Rams, Aaron Donald are Total Embarrassments in Opener

Are the San Francisco 49ers a newly re-built machine, about to steamroll through the NFL on their way to a championship?

The LA Rams sure hope so, because if not, then last night they were totally crushed on both offense and defense by an average at best, and likely below average team also on its way to nowhere this season.

I’ve taken a lot of criticism the past few days for writing about how bad the “New” LA Rams appeared to be, but I gave them some credit and predicted a likely opening game

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win over an even worse 49ers’ team. Boy, did I get that wrong.

I also wrote that the Rams would then be primed to lose their next eight games for a season start of 1-8. That now looks pretty assured to be an 0-9 start.

The Rams’ supposed strengths – a solid defense and a great running game – were nowhere to be seen against the 49ers and their recently moribund offense and rebuilt run defense. Blaine Gabbert, a total bust in Jacksonville and resurrected off the scrap heap by San Francisco, not only totally outplayed the Rams’ new starting QB Case Keenum, but picked apart the Rams’ defense seemingly at will, with critical completions and key runs. His numbers were only average (22 of 35 for 170 yards, 1 TD, 0 interceptions and a 84.2 QB rating, plus 43 rushing and scrambling yards in nine carries) but were sparkling compared to Keenum’s absurdly bad stats (17 of 35 for 130 yards, of course 0 TDs, 2 BAD interceptions, and a QB low rating for the ages: 34.2. And 10 yards on the ground in three carries).

The Rams’ Todd Gurley, so touted by the local media as maybe the best running back in the NFL, was totally contained by the 49ers D and held to a 2.8 yards-per-carry average in 17 rushes. The 49ers unheralded Carlos Hyde, on the other hand, made mincemeat of the very hearalded Rams front, picking up 88 yards in 23 carries and scoring twice. Backup

Shaun Draughn contributed another 18 yards and his own rushing TD.

The best thing that can be said of the Rams’ offense was that over the course of the game and the numerous TV shots of the Clipboard Caddy Jared Goff, not once was he seen to drop the magic clipboard – unlike what happened with the football throughout the exhibition season.

But one real story did come out of the Ram’s ineptitude, and that was a very nasty one that will have future repercussions. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, perhaps obsessing over his press clippings, was a non-entity for virtually the entire game, making a grand total of three tackles and having zero sacks, let his frustrations and his temper get the best of him late in the game, and after a skirmish between Rams’ linebacker Alec Ogletree and Gabbert, Donald decided to escalate the confrontation, first grabbing the neck of 49ers receiver Quinton Patton, then grabbing his facemark, and finally striking him across the front of his helmet, sending it flying across the field. At some pint Donald also had contact with a referee, and for that reason he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and was ejected from the game. Donald’s tantrum then escalated as he pounded his own helmet to the ground and threw other pieces of equipment as he meandered off the field. Penalty yards for the entire event totaled 27 moving the ball from the Rams 38 to their 11, giving San Francisco an almost gift fourth TD. Here is the video of the event:



(Please ignore the audio – no idea who that guy is
but this was the best video of the incident)

The future ramifications of this will of course consist of a suspension for Donald, and for his disgusting and flagrant actions he deserves a multi-game suspension, but most likely it will be no more than one game.

Finally, here is the Rams’ drive chart for the entire game:

Punt
Punt
Punt
Int
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Int
Punt
Turnover on downs

Next week, Seattle. Almost assuredly without Donald. Will Keenum still be the starting quarterback? Stay tuned.

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