After a tumultuous 2018 season, the San Francisco 49ers ended their season against the Los Angeles Rams, losing 48-32. Although the game was never close they kept fighting and ended the 2018 season with an offensive explosion.
The season saw many 49ers go down with injuries but their offensive line remained mostly intact throughout the year. They lost very little playing time and in the process formed a bond with each other which may lead to future success if the right players are in place.
49ers Offensive Line’s Grades For 2018
Joe Staley, Left Tackle: The 12th year pro proved to be the anchor of the offensive line. Early in the season, he struggled to maintain blocks on the outside perimeter of the pocket but eventually settled down. Towards the end of the season, edge rushers struggled mightily against him. He was only called for four penalties over the course of the 16 game season.
Laken Tomlinson, Left Guard: This was Tomlinson’s first season starting every game and he proved to be adequate for the job. He rarely allowed the defense to trick him and was a solid pass blocker since the start of the season. He was called for six penalties during the season.
Weston Richburg, Center: He was signed in the offseason with hopes of being the center for years to come. He adjusted well despite battling a knee injury for much of the season. He did show an alarming propensity for allowing larger defensive linemen to bull rush him into the backfield. He was called for four penalties during the season.
Mike Person, Right Guard: He did well in his first year with the 49ers. The 49ers had an exhilarating running game at times and he was a key reason why they were so successful. He was called for five penalties during the season.
Mike McGlinchey, Right Tackle: The rookie from Notre Dame was drafted to solidify the running game and he proved to be as good as advertised. He struggled early in the year against elite pass rushers and settled down slightly over the course of the season. Teams were still able to use their best pass rushers against him effectively towards the end of the season. He was called for an exceptional two penalties during the season.
Review Versus the Rams
In the middle of the first quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from their own 30-yard line. Running back Alfred Morris took the pitch and looked for room in the middle of the line. The 49ers offensive line paved the way as he rumbled for a 51-yard gain.
Late in the second quarter the 49ers were threatening to score. The offensive line displayed flawless footwork and communication skills as the defense did not get anywhere near the quarterback. Due to the protection, Nick Mullens was able to throw a touchdown pass to receiver Richie James Jr.
In the middle of the third quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-Goal from the Rams one-yard line. Morris took the ball up the middle where the offensive line gave him enough room to score a touchdown.
Early in the first quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-1 on the Rams 48-yard line. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk tried to find room on the right edge but the Rams had that area stuffed. To makes matters worse, he fumbled and the Rams wound up with great field position at the 49ers 6-yard line.
On the next series, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-10 from their own 25-yard line. Tomlinson and McGlinchey were pushed back into Mullens who was forced to throw too soon. The pass was intercepted ending the drive.
On the following drive, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-6 from the Rams 16-yard line. Person could not contain his block and once again Mullens was rushed into his throw. The pass was intercepted in the end zone to end the once promising drive.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the 49ers were at the Rams two-yard line threatening to score. Mullens ran a play-action and threw to receiver Kendrick Bourne for the touchdown.
While this play was ultimately successful, the offensive line failed to cover the left side of the field where there were hungry defenders waiting to take down Mullens. The play was designed for the line to block to the right but Mullens came dangerously close to being sacked.
The 49ers offensive line got off to a rocky start early in the season and at times it looked like some of the members would miss playing time due to injury. Despite the numerous injuries which hounded the rest of the team throughout the season, the offensive line lost very little playing time and grew as a unit. With all members of the offensive line signed through the 2019 season this unit has the opportunity to continue this upward trend and dominate in the NFL next season.