St. Louis Rams Monday Report Card

The St. Louis Rams improved to 4-3 with a 27-6 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Here's how we graded the Rams' victory...

The St. Louis Rams improved to 4-3 with a 27-6 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Edward Jones Dome. 

Here’s our Monday Rams Report Card… 

RUN OFFENSE: The Rams continued to gobble up yards on the ground with a season-high 197 yards rushing against the 49ers, including 133 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries from rookie sensation Todd Gurley. In the four games since Gurley took over as the starter, the Rams are averaging 177.5 yards rushing per game. Gurley is averaging 141.5 yards rushing in his four starts and he’s now fifth in the league in rushing yards (575) despite only playing in five games. The Rams were able to get Tavon Austin and Tre Mason involved in the run game on Sunday, in part because of a comfortable second-half lead, and keep Gurley’s carries at a reasonable number. Austin gained 21 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Mason had 46 yards on 15 carries in his most extensive action this season. 

GRADE: A

PASSING OFFENSE: The Rams were able to achieve some balance offensively on Sunday with 197 yards rushing and 191 yards passing, but the passing game struggled to get much going against the 49ers. Nick Foles' final numbers — 14 of 23 for 191 yards, with one touchdown, and a QB rating of  101.9 — looked better than they were because they were boosted by a quick screen pass to Austin that the wide receiver took 66 yards for a score. The Rams haven’t helped their quarterback at times this season with drops, but Foles still needs to do a better job with his decision-making on where to go with the ball. St. Louis converted just one of 12 attempts on third down after converting one of nine on third down a week earlier in the win over the Cleveland Browns. Foles does deserve credit for not turning the ball over for the second straight game. He’s thrown interceptions in just two of seven games and has gone without a turnover in four games this season — St. Louis is 3-1 in those four games. 

GRADE: C

RUN DEFENSE: The Rams went into this game focused on limiting the injury-depleted 49ers in the run game and were able to do that, holding them to just 38 yards on 21 carries. San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick gained 28 of those yards on six attempts, while running backs Mike Davis and Kendall Gaskins gained 10 yards on 15 runs. The 38 yards rushing was a season low for the 49ers, who were without starter Carlos Hyde and then lost Reggie Bush to a knee injury. The 38 yards rushing was the lowest single-game total for the 49ers since the 2009 season. The Rams are now allowing just 132 yards rushing per game for the season but have permitted just 76.2 rushing yards per contest over their last five games. 

GRADE: A+

PASS DEFENSE: St. Louis was able to make the 49ers offense one-dimensional on Sunday by taking away the run game and San Francisco wasn’t able to get much going in the passing game, either. Kaepernick completed 20 of 41 passes for 162 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, and a QB rating of 59.2. The Rams sacked him three times. The 151 passing yards allowed by the Rams was also a season low. They are now allowing an average of 230 yards passing per game. 

GRADE: A 

SPECIAL TEAMS: The lack of success on third downs meant another busy day for Rams punter Johnny Hekker, but the NFC special teams player of the month for October continued his strong play. He booted eight punts, averaging 54.5 yards with a net average of 49.8. He had a long of 60 and dropped four inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Greg Zuerlein had another up and down game, kicking a 38-yard field goal but also getting a 40-yard attempt blocked. 

GRADE: B

OVERALL: The Rams are 4-3 for the first time since 2006 and next face a difficult test on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. St. Louis did what it needed to against San Francisco to earn its second straight victory, but the Rams certainly didn’t play their best football. The defense was very good, about as good as it could have been, but the offense was lacking despite the big days from Gurley and Austin. Jeff Fisher's club needs more consistency from Foles and the passing game if they are going to make a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season. 

GRADE: A-

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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