The San Francisco 49ers are the kings of California after they beat the Los Angeles Rams, 24-9, Monday night in Week 4 of the 2022 NFL season. Here we’ll look at some takeaways from the 49ers’ Week 4 win.
There were many heroes for the 49ers in this win over their state rivals. Deebo Samuel converted a short reception into a 57-yard touchdown, while Talanoa Hufanga scored on an interception return. Jeff Wilson Jr. also added a touchdown run of 32 yards to give the Niners their ninth straight regular-season victory against the Rams.
The Rams may have won the game that mattered the most in last season’s NFC championship game on their way to a Super Bowl victory, but this encounter resembled their recent regular-season matchups. San Francisco employed a tenacious defense to slow down coach Sean McVay’s attack and scored enough huge plays to secure the emphatic triumph.
Here are our four takeaways from the 49ers’ Week 4 win versus the Rams.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 4, 2022
4. 49ers offensive line showed good protection
The 49ers were expected to target the Rams with a fast passing game on Monday night. Despite this, Los Angeles was unable to put any pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo in the blowout defeat.
When Aaron Donald is demanding double-teams practically every play, other players must take advantage of their matchups. Despite Donald drawing a lot of attention from San Francisco’s ailing offensive line, however, Los Angeles had no sacks and Garoppolo had plenty of time to survey the field on passing downs.
The result? Garoppolo showcased his arm strength, which brings us to takeaway No. 2.
3. How about Jimmy Garoppolo’s arm?
The 49ers had one of the greatest run percentages on first downs entering Week 4. On Monday, they wanted Jimmy Garoppolo to put his arm strength in the spotlight, which is exactly what happened.
Last week, Garoppolo had a forgettable game against the Denver Broncos. However, this time around, he rebounded quite well. Jimmy G completed 16-of-27 passes for 239 yards with one touchdown and no picks.
This was in stark contrast to how they played the Rams in a crucial midseason game a year ago. The 49ers carried the ball 44 times that night, winning 31-10.
However, the 49ers right now are not in a position to run the ball with the same volume and effectiveness that they did last season. After all, the team has new players on the offensive line, left tackle Trent Williams is out with a severe ankle injury, and running back Elijah Mitchell is sidelined.
They turned to Garoppolo, who delivered in spades. His 15-yard pass to Brandon Aiyuk was the 49ers’ opening offensive play. That sent off the 49ers on a drive that culminated in Jeff Wilson’s 32-yard touchdown run.
The 49ers’ offensive line, however, suffered another injury setback when fill-in left tackle Colton McKivitz suffered a knee injury in the second half and was replaced by Jaylon Moore.
2. Dynamic Deebo Samuel was himself
After scoring a touchdown on the first possession of the game, the 49ers offense stalled. Then, for the first time this season, Deebo Samuel made a Deebo-like play.
With the 49ers leading 7-6 and facing a third-and-3 situation, Jimmy Garoppolo threw to Samuel on the left side. Derion Kendrick of the Los Angeles Rams attempted an interception but failed. Then Samuel forced Rams safety Taylor Rapp to miss, before cutting to the center of the field and juking out CB Grant Haley.
Meanwhile, the 49ers had downfield blocks—George Kittle, Kyle Juszczyk, and Jauan Jennings—leaving Samuel one-on-one with Rams All-Pro safety Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey had a free shot on Samuel, but the star CB just slowed Samuel down a little. Then Samuel took one more block from Brandon Aiyuk and raced 57 yards for a score. It was his first touchdown reception of the season.
49ers fans want to see more magic like this from Samuel, and if he continues to connect with Garoppolo, more magic might indeed come.
1. 49ers defense held up really well
Again, the 49ers’ defense gave the offense plenty of time to build a lead on Monday night.
The 49ers’ defense failed to seal the door in both of their losses. On Monday night, however, safety Talanoa Hufanga slammed the door shut.
To illustrate, Hufanga precisely read a Matthew Stafford ball intended for Cooper Kupp, leaped the route, intercepted the pass, and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.
TZZ UP FOR BIG HUF
First-career pick 6 for @TalanoaHufanga!
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 4, 2022
The play extended the 49ers’ advantage to 24-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
Stafford ended the game with 30 completions on 46 attempts for 241 yards, one interception, and no touchdown passes. The 49ers defense held him to just a passing rating of 69.2.
Meanwhile, Nick Bosa, Samson Ebukam, Charles Omenihu, Deommodore Lenoir, and Hassan Ridgeway all contributed to a total of seven sacks for the 49ers.
San Francisco restricted the high-powered Rams attack to only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes, leading 14-6. Take note that, throughout their first four games, the 49ers have not allowed a TD in the first half.
In the first half of this encounter, the Rams had only 102 yards of total offense. The Rams’ two scoring drives were each 54 yards long. Los Angeles’ other three possessions combined for a total of minus-6 yards. What do all those metrics say? They manifest a stout 49ers defense that can be a difference-maker for the rest of the season.