The Los Angeles Rams came into Sunday night's divisional showdown with the San Francisco 49ers just behind the first-place Seattle Seahawks. The only problem: They forgot to bring the good Jared Goff with them. While the quarterback helped rally the Rams late in Week 6's prime-time contest, his wildly inconsistent start buried L.A. early on, whereas Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners had little trouble moving up and down the field with their play-action attack. In a battle of well-regarded coaches, Kyle Shanahan had the upper hand over Sean McVay, with the 49ers hanging on for a 24-16 victory to even things up in the West.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday night's 49ers win.
It was a wild Week 6 Sunday and there's a lot to go over. John Breech and Ryan Wilson join host Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break everything down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Why the 49ers won
Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo were back on their "A" game. Things slowed down a bit in the second half, but including and beyond their 21-point first half, San Francisco just looked so at ease running its offense. Looking far more comfortable (and healthy) than in Week 5, Garoppolo did a tremendous job spreading the ball around, hitting nine different receivers on the night, and he wasn't shy about pushing the ball downfield either.
Had Raheem Mostert not been forced out with an injury, he may have eclipsed 100 scrimmage yards as part of the attack. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel helped pick up the slack, as did JaMycal Hasty down the stretch. Defensively, the Niners weren't necessarily doing anything special, but they did capitalize on some wildly erratic throws from Jared Goff to ice the divisional victory away.
Why the Rams lost
The concerning Jared Goff of old reared his ugly head. There's no other way to spin it. Goff came into Sunday night's matchup having strung together a really pretty four-game stretch, but he was off the mark nearly from start to finish against a Niners defense missing several key starters. The QB has tended, historically, to fold under pressure a little more than others, but the 49ers weren't even dominating the pocket as much as you'd think. A deep TD to Josh Reynolds raised some eyebrows late in the game, but he was otherwise flat-out inaccurate, erasing big-play opportunities for targets like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
Darrell Henderson certainly wasn't to blame, exploding on just about every one of his carries, but he could only do so much. On defense, L.A. did a fine job plugging holes against the Niners' strong rushing attack but had no answer for George Kittle and lost ground on deep passes.
If you're looking for the real turning point, it honestly might've been on the Rams' second drive of the day, when L.A. went three-and-out to pave the way for an early 14-0 hole. But a more pressing turn of events came later in the game with the Rams down 12.
Riding a defensive pass-interference call and a couple of nice Henderson runs all the way to the Niners' 2-yard line, the Rams were in prime position to cut into San Francisco's lead and really make Sunday night's matchup a competition. But then Goff misfired on a short throw to Josh Reynolds, sending the ball right into the hands of Jason Verrett. That pick didn't just wipe out L.A.'s chance at points; it shifted all the momentum back to the Niners.
Play of the game
Give this one to Garoppolo and Kittle, who connected on a fourth-and-2 to put an early dagger into the Rams defense. The pass is beautiful, a bullet right across the middle. The catch-and-run is a friendly reminder that Kittle is a wide receiver in a tight end's body:
The 49ers (3-3) will hit the road for Week 7 now that they've reached .500 and are scheduled to take on the New England Patriots on Oct. 25. The Rams (4-2), meanwhile, will have an extra day of rest to prepare for their Monday night battle with the Chicago Bears, who are fresh off a victory over the Carolina Panthers to improve to 5-1.