ReFo: Rams @ 49ers, Week 9

Looking back on noteworthy individual performances from Week 9's tight St. Louis win in San Francisco.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Rams @ 49ers, Week 9

2014-REFO-WK09-STL@SFThe 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.


  • Duh

    How does Andy Lee get a +4.8 with that 25 yard shank that ended up resulting in the GW FG for the Rams? Might want to re-check your calculator on that one…

    • Richie


      Borland was great in run game but gave up the rams only td

      PFF have highest grades to two players who who directly contributed to 10 of rams 13 points . Brilliant!

      • Jtrum

        I just lost respect for these grades. Gave Borland and Lee super high grades when Borland gave up the TD in coverage and Lee set the rams up for a free 3 points with the shank…..yet a huge negative grade on Kap even though he had a 97.7 passer rating. AND had that rating despite being under constant pressure. And I like joe they say “took a sack” like Kap had a choice. Any QB would falter with that type of pressure on them. How is there no mention of the OL playing horribly in the grades?!!
        And If Kap’s grade is that negitive due to the fumble how is Borland and Lees not affected by their mistakes?!
        Pathetic. I used to respect these grades and use them in arguements. I see now how absolute crap they are

        • AJ

          Borland was caught out of position in coverage more than once on important downs. One time it resulted in a TD. Another I can think of cost a 3rd down. Since he’s been in, coverage break downs in the middle of the field have increased. I like him and his future, but he’s making mistakes that are proving fairly costly. The Broncos severely exploited his tendency to sell out early.

          The snap to Kap was on his leg on the fumble. Which it certainly appears he recovered, but overall it was all inconclusive. The previous play was either a TD or an incompletion but somehow became a completion and not a TD. No idea how that could have been concluded. Refs also blew the Gore fumble.

          Marcus Martin really struggled his first game out. Showed some flashes of athletic ability. But also made many many mistakes making things a lot more difficult on his team.

          The team continues to play Boone out of position. Go figure a 6’9 guard with a mesomorphic build tends to get stood up at times. Flip him and Davis. Should have been done years ago.

          I will say Lee was outstanding except that kick. But when you punt one kick should be weighted very heavily. Instead it seems a few plays are weighed more heavily for other positions.

        • MosesZD

          Passer rating is an old-fashioned garbage stat (kind of like yardage) that provides little real help in describing a QBs effect on the game. OTOH, the PFF QB ratings are subjective and definitely biased to big plays due to what is an apparent lack of understanding of the underlying statistical nature of scoring in football vis down, distance and field-position.

          So I read here as an amusement and as a case-study of emotional bias clouding ‘objectivity,’ but I use other stats done by other people. Those stats actually translate into how much a player helps his team win or lose based on the increased or decreased expected probability of scoring.

          Those stats reward both ‘big play’ and ‘move-the-chains play’ by how much it increases the probability of scoring, not how ‘hot’ the play looked. It’s far less subjective as nobody cares about ‘how’ or ‘why’ or ‘big plays’ or ‘dink-and-dunk.’

          Smith and Kaepernick and how they’re treated here is a great study in bias, btw. Kaepernick is 21st (tied, adds increased scoring probability of 0.09 points/play) and clearly does not out-rank the much despised by PFF (and others) Smith (adds increased scoring probability of 0.22 points/play) in those stats.

          Sure, Kaepernick (whom they’ve routinely touted because of his strong arm and fast feet) makes some big plays that trigger the ‘positive’ stats out of PPF and get people on message boards talking. But Smith is, and has always been, one of the better ‘move-the-chains’ QBs in the NFL.

          He’s not an elite ‘big play’ guy routinely throwing 40-yard bombs, so that’s his sin (he’s only 9th (tied) in creating big plays/game). But he’s always been a good QB at moving the chains. In fact, this year, he’s #8 (tied, last I checked) in the NFL.

          Yet about a month ago they wrote an article basically his dink-and-dunk QBing sucked. Yet he’s #9 in creating big plays and #8 in move-the-chains scoring efficiency.

          So there you have it. Smith just moves the chains and sets the KC up to score while being discounted by ‘the experts.’ Kaepernick gets the high-light reels and the praise even though he’s an anchor on the Good Ship 49ers.

          • PetEng

            For the 2014 season. For 2013 Kaep buried Smith in most metrics, QBR, EPA/play, DVOA, YPA, etc.

            And Smith sucked his first 5 years in the league. He still only has about ~3 years of actual good performance.

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      • MosesZD

        Borland, as others have noted, sells out to the run. That pads his run stats, but he keeps leaving the middle of the field wide open.

        Since the NFL is a ‘passing league,’ that’s a problem.