The Rams dominated the division rival San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon, winning 39-10 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Here’s what we learned from the blowout victory:
Aaron Donald was correct about sacks coming in bunches
The reigning NFL defensive player of the year did not fret when quick-trigger quarterbacks denied him sacks in the first few games. No sweat, he said. It would happen.
He was correct.
Donald recorded a career-best four sacks and had six tackles for losses. He also forced and recovered a fumble. Donald had more than half of the Rams’ seven sacks.
All in a day’s work for the $135-million man.
Linebacker Cory Littleton is a revelation
He was an undrafted free agent. He remains a special teams standout.
Now, in his first season as a middle linebacker, Littleton is playing like one of the best players at his position in the NFL.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said last week that no linebacker in the league was playing better in coverage than Littleton.
Hard to argue after watching Littleton break up passes at Denver, and watching him close on screen passes against the 49ers.
He also had two sacks. And blocked a punt that resulted in a safety.
Troy Hill can bounce back
A week after giving up several big plays against the Broncos, Hill intercepted a pass that helped set up a scoring drive.
Hill had spoken during the week about the need to put the Broncos game behind. He said after Sunday’s game that he had studied his mistakes against the Broncos and played with a different attitude against the 49ers.
It was a redemptive performance for Hill.
Now, here come Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes in the next four games.
Malcolm Brown has developed into a solid backup for Todd Gurley
Brown has been effective in spots throughout the season, but Sunday took advantage of a more prominent role during one scoring drive.
He carried four times for 24 yards and also caught a short pass to help set up Jared Goff’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.
Brown finished with a team-best 65 yards in 13 carries.
“Greg the Leg” returned in fine form
Kicker Greg Zuerlein, sidelined for five games because of a groin injury, kicked three field goals.
Zuerlein converted kicks from 35, 37 and 33 yards, and made all four extra-point kicks.
Seven of Zuerlein’s eight kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, but he said he could be better.
He has made seven of eight field-goal attempts this season, including one from 55 yards in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
Nick Williams is a quick study
The Rams signed Williams last week to provide depth while Cooper Kupp recovers from a knee injury.
Williams caught two passes for 17 yards, including one for a first down during a scoring drive.
Coach Sean McVay said the Rams pursued Williams because he had experience in the system. He played for the Washington Redskins when McVay was tight ends coach, and also had stints under Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFluer.