The 49ers pummeled the Rams 35-11 on Thursday night. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams:
Defensive Line: A+
This was a strong outing by Glenn Dorsey, Ray McDonald and Justin Smith. People are going to look back on this game and see how the 49ers were able to close any holds thanks to the defensive line. Justin Smith also brought good pressure on Sam Bradford throughout the game.
This was one of the best games for NaVorro Bowman being the leader on defense. He was all over the field in stopping the run, deflecting passes and even sacking the quarterback. The fourth year linebacker took the roles of Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith combined by showing his versatility in coverage and tackling. Ahmad Brooks had a respectable game while Michael Wilhoite did a good job at filling in for Willis in stopping the run. Corey Lemonier showed why he was a pass rushing specialist by bringing consistent pressure on Bradford.
Bradford was initially converting third downs, but the pass defense stepped it up once the Rams were forced to throw the ball. Carlos Rogers was barely targeted while Tarell Brown had a great game despite a slow beginning. Tramaine Brock also made a play on the ball which led to an interception. Like Brown, Brock had a shaky first quarter but ended up covering well as the nickel corner in place of Nnamdi Asomugha.
Eric Reid and Donte Whitner were both adequate, not being tested by the deep throws. There was one mistake in the first quarter where Brock and Reid had miscommunication leaving a wide open Austin Pettis, but fortunately for the 49ers, the ball was overthrown thanks to some pressure on the Bradford.
Special Teams: A
Andy Lee averaged 54.7 yards per punt while the punt and kick coverage units Benny Cunningham an Tavon Austin look silly. Austin was caught running horizontally for more than 40 yards on two different plays, but ended up gaining only a few yards each time. The only negative was Phil Dawson missing a 53-yard attempt in the first quarter, but it was forgiving.
The front seven controlled this game from the beginning which eventually gave the offense life. Early on, the Rams were throwing the ball successfully, but couldn't run the ball which made them one dimensional. With the 49ers defense standing firm throughout the first half, the offense woke up and came to life which kept all momentum on their side.
Holding the Rams to 16 rushing yards prevented any rhythm for their offense and Sam Bradford was consistently under pressure during the game. In a game where Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and Nnamdi Asomugha were out, the reserves picked up where the team left off and shut down the opposition.
For grades on the offense, click here.