With all the critics that were discounting the 49ers after a 1-2 start, San Francisco sent a message on Thursday night with a 35-11 win over the Rams. The game that opened week 4 of the NFL season was highly anticipated as a showdown between two solid NFC teams that haven’t had the best of starts. But after Thursday night’s game we have concluded that either the 49ers have shrugged off their losing ways, or that St. Louis still isn’t as good as some assumed when the season first started. Either way, its all smiles for San Fran fans that can see their team remain in contention in the NFC West.
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Aside from the lopsided scoreboard, the highlight of this game was Frank Gore. Gore rushed for 153-yards on 20 carries. But that total was much heavier in the first half as he went into halftime with over 100-yards and a touchdown. Gore has had a slow start to the season and this was considered a pivotal detriment to the San Francisco offense. Seeing him getting things going again is a bright light for the 49ers and hopefully his productivity will continue.
Anquan Boldin also had a productive game, going for 90-yards on 5 catches, including a touchdown. Another touchdown went to Vernon Davis, who, like Gore, has had a tough start to the season and this touchdown could be what he needed to get the ball rolling.
Of course the one throwing to these receivers was Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been criticized in previous weeks for his lackluster performances. On Thursday night, however, Kaepernick looked solid and completed 15-of-23 passes for 167-yards. Even better, he looked great in the red zone and completed touchdowns when they were needed, instead of going for field goals like in previous weeks. Being the quarterback, Kaepernick is going get spotlight when the 49ers do well, but he’ll also get the finger pointed directly at him during loses. But with performances like he had on Thursday night, he can expect less hostility from 49ers fans that may be wondering if Alex Smith may have been the better option to stick with. If he can keep it up, and keep the 49ers winning, things should be all smooth in San Fran.
The Rams looked bad on Thursday night. Despite the 11-points they put up, it’s hard to say that the game was even that close. Instead, they were outmatched at every point in the game and none of the players seemed to string together anything of quality.
We noted last week that we were looking forward to Sam Bradford having a good game, or at least that he would need a big game if St. Louis expected to win. But instead, he went 19-of-41 for only 202 yards and had an interception and a lost fumble to add to his dreary stats. On top of that, he missed a bunch of open receivers multiple times throughout the game, especially Austin Pettis in the end zone during the first quarter that was a sign of things to come throughout the rest of the game.
If you are a Rams fan, it’s hard to say what this game may mean for the rest of the season. A few weeks ago, we had thought that things would be ironed out by this point in the season and we’d have a good idea of what to expect from certain teams throughout the remainder of the year. If the 49ers keep performing as a whole like they did tonight (yes, Gore and Davis, we are talking to you), then they should keep rolling and this loss deserves validation by the under matched Rams. But if the 49ers cannot keep to their winning ways, then it proves even worse for a Rams team that was hoping to turn things around by this point in the season.
Next week the 49ers will face a good Texans team who has looked impressive despite a loss to Baltimore last weekend. While the Rams will face Jacksonville, in what might be an interesting match between struggling teams.
All may not be right in the 49ers locker room, but at least they look to be on the right path with this win in week 4.