3 Takeaways From the 49ers Week 8 Win Over the Rams
A stark difference from Week 7, the 49ers went to Southern California and produced one of the best wins of the season, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31-14.
Down 14-10 at halftime, San Francisco rallied back to score 21 unanswered points while holding the Rams offense to 49 net yards in the second half. Now with a bye week on the horizon, the Red & Gold look to get even healthier after the break, hoping that a few key starters will return in Week 10.
“We’re pretty optimistic to get a number of guys back. We are hoping that most of them will come back and we feel pretty good about that,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday via conference call.
But before we get to Week 10, let’s examine a few positive anecdotes from Week 8 in Inglewood.
Christian McCaffrey is Better than Advertised
In case you missed it, running back Christian McCaffrey is really good at football.
Only arriving in San Francisco less than two weeks ago, “CMC” had a coming out party in Los Angeles, producing three touchdowns in a comeback win over the Rams. The best part: Each touchdown was better than the last.
First scoring a passing TD, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo flipped it back to McCaffrey before he launched it to a wide-open Brandon Aiyuk for the 34-yard score. The second touchdown was pivotal, jumping up high in the air to snag a ball from Jimmy G in the right corner of the endzone, giving the 49ers the lead in the third quarter. He completed the hat-trick with his legs, knifing into the endzone from one-yard out to seal the win.
The star of the show Sunday, McCaffrey became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to score a passing, receiving and rushing TD in the same game. Only four players have achieved such a feat since the league merger in 1970. He finished with 26 touches for 139 yards from scrimmage, also adding 34 yards through the air on top of his three scores.
Jimmy Garoppolo on Christian McCaffrey's TD pass compared to his TD reception:
"Throw was alright, catch was a lot better." 😂 pic.twitter.com/vaJyyvoEZA
— KNBR (@KNBR) October 31, 2022
Only getting the full playbook last week, CMC has taken the new role and flourished, leaving opposing defenses wondering how they can stop him and WR Deebo Samuel.
“Deebo can run through 2 guys and score…Christian, on the other hand, is slippery and it’s hard to get hands on him, so it’s just what do you like?” Tight end George Kittle stated Tuesday.
The 49ers Defense Woke Up
A big reason the 49ers were on a two-game losing streak was the defense.
Looking elite to start the season, the unit got embarrassed against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, to the point that The Faithful were heading for the exits in the fourth quarter. The week prior wasn’t much better, letting the Atlanta Falcons dictate the pace of the game from start to finish.
Week 8 was different story, or at least the second half was.
The 49ers conceded 223 net yards Sunday in LA, only 43 of those came in the second half. Holding the Rams to four consecutive punts, San Francisco dominated the possession to keep their foot on the neck of their division rival.
A big part of the team’s success was captain linebacker Fred Warner, swarming all over the field Sunday. The BYU product finished with 12 combined tackles (5 solo), one sack, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits and one pass breakup. Having two bad games and with fellow LB Dre Greenlaw out (calf), Warner needed to step up for the 49ers to come away with the win.
The best inside linebacker in football is @fred_warner.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) November 1, 2022
“Call the Ambalamb,” Warner jokingly wrote in an Instagram post after the win.
Two things The Faithful love to see: A 49ers win and a Rams loss. Thanks to defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Fred Warner’s unit, both things came to fruition in Week 8.
Getting Healthy at the Right Time?
Less of a question, more of a fact: The bye week camera at the perfect time for the 49ers.
With a week of rest on the horizon, the 49ers could get a number of key starters and rotation players back from injury for Week 10’s matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The biggest names on the list would be wide receiver Deebo Samuel, defensive tackle Arik Armstead and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
Other players possibly returning include:
- WR Jauan Jennings (hamstring)
- running back Elijah Mitchell (MCL)
- linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair (MCL) and Dre Greenlaw (calf)
- cornerback Jason Verrett (ACL)
- DT Javon Kinlaw (knee)
The 49ers could also get DT Jordan Willis back in a few weeks after spending most of the season on IR, recovering from a knee clean-up operation in September.
Already looking to build off an impressive divisional win, San Francisco will need all the help they can get to make a deep run in the postseason.
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