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Defense And Deebo Samuel Drag The 49ers To Revenge Win Over Rams As The Entire NFC West Moves To 2-2

Anyone else weirded out by this NFL season so far? The San Francisco 49ers are atop the NFC West division and avenged their conference championship loss to the Rams on Monday night, but damn, the NFC as a conference is even uglier than expected. 

You know what else is weird? Reigning Super Bowl-winning coach Sean McVay seems so fixated on making Cooper Kupp the most-targeted, prolific wide receiver in NFL history that 95% of the time, he seems to forget about anything else that could make the Rams, you know, actually good. He keeps putting Matthew Stafford in empty sets, with a shitty offensive line. On Monday it was either staring down Kupp (19 targets), or panic-throwing to Tyler Higbee (14 targets) to avoid getting hit even more on a night where Stafford was sacked seven times.

And guess what? That STRATEGERY came back to bite McVay, Stafford and the Rams right in dat ass on this game-sealing pick-six by 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga, who stepped in front of an attempted Kupp screen:

I do credit the 49ers for being a defensive juggernaut. Their coordinator Demeco Ryans was one of my favorite underrated players back in my earlier days of NFL fandom. He was a great linebacker for the Houston Texans. Pretty sure he'll be a head coach soon, even though I'd strongly advise anyone with a vacancy to find an offensive guy. IF you go defense, go Demeco. Man is legit.

You know who else is awesome, and the other reason cited in the headline that San Francisco won this prime-time matchup? Deebo Samuel. Look at this shit:

Good thing Jimmy Garoppolo is so inconsistent with his ball placement, because otherwise, this could've been six points the other way. Instead, we got Deebo doing Deebo things.

Later on, Deebo did similar Deebo things in an otherwise ugly affair en route to six catches for 115 yards on the eve:

As I sat here and thought about this game from the Niners' angle, this movie-related analogy came to me when pondering their offense…

I swear, Kyle Shanahan is like the football equivalent of a hotshot, infinite-hyphenate writer-director-producer-editor-stunt coordinator-you-name-it. Not sure that person even exists in Hollywood. Might have to stretch back to Buster Keaton or something. Maybe Tom Cruise? Anyway. Shanahan is that. Or "HIM!" as people like to say. Holy fucking shit. A few too many of those and an unhealthy dose of "THISSSSSS LEEEEEEEAGUE!!!" outbursts might form a cocktail that causes me to snap one of these days.

SO, Shanahan is that guy, right? And Jimmy Garoppolo is the devastatingly handsome leading man who literally does not have a fucking clue what he's doing. Shanahan has to tell him exactly where to stand on his mark, verbalizes precisely how he should utter his lines, and constantly makes adjustments behind the scenes to position him for maximum success. And the guy is sexy as all get-out and everyone loves him…but he ain't it.

Let me direct you to the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! for an audio/visual representation of this Shanny/Jimmy dynamic. Please watch. No need for any context or other setup beyond what I just laid out in the prior two paragraphs. Tell me I'm wrong.


Jimmy G threw three consecutive off-target passes during a first-half series that were so egregiously lacking in precision, I had the energy/vocal capacity to laugh even as I haven't fully dug myself out of my COVID-induced dysphoria.

So anyway the Rams pretty much suck. Jimmy G also sucks so I wouldn't be doing backflips if I were a 49ers fan. Everyone's like, "LOOK HOW GOOD THE NINERS ARE WITH JIMMY G! LOOK AT HIS RECORD!" Yeah and doesn't it say something that he's led them to a Super Bowl, another NFC title game, and they're still thinking, "We can do significantly better at this here quarterback position."

Jimmy's stats: 16-of-27 passing (59%) for 239 yards and a TD. Approx. 238 of those yards came after the catch. Oh but he's good though. Cut to Shanahan pacing around his office, repeatedly muttering under his breath, "Would that it were so simple."

The 49ers are now 7-0 against the Rams with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. Impressive any way you slice it. A strong indictment of Sean McVay and a ringing endorsement for Kyle Shanahan as well.

Unfortunately, that perfect mark didn't hold true in last year's postseason when San Francisco blew a 10-point lead in the final quarter. I'm sure the Niners are thrilled to exact their vengeance for now. Let's see what happens, again, when all the chips are down. Better hope Deebo and the defense keep showing out and balling out like this.

I can't wait to see this Niners D get their crack at Baker Mayfield and Marcus Mariota the next two weeks. Should be plenty of high football-related comedy to go around. Will the Panthers or Falcons score any points? I'd be surprised by anything in the double digits.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok