Coming into Monday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, there was a considerable amount of concern about the 49ers.
Their offense was struggling mightily, and after an ugly 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos the previous week, some were even speculating on whether head coach Kyle Shanahan could or should be on the hot seat.
One of the funny things about the NFL is how quickly a team’s fortunes and perception can drastically switch with just one win.
That win came against the Rams, and it wasn’t exactly a squeaker where one or two plays decided the contest.
No, the 49ers dominated the Rams, winning by a score of 24-9 and controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football very well.
San Francisco is now 2-2 and tied with Los Angeles and the other two teams in the NFC West, and suddenly, it is looking like a potential Super Bowl contender again.
Things can change quickly in the NFL.
The 49ers’ Defense Stepped Up Against The World Champions
While San Francisco’s offense looked very solid for a change, it was its defense that made its mark and won this contest for it.
The Rams, who looked very potent offensively last season, were held without a touchdown on Monday, and they had lots of trouble making any big yardage plays.
L.A. quarterback Matthew Stafford was harrassed into one interception and seven sacks, and overall he posted a very dismal 71.0 passer rating.
With just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rams were down 17-9 and had a first down on the 49ers’ 44-yard line.
Instead of marching further downfield to perhaps tie the game, second-year safety Talanoa Hufunga intercepted a pass intended for Kupp and ran it all the way back for the touchdown that sealed the win for the Niners.
Hufanga read this play like a book 📕 pic.twitter.com/zIGGpfWPes
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 4, 2022
They came into this contest tops in points allowed, yards allowed, first downs allowed and passing touchdowns allowed.
Hufunga may be developing into a star, while middle linebacker Fred Warner continues his ascent as one of the league’s best at his position.
That's our guy @fred_warner
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) October 4, 2022
As the old saying goes, defense wins championships.
Deebo Samuel Was Deebo Samuel
Through the first three games of the season, Samuel, who was named to the All-Pro First Team last year, had a relatively quiet 131 receiving yards and 111 yards on the ground.
But offensively, he was the unquestioned star for the 49ers on Monday, as he tallied 115 yards and a touchdown in the air.
His biggest play came inside of three minutes left in the second quarter when he made a catch in traffic and broke at least one tackle while taking the ball 57 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
Greg Papa's radio call of the Deebo Samuel touchdown 📻 pic.twitter.com/qVUSVkrX0o
— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) October 4, 2022
It was his best play so far this season, and perhaps it’s the one that will take the proverbial cap off his overall game and be a prelude to some more big games in the near future.NEXT: The One Definite Bright Spot For The 49ers This Season