NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 18 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 27, Los Angeles Rams 24

Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (4) celebrates with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers erased a 17-point deficit against the Los Angeles Rams to win, 27-24, in dramatic fashion in overtime and secure a postseason berth. 

A three-headed trio of Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings led the way on offense for San Francisco with nearly 300 combined receiving yards, and the 49ers’ defensive line was able to get home with consistent pressure against Matthew Stafford

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San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo’s 8.8-yard average depth of target was over a yard higher than his season average of 7.7 yards coming into the week. Both of Garoppolo’s interceptions came on throws targeted 10-plus yards downfield, but he also made several big, downfield passes late in the game. Garoppolo went 6-of-12 for 154 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on those passes.

Jimmy G’s passing grade was over 10 points higher in the second half and overtime than it was in the first half, pending review.

Running back

Elijah Mitchell was once again the leader in San Francisco’s backfield, receiving 21 of the 22 running back carries in the game. He manufactured a lot of his own yardage in this one. Sixty-eight of Mitchell’s 85 rushing yards came after contact, and he was credited with seven missed tackles forced on the ground. 

Wide Receivers/Tight ends

Aiyuk led the way for this group in the passing game. His 35 routes paced the team, and he caught six of his seven targets in the game for 107 yards. Samuel (95 receiving yards) and Jennings (94 receiving yards and two touchdowns) both came up big in the second half and overtime, as well. 

Samuel added a 24-yard touchdown pass on a trick play to go along with 45 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries. 

Offensive Line

Laken Tomlinson will likely be San Francisco’s highest-graded run-blocker along the offensive line when grades are finalized Monday. He was also credited with just one pressure allowed in pass protection, pending review. 

It was a solid all-around effort for a unit missing its best player (Trent Williams).

Defensive Line

There were plenty of pressures to go around for San Francisco’s defensive line. Arik Armstead, Samson Ebukam, Nick Bosa, Arden Key, Kentavius Street and D.J. Jones were all credited with at least three quarterback pressures, pending review. Armstead led the group with eight. 

Bosa also contributed two tackles for loss or no gain against the run.

Linebackers

Dre Greenlaw played a strong game against the Rams. He was one of San Francisco’s highest-graded run defenders on PFF’s initial analysis and contributed a team-high 10 total tackles. 

Secondary

Dontae Johnson was in Stafford’s crosshairs early in this game. PFF’s first-run analysis charged Johnson with allowing completions on all five of his targets for a game-high 74 yards. 

Emmanuel Moseley fared significantly better outside of a critical pass interference call late in overtime. Pending review, Moseley was targeted three times and allowed just two catches for 18 yards to go along with an interception. 

Ambry Thomas came down with the game-sealing interception for San Francisco.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarterback

Stafford was under constant pressure from San Francisco’s defensive line, and he handled it relatively well. Stafford took five sacks in the game, but he completed nine of his 15 pressured attempts in the game for 112 yards with a touchdown and an interception, pending review.

His two interceptions came on throws of 20-plus yards downfield, but Stafford completed his other three such attempts for 100 yards. 

Running back

The Rams weren’t able to get anything going on the ground. That includes both Sony Michel (43 rushing yards on 21 carries) and Cam Akers (three rushing yards on five carries) in his first game returning from an Achilles injury. They totaled five rushing yards before contact in the game, according to PFF’s first-run analysis.

Wide Receivers/Tight ends

The 49ers had trouble slowing down Cooper Kupp, as has been the case for most NFL defenses this season. He caught seven of eight targets for 118 yards and a touchdown, averaging nearly 17 yards per reception. 

Tyler Higbee came up big in the red zone, turning his two targets inside the 20-yard line into two touchdowns.

Offensive Line

This was one of the worst performances of the season for a Rams offensive line that has performed well this season. Stafford was pressured on 20 of his 37 dropbacks in the game, and Los Angeles wasn't able to get anything going on the ground. 

Austin Corbett and David Edwards were both charged with a game-high five-plus pressures allowed, per PFF’s first-run analysis of the game.

Defensive Line

Aaron Donald was held in check by his standards, albeit with plenty of attention from San Francisco’s offensive line. He recorded just two pressures on 34 pass-rushing snaps, pending review.

Linebackers

Troy Reeder and Travin Howard both graded out poorly against the run after PFF’s initial analysis. Reeder did record three pressures (one sack, one hit and one hurry), and the two allowed just 16 passing yards into their coverage combined — an impressive feat against a Kyle Shanahan-led offense. 

Secondary

Ramsey was charged with 88 passing yards allowed into his coverage on PFF’s first-run analysis of the game (a season-high if it holds), but he delivered one of the biggest plays of the game with his second-half interception of Garoppolo. 

Dont'e Deayon (four receptions allowed on five targets for 88 yards) was the weakest link in Los Angeles’ secondary.

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