ReFo: Rams @ 49ers, Week 9
The St. Louis Rams came away with an important division win in San Francisco thanks largely to a final effort at their own goal line. 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick lost hold of the ball as he pushed for the would-be game-winning score and the Rams recovered with just two seconds showing on the clock to presere their 13-10 advantage.
With neither offense showing much, it was down to the play of the defenses to decide it as the St. Louis pass rush awoke and a rookie 49er linebacker answered the call.
St. Louis Rams – Performances of Note
Robert Quinn, DE: +3.8
Breakdown: Quinn may have been the highlight, but he wasn’t the only one as the entire Rams front needs mentioning here for the pressure they put on Kaepernick. Keeping the San Francisco offense in check, while their own sputtered, meant the game stayed close and with more than 20 total pressures logged, threats from all across the D-line and linebacking corps contributed. Quinn’s fourth and fifth sacks in the past three weeks have helped lift his pass rush grade (+9.5) to fifth-best among the league’s 4-3 DEs.
Signature Play: 2Q 2:06, as a push up the middle flushed Kaepernick, Quinn pursued from the backside and knocked the ball loose for a fumble that Eugene Sims would recover.
Greg Robinson, LT: -1.8
Breakdown: Shifting to left tackle to replace injured foundation piece Jake Long, the rookie Robinson got his first taste of NFL life on the edge. A relatively quiet showing isn’t a bad thing and though he had a few issues — a holding penalty, a hit allowed, and some trouble letting defenders inside of him while run blocking – it wasn’t a disastrous first effort.
Signature Play: At 11:51 of the fourth quarter, Robinson lets Dan Skuta slip inside and meet the runner in the backfield.
Alec Ogletree, LB: +5.3
Breakdown: Landing his fourth game in the green since entering the league, Ogletree notched his first overall positive performance of the season in fine fashion. All over the field, he allowed one of three targets into his coverage to be completed while knocking a pass away, he collected a hit and a hurry while rushing the passer, and his three run stops on 19 run snaps had his Run Stop Percentage as the highest for all 4-3 LBs this week.
Signature Play: At the 8:00 mark of the first quarter, Ogletree widened under an out route and made a leaping effort to nearly snag a pass Kaepernick tried to float over him.
San Francisco 49ers – Performances of Note
Chris Borland, LB: +3.8
Breakdown: A rookie linebacker filling in for an injured Patrick Willis wouldn’t inspire confidence in the defense’s chances, but third-rounder Chris Borland turned in a performance that opened eyes as to the kind of depth San Francisco has behind their All-Everything inside duo. Borland recorded an amazing nine run stops on 25 snaps of run defense – he was simply finding the runner on nearly every play.
Signature Play: At 4:44 of the first quarter, Borland displayed the instinctual play that he carried through the afternoon, shooting into the St. Louis backfield to snare the runner before he got going.
Colin Kaepernick, QB: -6.8
Breakdown: A low point in what is turning out to be a rough season for the San Francisco signal-caller, Kaepernick’s day was spotted with mistakes. A dropped interception in the first quarter that he put in the chest of Lamarcus Joyner started it off and a fumble at the goal line in the game’s final seconds was the capper that left Kaep and the Niners on the short end of a winnable division game at home.
Signature Play: In the waning moments of the first half, Kaepernick took a third-down sack that tacked on a few extra yards to a Phil Dawson field goal try that ended up falling just short.
Andy Lee, P: +4.8
Breakdown: Lee has occupied a spot among the best punters in the league at points in recent seasons and this game marked his top performance of the year so far. His memorable effort in this contest, though, was a fourth-quarter shank that set up the Rams with a short field and a path to what would prove to be the game-winning field goal. Shame for Lee and the 49ers is that it followed a field-flipping first attempt that was wiped away by offsetting penalties.
Signature Stat: Lee and his counterpart, the Rams’ Johnny Hekker (+4.5), posted the two highest punter grades of the week in this offense-less contest.
PFF Game Ball
In a game that could have gone either way, an individual performance that happened to be from the losing side was most impressive. Chris Borland‘s showing was one to note and good enough to earn his first game ball.