Key halftime adjustment guided Lenoir, 49ers’ defense to win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
INGLEWOOD — Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir shared a key halftime adjustment was the reason the 49ers’ defense had a much better second half in their 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
Though the first 30 minutes of the contest, quarterback Matthew Stafford had completed 14 of 18 pass attempts for 143 yards and a touchdown. Lenoir revealed defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had an announcement for the locker room at halftime.
“‘We are going to play man coverage,’ ” Lenoir recalled his coach saying. “‘We are going to have to tighten it up and let the rush eat.’ I would just say we were playing zone and we didn’t really get the pressure on Stafford.
“I feel like once we played man coverage and got tighter, it was harder for them to complete passes.”
There is no question the 49ers’ defense struggled getting the Rams’ offense off the field during the first half. Los Angeles scored on three consecutive lengthy possessions to open the game.
“For the scheme that they ran, it fit perfectly,” Lenoir said. “Getting into the soft zones, being in open windows, and making it easier for Stafford.”
While the defensive line did not record any quarterback sacks — linebacker Fred Warner notched the only takedown of Stafford — it did get pressure on the pocket. The defense as a whole closed out the game with a notable 27 pressures, per PFF.
Lenoir, understanding the connection between rush and coverage, felt the responsibility of covering longer in an attempt to help the pass rushers “get home.” The defensive back believes the halftime break allowed the team to reset and regroup.
“After halftime, I think that was one of the best things that could have happened to us,” Lenoir said. “Just being halftime, just taking a chill pill for everybody, and just focus, lock in and be able to make adjustments.”
The adjustments were successful. San Francisco held the Rams to only three points in the second half while creating two turnovers, helping the team leave Southern California with a 2-0 record.