49ers Notes: ‘We Will Kill Teams With This Read Option'

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Blaine Gabbert attempted a career-high nine rushing attempts on Monday night and took some big hits along the way.

"There were some times I definitely should have, and could have, slid," Gabbert said following the 49ers' 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.

"We'll probably watch those on film and see where I could slide. But, you know, I was just playing the game and trying to get first downs and you're going to take some shots every now and then. You just want to try and minimize those as a quarterback."

The biggest shot came at the end of Gabbert's longest run. He got tripped up by cornerback Trumaine Johnson and was going to the ground as hard-hitting safety/linebacker Mark Barron finished Gabbert off with a solid hit to his upper body at the end of an 11-yard gain. The play set up the 49ers' second touchdown.

Running back Carlos Hyde, who led the 49ers with 88 yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts, said he encouraged Gabbert to call his own number on zone-read plays.

"I tell him all the time, ‘Blaine, this is me and you,'" Hyde said. "We have to work together. And, if we are on the same page, we will kill teams with this read option. I'm like, ‘You can run it just as good as I can run it, so don't be afraid to pull it and go make a play.'"

"It's a two- man game with us when we run the read option. I was happy though. He was pulling it in, he was getting yards. It just put more pressure on the defense."

--The 49ers have won six consecutive season openers and eight in a row on Monday nights. The 49ers won their 48th game on Monday Night Football, the most in the NFL. The 49ers do not have another Monday game this season.

--The shutout was the first for the 49ers in the opening week of the season, and their first as a team since Sept. 30, 2012, at the New York Jets.

"We went out expecting the Rams to play better than they did, expecting the Rams to get the ball in their playmaker's hands," 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "The coaches did a great job with preparing us for this week, alerting us to certain formations and certain plays that they like to do out of different personnel. We just ran around to the ball. We did everything that we were supposed to do."

--The 49ers committed just two penalties for 10 yards, and coach Chip Kelly took full responsibility for one of them. Guard Andrew Tiller was called for a false start with 14:20 remaining in the game, and the 49ers were flagged for an illegal shift later in that same drive.

"I think the most telling statistic for us that you're really proud of going into the first game is that you have two penalties for 10 yards," Kelly said. "One of them was mine because I screwed them up with the formation and the other one, our guys thought they jumped (into the neutral zone), so they tried to touch them. So to play that type of disciplined football, I thought was big."

--The 49ers went for it twice on fourth downs in the second quarter, but Kelly said it had nothing to do with trying to instill an aggressive mentality in his team. The decisions, he said, were based entirely off the 49ers' field position at the time.

"We're not into that aggressor, non-aggressor," Kelly said. "I don't think like that. I just knew what Phil's [Dawson] distance was. The wind, it's unique and I've only been in here a short amount of time, Phil gave me a very good education on the wind patterns here as they kind of come off.

"Phil is great and one of the things, he'll tell me exactly and he'll tell me in pregame because during the game he thinks he can hit every kick. So, we have a very calm, rational talk in pregame exactly where do we need to get the ball too. We were just a little shy of it. In that situation, just felt like if we went for it was a little better. I didn't want to punt. If you punt the ball is in the end zone. You're netting 13-yards or whatever the heck it is. I didn't think very long about making those decisions."

The 49ers failed on a fourth-and-1 play from the Rams' 34, when Gabbert threw low to Torrey Smith to result in a 2-yard loss. But on the next possession, Gabbert hit Jeremy Kerley for an 18-yard gain on fourth and 6 from the L.A. 39.

--Gabbert said his biggest takeaway from Monday's game was the team's efficiency inside the Rams' 20-yard line.

"We were 4-for-4 in the red zone," Gabbert said. "We got the victory and we're going on to play Carolina. We're going to film and see what we need to work on. There were some ups and downs throughout the game but the biggest thing is we kept fighting, kept chipping away and got the W. That's all that matters in this league."

--Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks recorded a sack to move into a tie with Dana Stubblefield for third on the franchise's all-time sacks list with 46.5. Bryant Young is the 49ers' all-time leader with 89.5 sacks. Charles Haley ranks No. 2 at 66.5.

--The 49ers were home underdogs to the Rams and do not figure to be favored for many – or any – games this season according to the point spreads. Bowman said it does not matter how the team is perceived by those on the outside.

"We started off as the underdogs," Bowman said. "Nobody expected us to win a game this year -- or something crazy. And I just say to the guys, ‘It's not what anyone outside of the organization says about us, it's about what we say about us.'

"If we keep that mindset and understand we're the ones out there contributing and playing together and understand we are a strong-knit team, we can accomplish anything. So that's the reason why we play with so much energy. Understanding it's us 53 together and it takes all of us."

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