ST. LOUIS – The 49ers won their third consecutive game on Monday night with a 31-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
But it was far from perfect. Here are three areas in which things did not exactly go as planned:
1. Injuries: Four significant players went down with injuries. The one that could have the biggest lasting effect is linebacker Patrick Willis, who sustained a sprained toe.
Willis returned home Monday night with wearing an orthopedic boot to immobilize his toe.
The “turf toe” injury is one that can linger. After all, cornerback Tramaine Brock sustained the same injury in Week 1, and he has yet to return to action.
The severity of Willis’ injury is not known, but it seems unlikely Willis will be available to face the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Guard Mike Iupati (concussion), nickelback Jimmie Ward (quad) and receiver Stevie Johnson (hip) also left the game with conditions that place their availability for Sunday’s game against the Broncos in question, too.
2. Slow start: Very little went well for the 49ers in the first 29 ½ minutes of Monday’s game.
The 49ers committed costly penalties on defense.
They gave up some big plays in the passing game.
And tight end Vance McDonald committed a turnover at the end of a 21-yard pass. The 49ers were down 14-0 before waking up.
3. Return game: Rookie Bruce Ellington does not have much experience handling punts, and it really shows.
Ellington has yet to figure out when to make a fair catch, when to return punts, and when to let the ball go.
In the second quarter, he fielded a punt at the 4-yard line – instead of allowing the ball to bounce into the end zone for a touchback.