While the St. Louis Rams‘ offense is not a unit that will be confused for being like the New Orleans Saints‘ offense, it still presents opposition defenses with some headaches as they have two very explosive playmakers in Jared Cook and Tavon Austin, who are capable of breaking one each time they touch the football.
As the San Francisco 49ers beat the Rams 23-13 on Sunday, the 49ers’ defense and special teams did a good job of containing both Cook and Austin.
Cook was not a factor downfield as he only caught three passes for 49 yards on six targets as he was well covered. Whether it was linebacker NaVorro Bowman or safeties Eric Reid and Donte Whitner, the 49ers’ defense did a good job of staying on Cook when he ran out into pass patterns, while being in position to break up passes thrown in his direction.
Similarly, Austin’s impact during Sunday’s game was non-existent. Austin had four receptions but only for 25 yards, with his longest reception only going for seven yards. He also had one carry for 10 yards rushing. The 49ers’ defense snuffed out a sweep option that Austin tried to execute, forcing an incompletion as a result of the unit reading the play.
Austin’s impact is not solely limited to what he can do on offense as he can also have an impact on special teams. On Sunday, the 49ers’ special teams did a very good job of preventing him from breaking a return for big yardage. In four kickoff returns, Austin had 67 return yards while he was only able to return one punt for 10 yards.
As a result, the Rams found themselves on the losing end with their key weapons being contained.