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49ers vs. Rams Monday Night Week 4 Live Blog

Not a must-win game, but close.
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SANTA CLARA -- This is the live blog for the 49ers' crucial Week 4 Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.

3:40 This game should be a defensive battle featuring two of the best defensive players in the NFL -- Nick Bosa and Aaron Donald. So which player makes a bigger impact? I say Donald, because his team can align him anywhere on its defensive front against any offensive lineman and hunt mismatches, whereas Bosa only plays on the edges where offenses can chip him and double team and even push him farther away from the quarterback by stretching the face of the formation with extra tight ends along the line of scrimmage. Additionally, offenses can run directly at Bosa and force him to take on a bigger, more physical offensive tackle, while the only successful ways to run at Donald require double teaming him.

3:47 The 49ers have called up Tevin Coleman and Malik Turner from the practice squad from tonight's game. Heaven help me if Coleman gets carries and Jordan Mason doesn't.

3:48 Here are the 49ers' inactives:

Javon Kinlaw (knee) 

Danny Gray 

Tarvarius Moore (hamstring)

Trent Williams (ankle)

Ty Davis-Price (ankle)

Tyler Kroft (knee) 

Nick Zakelj (not injured)

3:49 The good news: Arik Armstead is healthy after missing last week's game with plantar fasciitis. The bad news: Javon Kinlaw is out with a knee injury after having ACL reconstruction this offseason. Sounds like he has had yet another setback.

4:03 Random thoughts:

1. How will the interior of the 49ers offensive line hold up against Aaron Donald? Laken Tomlinson usually held his own against him, but Tomlinson is gone.

2. Can either Deommodore Lenoir or Samuel Womack cover Cooper Kupp out of the slot?

3. Will the defense get flagged for late hits like it did Week 1 against Justin Fields? Because you know the referees will protect Matthew Stafford like Fort Knox on primetime.

4. No special teams fumbles. I'm looking at you, Ray-Ray McCloud.

5. Will Kyle Shanahan remain creative all game, or will his good ideas run out when his script ends?

6. Will Jimmy Garoppolo throw the ball away and/or throw it deep, or will he force short passes over the middle to boost his completion percentage?

5:14 The 49ers win the toss and defer. The Rams will receive the opening kickoff.

FIRST QUARTER

5:24 Matthew Stafford completes his first six passes, but none for big gains. And on 2nd and 9 from the 49ers 18, he gets sacked by Samson Ebukam (Drake Jackson also had pressure). The Rams end up with a 39-yard field goal.

49ers 0, Rams 3.

5:36 On 1st and 10 from the Rams 32, Jimmy Garoppolo tosses to Jeff Wilson Jr., who runs to his left and explodes through the defense to score a touchdown untouched. The 49ers are using multiple tight end formations to widen the Rams' 5- and 6-man fronts, then sending a blocker in motion to kick out the edge setter on the line. Smart plan.

49ers 7, Rams 3.

5:42 On 3rd and 8 from the Rams 27, LA tries to chip Nick Bosa, but DeMeco Ryans calls a tackle-end stunt, so Bosa loops around to the inside and charges head-on into Stafford for an uncontested sack. Beautiful call by Ryans.

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SECOND QUARTER

5:48 Daniel Brunskill has replaced Spencer Burford at right guard. Maybe the 49ers' runs to the right will work now. Spencer was awful in the first quarter. He whiffed twice on Donald -- once on a pass and once on a run.

5:52 On 3rd and 6 from the Rams 43, the Rams call Cover 1 (man to man with one deep safety), and Garoppolo still forces a pass underneath to Jauan Jennings, who gets hit immediately and drops the ball. Even if he had caught it, he wouldn't have had the first down. That was a great opportunity for Garoppolo to push the ball down the field, but he just won't. After the punt, the Rams take over at their 20.

5:57 On 3rd and 9 from the Rams 21, Stafford scrambles right and throws the ball out of bounds. No one was open. Great defense for the second series in a row. The Rams offense is terrible. After the punt, the 49ers take over at their 21.

6:02 On 3rd and 10 from the 49ers 22, Garoppolo sails a pass over the head of Jennings, who was open. The 49ers go three and out, and George Kittle still hasn't been targeted yet. Strange. After the punt, the Rams take over at their 35.

6:09 On 3rd and goal from the 11, Stafford throws a low pass intended for Cooper Kupp in the end zone that falls incomplete. Bad throw. Good coverage by Fred Warner. The Rams kick a 29-yard field goal.

49ers 7, Rams 6.

6:17 On 3rd and 3 from the 49ers 43, Deebo Samuel snatches a potential interception away from a Rams defender, breaks two tackles immediately, crosses the field, makes a third guy miss and scored a 57-yard touchdown. What an amazing player. He gained 52 yards after the catch on that play.

49ers 14, Rams 6.

6:26 On 2nd and 3 from the Rams 41, DeMeco Ryans calls a blitz up the middle for Fred Warner, who creates pressure and makes Stafford move into Charles Omenihu who records the sack for a loss of 11. Next play, Ryans calls another blitz -- this one for Deommodore Lenoir, and he sacks Stafford for a loss of nine. Ryans is doing a great job of mixing up his pressure calls. After the punt, the 49ers take over at their 31 with 31 seconds left.

6:30 On 4th and 4 from the 49ers 37, Garoppolo throws the ball away and the first half ends. The 49ers are up 8, which is good. Let's see if they can hold onto this lead.

THIRD QUARTER

6:48 On 3rd and 5 from the Rams 49, Kyle Juszczyk is wide open running deep, but Garoppolo throws instead to Samuel for a gain of nothing, then 49ers punt, and the Rams take over at their 18.

7:02 On 3rd and goal from the 7, Stafford throws a pass directly to Tashaun Gipson but he drops the interception. The Rams end up with a 25-yard field goal. They're still in the game. An interception in the end zone probably would have been too demoralizing for the Rams to recover from.

49ers 14, Rams 9.

7:02 Colton McKivitz injured his knee and it out for the rest of the game. The 49ers are down to their third-string left tackle -- Jaylon Moore. Yikes.

7:06 Ray-Ray McCloud fumbles the kick return but Marlon Mack recovers it at the 49ers 27. Wow.

FOURTH QUARTER

7:15 On 3rd and goal from the 1, Garoppolo throws a pass in the end zone to George Kittle, who catches the ball but gets only one foot down in bounds. So the 49ers take a delay of game penalty, then make a 25-yard field goal attempt.

49ers 17, Rams 9.

7:22 On 3rd and 10 from the Rams 21, Stafford throws a high pass intended for Kupp and it falls incomplete. McCloud returns the punt 22 yards to the 49ers 45. Excellent return.

7:31 On 3rd and 13 from the 49ers 42, Garoppolo flips a screen pass to Samuel who gains 29 yards on cue. Ho hum. Three plays later on 3rd and 11 from the Rams 30, Garoppolo flips a screen pass to Brandon Aiyuk, who doesn't get upfield quickly, and gains just six yards. Then Robbie Gould misses a 42-yard field goal. The Rams are still alive. They have 8:38 left, and they take over at their 33.

7:32 Arik Armstead is out with a foot injury.

7:37 On 1st and 10 from the 49ers 44, Talanoa Hufanga intercepts a screen pass intended for Kupp and returns it 52 yards for a touchdown. There's the knockout blow. I told you the 49ers would win this game.

49ers 24, Rams 9.

8:02 The 49ers win. Stay tuned for their grades.