RamView: Week 10 – Offensive Line

The 49ers have controlled the line of scrimmage in recent meetings between these teams, and today wasn’t really an exception. Rodger Saffold forced the Rams to settle for an opening FG after a red-zone hold, having to drag Justin Smith down because he was horribly beaten right off the snap. Jason Smith got whipped silly by Patrick Willis late in the 1st. Willis smacked Bradford and forced a fumble, but Billy Bajema pounced on it. Big play by Bajema; Frisco had just gone ahead 7-3, and if they had gotten that fumble, they would have built blowout-strength momentum. The line held up well enough for the quick passing game to tie the game back up, even with Renardo Foster at LT in place of Rodger Saffold, who missed the rest of the game after a falling 49er crashed into his ankle. However, Adam Goldberg got Bradford sacked before halftime by losing Parys Haralson on a stunt, and at the end of the half, no one blocked Ahmad Brooks at left end at all, letting him stuff Jackson for minus-3. The line seemed charged-up for the 2nd half. Jacob Bell got Jackson a nice hole on a 10-yard draw. On the Rams’ 2nd TD drive, Foster and Goldberg had key blocks on a 26-yard Jackson run. Goldberg then made Willis regret the blitz was ever invented, giving him a back-body drop to clear Jackson for a screen for 10. Smith had a key block on Jackson’s TD run. Pound out the win from there, up 17-10? No, they 3-and-outed 4 times instead. Jackson lost 2 to kill a possession after Bajema got knocked two yards off the line. 5:00 left, the Rams can’t convert a 3rd-and-1 after Ray McDonald punked Jason Brown and dropped Jackson for a loss. After Bradford overcame a false start and some blocking trouble from Foster to tie the game, the Rams should have had momentum after winning the OT coin toss, right? Nope, three and out again. Jackson was stuffed up the middle, where Brown struggled all day, on 2nd down. On 3rd down, Justin Smith whipped Bell to the inside, and Travis LaBoy soundly beat Foster, to sack Bradford for the third time, the last one the 49ers would need. It’s probably time for a reality check on the Rams offensive line. Jackson hasn’t gotten that many holes all season. They haven’t taken over at the end of many games. Bradford’s mobility and Pat Shurmur’s quick passing game are the main reasons the sack total is down. They’ve got the talent to get there in time, but this line has not yet really put it all together. Look out when they do, though.


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