49ers score vs. Chargers takeaway: San Francisco defense stops Justin Herbert, LA offense

49ers score vs. Chargers takeaway: San Francisco defense stops Justin Herbert, LA offense

The San Francisco 49ers are over .500 this season at 5-4 after beating the Los Angeles Chargers, 22-16. Kyle Shanahan’s side found themselves trailing at half-time but enjoyed a dominant two final quarters where the attack netted 12 points while the defensive side of the ball left LA scoreless en route towards victory.

San Francisco took the lead midway through the fourth quarter as a goal-line touchdown by Christian McCaffrey capped a 14-play, 77-yard drive. After taking the lead for the first time in the game, the defense continued to shut down Justin Herbert and the rest of the Chargers offense, allowing just 10 yards of total offense on their final three drives and pulling Herbert out to seal the game.

Garoppolo finished with 240 yards through the air on 19 of 28 passes. Brandon Aiyuk was his go-to target, catching six of his seven targets for 84 yards. Meanwhile, Elijah Mitchell led the Niners’ rushing offense, rushing for 89 yards on a 4.9-yard-per-carry clip. As for McCaffrey, he recorded 77 scrimmage yards with that rushing touchdown.

On the other side, Herbert completed 21 of 35 for 196 yards, one touchdown and one interception. DeAndre Carter led all Chargers pass catchers with 64 yards through the air.

For a more detailed breakdown of how this game played out, check out our top takeaways below.

Why the 49ers won

San Francisco seemed to regain their footing early in the second half as they returned to their roots and began to dominate on the court. Of the 49ers’ 65 yards on the 12-play field to open the third quarter, 47 of them entered the play at the pitch and that theme continued for the rest of the game. As a club, they rushed for 106 yards in the second half compared to the 51 yards they had rushed through the first two quarters.

As the offense began to physically impose its will on the Chargers, so did the defense. The Niners’ pass rush began to come home, making things extremely difficult for Justin Herbert. Although Herbert was not sacked in the second half, he was on the move regularly, kicking out of the pocket and particularly struggling to move the chains. After allowing LA to convert five third attempts in the first half, the 49ers allowed only one such conversion out of five attempts in the second half.

Why the Chargers lost

Los Angeles got off to a good start, needing just seven plays to go 75 yards down the field and score a touchdown on the first practice. However, they were never able to recreate that spark offensively for the rest of the game. Even when they were offered a short field thanks to a fumble from Brandon Aiyuk late in the first quarter, they couldn’t take full advantage of it. After recovering the ball at San Francisco’s 32-yard line, they could only go 3 yards in four plays and had to settle for a field goal. LA had two more practices on the night that went to the 7-yard line and the 49ers 20-yard line, respectfully. Both times they were held to the basket. These attacking issues were only on full display in the second half when they kicked three times, had a turnover on the downs and threw an interception to end the day. That level of offensive execution just won’t win you many games in the NFL.

Defensively, the Chargers ended up getting rushed for 387 yards (208 in the second half), but Brandon Staley’s unit was able to make saves and gave the offense chances to hang on in this game. They just couldn’t play a standard level of complementary football.


The Niners began to pull away in the second half after building momentum in the ground game. After setting up scoring drives on two of their previous three possessions, a 14-play, 77-yard touchdown drive not only tipped the momentum in this game, but also the scoreboard. While the ground game was the main point of attack of the night for the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo made a number of important conversions on the discs, moving chains through the air three times on third down. That included some third-and-long, headlining a third-and-10 conversion to Brandon Aiyuk for 24 yards that set up a goal-line touchdown by Christian McCaffrey that gave them the lead for the first time all day. night.

After taking the lead, San Francisco’s defense slammed the door, immediately forcing a three-and-out that only went 3 yards. Then they forced a turnover on the downs and eventually knocked out Herbert with less than a minute left in regulation time.

best game

Even in the loss, Justin Herbert explained why he’s widely regarded as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. The degree of difficulty of some of his throws is only surpassed by the ease with which he makes them appear.

An example of that came in the second quarter of that game when he pulled back on a second-and-10 play from the San Francisco 34-yard line. Herbert had pressure coming from his right and his face, which forced him to slide his body to the left. As he faded to the left, he fired a ball past DeAndre Carter who was racing down the right side of the pitch and slotted the ball into the narrower window. Carter ended up getting that pass to the 49ers 2-yard line, but the Chargers ultimately had to settle for a field goal on that drive. Nonetheless, it was an exceptional throw by Herbert.

And after

From there, the 49ers will prepare for an international game with the Arizona Cardinals at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City next Monday night. As for the Chargers, they will return to SoFi Stadium and await the Kansas City Chiefs for a prime-time AFC West showdown.

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