The San Francisco 49ers’ magical 2021 season is finally over.

After starting a meager 3-5, the 49ers finished the season with an impressive 10-2 (including the playoffs) before their loss to the division rivals Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, beating players like the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys. , Green Bay Packers and those same Rams (twice) along the way.

But, once again, the 49ers are going home empty-handed, just like they did against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl two years ago.

Coincidentally, the 49ers held a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter and failed to capitalize on mere opportunities, which was the same scenario in this Chiefs game.

For the final time this season, let’s get into the player ratings for the 49ers-Rams NFC Championship showdown.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: D+

A missed shot early for George Kittle. A missed in depth read to Brandon Aiyuk. A near-interception. Then, a real interception.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s mistakes were on full display against the Rams as the veteran quarterback was out early on, knocking down George Kittle on the third play of the game for what could have been a touchdown down the middle, giving the 49ers . a first major advance.

But, for the first time, that loss looked like a team loss, as the offensive line failed to protect Garoppolo for periods of the game, diminishing play-action value and limiting Kyle Shanahan’s offense (more on this later).

Garoppolo certainly had some big throws, including his 31-yard completion to Brandon Aiyuk off the numbers, and a 16-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle that gave the 49ers a 17-7 lead.

But, Garoppolo’s limitations ultimately hurt the 49ers in this game, as the Rams brought up to nine players into the box, often providing safety to help linebackers inside the numbers, challenging San Francisco to beat them. in the passing game. Credit to Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Garoppolo didn’t play well, but doesn’t deserve the full blame with this team’s overall offensive struggles on Sunday.

Running backs: C+

The 49ers ran the ball 20 times for just 50 yards as a team on Sunday.

Deebo Samuel had seven carries for 26 yards, while Elijah Mitchell rushed 11 times for 20 yards. Mitchell also had three catches for 50 yards, which I’ll include in this section.

For most of the game, the Rams remained focused on the run, overstretching and overpowering San Francisco’s offensive line to enter the backfield on several occasions.

Now, is it entirely their fault? No. Kyle Shanahan stuck to the inside zone strategy too often, which didn’t work with Aaron Donald and Co. on the opposing side.

Additionally, the strategy seemed too predictable, as the 49ers were constantly running first down, setting up 2nd and long, which limited their offensive abilities as the Los Angeles defense constantly pressured.

Mixing game-action, or having a balance of passing and running, rather than an abundance of one, on a certain drive, could have opened up the game for both sides.

With the lack of production, running backs get a C+ overall but, again, that wasn’t entirely on them. It was a team loss.

Wide Receivers: B+

Wide receivers were the best position group for the 49ers offensively, as Deebo Samuel caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, and Brandon Aiyuk had four catches for 69 yards.

Samuel created opportunities for that offense, going 44 yards for a touchdown on a screen pass, while taking a beating against the physicality the Rams brought.

Aiyuk has remained a consistent second option as he has hit the 60-yard mark for the fourth time in his last five games, working against Darious Williams on the outside.

As usual, the 49ers put the ball in the hands of their point guards, allowing them to work in space, which essentially kept them in this game offensively.

While Jauan Jennings didn’t have a strong receiving performance with just two catches for eight yards, the receiving group gets a B+ overall.

Offensive line: C-

The offensive line was a two-half story.

During the first half of the game they were able to provide Jimmy Garoppolo with clean pockets to make plays with his arm, but as the game progressed the offensive line – especially the right side – deteriorated and San Francisco could not take steam. offensively.

Also, the offensive line didn’t execute their blocks in the running game, as the Rams defensive line overpowered them en route to a measly 2.5 total yards per carry.

Left tackle Trent Williams entered the game with a sprained ankle and was notably limping after some plays, which may explain why the 49ers ran inside for the most part, and were unsuccessful.

A force for most of the season, the 49ers offensive line couldn’t consistently resist back and forth on Sunday, which is why they got a C- from me.

Defensive line: B

The defensive line had a pretty solid overall performance against the Rams, but was carried mainly by two pass throwers: Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam.

Overall, the defense had 16 total pressures and three sacks, per PFF. To put that into perspective, the Carolina Panthers were the most pressured team in the NFL this season, according to Pro Football Reference, and they allowed just 11.35 pressures per game.

Bosa led the team with six presses, also adding two sacks, while Ebukam finished second with four presses and a sack of his own.

Also, while the Rams had some success in football, they struggled to do so consistently, averaging just 2.4 yards per carry on 29 attempts.

Possibly the strongest unit on the entire team, the defensive line did its job Sunday against a top-ten pass protection unit, but ultimately succumbed to the talents of Matthew Stafford at quarterback. , who managed to get the ball out quickly.

Linebackers: B-

Fred Warner finished second on the team with ten tackles on Sunday, adding two tackles for loss and a pass defended, showing his versatility to stop the run and get deployed in coverage.

Linebackers were a key force against the run, where the Rams struggled for the majority of the game, closing the outside gaps and leaning on each other to play team football.

Azeez Al-Shaair and Dre Greenlaw split and weren’t as effective as they could have been, with Al-Shaair registering five tackles and Greenlaw three tackles and pressing.

Greenlaw was also flagged for a 15-yard penalty, lowering the rating to a B-.

Defensive backs: D

Defensive backs struggled throughout the game against the Rams, from Cooper Kupp’s 11-catch, 142-yard performance to Jaquiski Tartt’s dropped interception that potentially changed the outlook for the game.

The 49ers defense just couldn’t get off the field on third down, as Matthew Stafford and Co. converted 11/18 third downs, while walking the field on multiple drives with their powerful passing offense.

Without some uncapitalized opportunities, including a red-zone interception, or Ben Skowronek dropping a wide-opening touchdown pass, Stafford’s offensive numbers could have been even better.

The same story could be told for the 49ers, but the truth is that Stafford threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns while quickly distributing the ball to a number of receivers.

Not only did the 49ers have an interception dropped by Tartt, but Jimmie Ward committed a 15-yard penalty on the very next play on a hit to Odell Beckham Jr. who put the Rams close to the shooting range, where they eventually got three points.

It wasn’t a great performance from a defensive back this game, which is why it was a team loss.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and, equally important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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