The St. Louis Rams keep shooting themselves in the foot by giving up big plays at ill-opportune moments, allowing the San Francisco 49ers to shake off their slow start and come away with a 31-17 win on Monday Night Football. Colin Kaepernick put together his best performance of the season.
The Rams started out hot with two touchdowns in the first quarter while the 49ers got nothing going for them. Kaepernick did finish with big numbers, but for a while there it looked like another game to help feed the hate and criticism for one of the more polarizing quarterbacks in the NFL. He finished the game throwing three touchdown passes, completing 22-of-36 passes for 343 yards. He focused on getting the ball to Anquan Boldin with 7 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown, but his one big pass to Brandon Lloyd made the most difference.
Lloyd caught an 80-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds to go in the first half, and that moment changed the entire game. Up until that point the 49ers weren’t too successful in moving forward except for one field goal by Phil Dawson. Their defense did finally start breaching through the Rams’ offensive line, which turned into a very rough night for Austin Davis in the second half, as St. Louis were able to score just three points.
Davis was sacked five times and put under duress on 20 dropbacks, finishing the game with 50% completions on 42 attempts, throwing one touchdown and one interception. Their defensive line before the season was considered as one of the best in the NFL, but they’re stuck on just one sack so far this season, doing a very bad job in putting Kaepernick under pressure and forcing him into bad throws despite the 49ers’ struggles with their offensive line.
There was no need for Kaepernick running around and scrambling to make plays as his defense allowed just three points in the second half. The trend from the beginning of the season has changed or even ended. The 49ers were giving up too many points in the second half and scoring just 3 through the first three games of the season. They’ve given up a total of 10 points in the second half of games while beating the Chiefs, Eagles and Rams.
Kaepernick threw his sixth touchdown pass of the season while throwing from outside the pocket (60% of his overall). The Rams couldn’t get to him, but allowing Kaepernick to move outside and throw when everything around him is falling apart is usually the more dangerous way to go about it. He’s a high risk player, but also quite the high reward considering how successful the 49ers have been since Kaepernick has become the starting quarterback.
Obviously, there’s also the matter of a defense and a running game carrying him to a certain point, but this performance against the struggling Rams (1-4) was another step in the long road he’s been through, attempting to become a much better and consistent passer than people give him credit for.