hadn’t been able to muster up more than 1 touchdown over the past two weeks and people wonder if they could get by without more reliable receivers and if their running game was getting stale.
Many around the Niners camp suggested that things are fine and that they are working out kinks, but that they are still the same team and can play the same way. Players all backed up the talked and said all the right things in the press leading up the game. When it was all said and done, things ended up panning out the way the Niners said it out.
Frank Gore delivered the main blow rushing for over 150 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. His performance this week was his best all year. He average 7.7 yards per carry and broke a couple of good runs over 10 yards. His longest was 34 yards for a score. Towards the end of the game, the Niners started rotating in backs and they ended spreading the love around. Dixon and Hunter both had rushing touchdowns, but it was Kendall Hunter who saw most of the back up work carry the ball 11 times for 49 yards. In total, the Niners torched the Rams for over 200 yards on the ground and helped seal their fate late in the game.
On the receiving side, it was all Anquan Boldin. He seemed to be the only guy in the game at times that Colin could throw the ball too. He was targeted 7 times with 5 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Vernon David also had one touchdown, but was quiet most of the night otherwise. The night could have been better on the receiving end had the score been a little more close. The Niners didn’t have to do much in the second half and mostly ran the ball. Kaepernick ended the game with the two touchdowns, but only had 167 yards passing. He did have 3 rushes, but for only 11 yards.
The defense showed up despite what some thought was going to be a depleted team and not able to make big plays. They were getting pressure and causing turnovers and helped the offense get good field position. In terms of fantasy it was their best game of the year, and for owners that played them it was certainly a good sign to see. They had been giving up a lot of points and not getting the turnovers so they were one of the last place teams in terms of fantasy, but were one of the top defenses drafted. Maybe this squad will get it back on track and give owners something to not worry about each week.
For the Rams, there wasn’t much to talk about. Bradford isn’t really a starter in fantasy and his performance didn’t really help any of the receivers. The big story would be the lack of production from Daryl Richardson, who many owners were probably starting in their RB2 or flex option. His numbers were really below average. His rushed 12 times for 16 yards. That’s right. He had a whopping 1.3 yards per carry. He also caught 1 pass for 2 yards. This was not the kind of performance that owners were hoping for. Austin Pettis had the most catches and targets for the week. He looks like the clear receiver to own their if you are going to own any, but Austin also has some value in return leagues as they will try to get him the ball any way they can.