The San Francisco 49ers bounced back from two straight losses to dominate the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, 35-11. The 49ers' offense clicked throughout the night after looking out of sync against the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts in consecutive weeks. Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore led the way. Kaepernick finished with 167 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Gore rushed for 153 yards and another score.
The Rams offense, meanwhile, sputtered throughout the night. Until their mid-fourth quarter touchdown drive, they did not have a drive longer than 46 yards on the night. Things went downhill after the start of the second half. The Rams had 26 total yards of offense after intermission before finally finding the end zone to make the score a more respectable 28-11 after the 2-point conversion. Bradford found Lance Kendricks on a pretty 6-yard strike for the touchdown, but had struggled mightily up to that point.
For the game, Bradford was 19-for-41 passing for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception. After throwing a second quarter interception to Donte Whitner, he complete just one of his next 11 passes stretching into the fourth quarter. Along the way, he took five sacks before finally mounting a short scoring drive late in the game, when a Kaepernick fumble set the Rams up on the 49ers' 24-yard line, gifting the Rams great field position.
The biggest reason for the sharp contrast in offensive success of both teams may have been the running games.
Gore's big night came almost entirely in the first half. He found the end zone on 34-yard burst through the right side of the line near the end of the first half. Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter took over from there. Dixon made good on two carries from the 3-yard line to finally punch the ball into the end zone after a Bradford sack and fumble set the 49ers up near the goal line. Hunter found the end zone two drives later on a 29-yard run around the right end of the offensive line.
The Rams, meanwhile, managed 18 yards rushing on the night. With Isaiah Pead ruled inactive at game time, Daryl Richardson handled the load on the ground. He was stymied, however, with just 16 yards on 12 carries for 1.3 yards per carry. Curiously, the Rams did not try to get rookie Tavon Austin involved to spark the running game. Austin was targeted eight times in the passing game, but managed just two reception for eight yards.
Fantasy studs and duds
Kaepernick finally rewarded fantasy owners after two straight dud performance, passing for 167 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He managed just 11 yards rushing, however. Anquan Boldin had five receptions for 90 yards and 20-yard touchdown. Frank Gore had 153 yards rushing and score.
The Rams didn't have any fantasy stars on the night. Bradford was mediocre, passing for 202 yards, one touchdown and a pick. His favorite receiver was Austin Pettis, who had five receptions for 59 yards.
Unfortunately, neither team was able to escape the game without notable injuries.
For the 49ers, OL Joe Staley leaving late in the fourth quarter with an apparent leg injury could be key. However, he reportedly was able to able to walk out of the X-ray room without a limp. The 49ers also lost rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton in the first quarter with a foot injury suffered on what seemed like a routine catch.
For the Rams, rookie safety T.J. McDonald went down with a non-contact leg injury in the third quarter. The injury was later determined to be a leg fracture. McDonald had to be carted off the field. Shortly before McDonald's injury, defensive end Eugene Sims was shaken up.
Did they cover?
The 49ers were favored by 3.5-4 points at kickoff depending on the sports book, according to Odds Shark. Either way, the 49ers cover comfortably.
San Francisco vs. Houston, Sun. Oct. 6, 8:30 p.m. ET
St. Louis vs. Jacksonville, Sun. Oct. 6, 1 p.m. ET