The LA Rams continue to advance in the NFL Playoffs. All the while, the NFL Playoffs continue to be about running the ball and stopping the run. So when one of the best NFL analysts in the business, Brian Baldinger, breaks down the rushing attack of the San Francisco 49ers, it’s time to sit up straight in your seat and listen.
The LA Rams will face one of the most sophisticated run-blocking offensive lines, but they are augmented with the run blocking of both TE Geoge Kittle and FB Kyle Juszczyk. As Baldy shows in this video anthology, the 49ers’ offense installs a new blocking scheme for each game for each new game.
The Rams defense is not the only one that bites on the motions from the 49ers. But the series of motions, misdirections, and reverses are designed to bait defenders to take themselves right out of the plays. Over the course of the game, the 49ers’ run blocking scheme is designed to build upon the success of the defense earlier in the game, and even if a defense successfully diagnoses where the play is going originally, the same look may take the football in a completely different direction.
The strength of their offense is in disguising where they are running the football.
Stop the magic show? Don’t let it onstage
There is a lot happening in each play. While this series of videos detailing the 49ers running attack is comprehensive, it’s a wide-ranging display of how the 49ers have attacked defenses in the past. Even as the LA Rams have used a wide range of routes and formations to exploit NFL secondaries, the San Francisco 49ers have been very effective at doing so with their running game.
The 49ers offense uses the running game, not to ease the workload on QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but as the main course of an offense that plays old-school ball control offense, smothering defense, and a game management type of offense. The 49ers’ ground game ran for 22 touchdowns (sixth-best in the NFL in 2021), for 127.4 yards per game (seventh-best in NFL in 2021), and rushed 499 times in 2021 (sixth-most in the NFL in 2021).
The best way to stop an NFL running game is to make it obsolete. It takes huge chunks of time off the game clock, as the team moves the ball down the field. So if they face an opponent that scores quickly (like the LA Rams did in the first half of the Week 18 game) or a defense that stops their advance and forces a punt, the game can get out of hand for the 49ers rather quickly.
Yes, the 49ers can run the ball effectively if given a chance. But it will not be all on the Rams defense to stop them. If the Rams get a sizeable lead, they can force the 49ers to pass the football. The Packers and mother nature held the 49ers’ ground game to just 106 yards rushing. Let’s see if the Rams defense can do a better job than that.