SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' offense answered the call Monday night and dominated in their 31-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
It started on the first offensive drive for Jimmy Garoppolo and Co., putting together an 18-play, 93-yard drive that took more than 11 minutes off the clock. Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel and even the quarterback took turns carrying the rock.
“I don’t want to say it took their soul away, but it definitely did something,” Garoppolo said. “It got us into a rhythm for sure. I mean 18 plays, I think it was, that’s the way we want to do it. I don't know how many runs we had on that, but just running the ball, converting on third downs and scoring at the end.”
Prior to the game, Kyle Shanahan challenged the 49ers to put 40 runs on the board and they went above and beyond with 44 carries for 156 yards in their dominant performance. George Kittle, who is known for enjoying his role as a run blocker, was ready for the challenge.
“Oh, our whole offense like basically stood up and cheered,” Kittle said of Shanahan’s challenge. “When you can play a physical game like that, you can dominate, and the only reason you can run the ball 44 times is you have to control the ball.
“That is what we were able to do all night. Coach Shanahan put us in positions to make plays. I thought everybody played at a high level. Offensive line, wide receivers, tight ends, fullbacks, running backs, Jimmy. I think we all played really well.”
It was en entire team effort. Garoppolo finished the night completing 15 of his 19 attempts for 182 yards and two touchdowns and had a 141.7 passer rating. Most of all, though, was the 49ers' ground game dominating the line of scrimmage. The Rams were only on the field for eight plays in the entire first quarter.
Trent Williams believes that the offense set the tone for the game, leaving a mark on the Rams' defense that didn’t have chance to catch their breath.
“I’m sure it did,” Williams said. “It leaves a mark on us, too. It is pretty tough to go out there and play 18 plays straight, especially when majority of them are running plays. If you want to establish any type of dominance, especially in the trenches, I think it is necessary. You got to run the ball. You got to make your opponents respect that.”
Having a dominant run game is not new for the 49ers. It's what carried them to their appearance in Super Bowl LIV. It seems everyone in the building knew that this type of performance was possible, it just took them until Week 10 for it to come to fruition.