Lost amid the Los Angeles Rams 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was the debut of Broncos legend Von Miller. The future Hall of Famer got his first start in L.A. after George Paton traded the 32-year-old to the Rams for a 2022 second and third round pick. It also marked his return from the ankle injury he suffered in the Broncos 17-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris didn’t keep Miller on a tight pitch count, and he got a chance to rush off both left and right edge.
On the 18th play of the 49ers opening drive they find themselves facing a 3rd and 6. Jimmy Garoppolo lines up in a 2X3 empty set, while Miller is rushing his blind side. On the snap Von sees that he won’t get depth on Trent Williams vertical set, so he gives the left tackle a head nod before working inside. He shakes free right, but can’t close before Garoppolo delivers a strike for six.
Von Miller beating George Kittle to make the tackle. pic.twitter.com/18S88WSs2X— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 16, 2021
On the following drive the 49ers line up on 1st and 10 after a offsides penalty ruined a Rams 3rd down stand. San Francisco’s using 12 personnel With two tight ends to the right and both receivers starting out on the left until Deebo Samuel goes in motion. On the snap Garoppolo pitches the ball to Elijah Mitchel and the back immediately finds himself face to face with Von Miller, who quickly shirked George Kittle to gum up the point of attack.
The future Hall of Fame tight end got his revenge in the second half.
George Kittle is probably the best blocking tight end on earth, and in the history of the NFL, if he can do this to Von Miller pic.twitter.com/gT0FspG5Ky— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) November 16, 2021
Since Vic Fangio became the Broncos head coach in 2019 there’s been a loud part of Broncos Country who ground their teeth to nubs over Von dropping in coverage. I regret to inform you Raheem Morris and the Rams will continue to keep the cursed tradition alive. If it makes you feel better, Miller looked pretty solid in space for an edge rusher.
How dare they make Von play in coverage pic.twitter.com/IVg05sriKP— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 16, 2021
On the 49ers opening drive they come out in a 3X1 on 2nd and 10. Von is lined up over Trent Williams on the left side and drops into zone coverage. Ultimately, it doesn’t really impact the play as Garoppolo throws a 6-yard pass to Kyle Juszczyk running an in route.
The Rams drop Von Miller into coverage on 2nd and long. pic.twitter.com/o1V5ragHxI— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 16, 2021
Leading 24-7 in the fourth quarter, the 49ers are facing a 2nd and 13 after a false start by running back Jeff Wilson. They line up in a 2X3 empty set and Deebo Samuel runs a hank route between the hook zone and a dropping Von. Garoppolo lets it loose as Miller breaks and Von teams up with Ernest Jones on the tackle.
The 49ers dominated the game from the opening bell and rarely swayed from a controlled passing game and punishing rushing attack. It was a smart strategy against a defensive front with Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd. It also meant Miller’s box score numbers won’t impress despite a solid performance against two very good opponents in Trent Williams and George Kittle.
The 31-10 loss a bucket of cold water on the “all-in” Rams and serves as a reminder that matchups matter in the NFL. Los Angeles moves to their bye week this week so Von will get the same week off as his old team, your Denver Broncos.