Fisher: Offensive Execution the Issue On Sunday

Posted Dec 2, 2013

After his team came up short in its second meeting with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Head Coach Jeff Fisher pointed to the team’s execution on the offensive side of the ball as the team’s primary difficulty.

“Execution was really our issue,” Fisher said. “It was our issue on offense. When you gain four first downs in the first half to their 12 or whatever it was, you’re not executing. It’s part of our problem, and we credit their defense. They’re an outstanding defense.”

In a first half that was in stark contrast to the fast starts offensively of recent weeks, the Rams were held to just 73 total yards of offense, including 25 net yards passing. The Rams’ only scoring drive came on their final possession of the half, concluding with a 43-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein to narrow the 49ers’ lead to 13-3.

The San Francisco defensive front also proved a worthy opponent for what has been one of the league’s best rushing attacks since the two teams’ previous meeting in Week 4. The Rams were held to just 48 rushing yards in the first half, and 114 overall, the team’s lowest single-game total since Week 7 against Carolina.

The first half was a costly one for the Rams, and not only in the form of a two-possession deficit. Veteran C Scott Wells suffered a leg injury and did not return, pressing C Tim Barnes into action for the second half. Fisher confirmed the injury as a non-displaced fracture of his fibula on Monday. The injury carries a 4-6 week timetable for return, likely bringing Wells’ season to a close.

“Tim will be our guy,” Fisher said. We’re still evaluating it, but it’s a 4-6 week injury. It’s very similar to (safety) T.J. (McDonald)’s, very similar. Non-displaced, so we’re just kind of evaluating what we’re going to do with the roster.”

As for McDonald and his progression, Fisher was pleased with the rookie safety’s second game since returning from injury. McDonald appeared on 57 of the Rams’ 62 defensive snaps against the 49ers, and was credited with eight total tackles, most among the team’s secondary and third overall behind linebackers Alec Ogletree and James Laurinaitis, according to coaches’ film review.

“Much better this week than he was last week,” Fisher said in evaluating McDonald. “Last week was his first one back. With the injury, at times he had difficulty decelerating last week. This week, he was a completely different player. I think a lot had to do with the surface and an extra week of healing and practice, but he played pretty well.”

Despite the disappointment, Fisher emphasized a slew of reasons for encouragement in Sunday’s game, including an improved run defense, entering next week’s divisional matchup with Arizona.

“As we always do in this situation, we pull out the positives,” Fisher said. There were a lot of good things that happened in this game.”