5 things to know after Kaepernick shows improved form in 49ers' 35-11 rout of Rams
ST. LOUIS – Winning did not exactly bring out the chatterbox in Colin Kaepernick.
Comments from the quarterback were succinct and non-informative last week after the San Francisco 49ers lost their second straight game. After doing his part to get the offense rolling in a 35-11 rout of St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, Kaepernick was still the king of vanilla one-liners.
The difference this week? "We knew we had to win."
The impact of Frank Gore's first 100-yard game of the year? "We have to get Frank his touches. He's the leading rusher for us all-time for a reason."
All of the concerned talk about a team that came close to winning the last Super Bowl? "We know the talent we have on this team. We know what we're capable of."
While not quite in 2012 form, Kaepernick threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was a nice turnaround from the previous two games, when he had no TD passes and four picks in blowout losses to Seattle and Indianapolis.
"He was really locked in and focused all week," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He made big plays."
The 49ers are right back on their feet at 2-2, while the Rams have dropped three in a row since winning the opener for the first time since 2006 and have trailed by double digits in every game.
Five reasons why the 49ers defeated the Rams:
GETTING GORED: A week after Dallas' DeMarco Murray rushed for 175 yards against St. Louis, Gore was maybe even better. Gore, who totaled 142 yards the first three games, piled up 153 yards on 20 carries with four runs of 17 yards or longer. The highlight was a 34-yard scoring run on fourth-and-1 in the final minute of the half that put the 49ers up 14-3. Harbaugh labeled reports that Gore had been unhappy after getting just 11 carries the previous three weeks as "erroneous," but made sure to give him a lot more touches. "He did a fabulous job," Harbaugh said. "Great job by Frank." Rams defensive end Chris Long's reaction: "It's disgusting, really it's just disgusting."
SACK ATTACK: The 49ers' pass rush was supposed to suffer without star linebackers Aldon Smith, in rehab following a second drunken-driving arrest, and the injured Patrick Willis. Instead, the 49ers sacked Sam Bradford five times, including a lost fumble at the Rams 3 that set up a fourth-quarter score. Harbaugh thought all the replacements stepped up nicely. "It was good team defense, our secondary was getting their hands on the ball, coverage was tight and we got the turnovers," Harbaugh said.
NO RUSH: The 49ers came in ranked 29th in rush defense, but stopped St. Louis at the door. The Rams replaced Steven Jackson, their career leading rusher, with kids and really suffered with 18 yards on 19 carries. Not long after halftime, the Rams had all but given up on running the ball. Nobody offered much in the way of solutions. "We're going to get it fixed," coach Jeff Fisher said after the game. "That's all I'm going to tell you. We'll get it fixed."
RAMS NEMESIS: St. Louis certainly brings out the best in Anquan Boldin. The 49ers' big-body wide receiver entered with 83 receptions in 13 career games against the Rams and had a major role again with five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. On his 20-yard scoring reception he absorbed a hit from Cortland Finnegan near the sideline, planted his foot just inbounds and then lunged for the pylon. "It felt good," Boldin said. "The game plan for us was to come in and execute."
RIVALRY, WHAT RIVALRY?: Earlier in the week, Fisher swatted away the notion that the San Francisco-St. Louis series was a rivalry just because the Rams had an overtime win and tie last year. Before last year, the 49ers had won 11 of 14, and they regained dominance without several key players. "Well, tomorrow's going to be a pretty tough day in the film room," Bradford said. "Yeah, it was all pretty bad."
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