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Rams vs. 49ers Notebook: McCaffrey Magic, Second-Half Shutout Dooms LA in Loss

The Los Angeles Rams were blindsided by the San Francisco 49ers in the second half on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams were facing some all-too-familiar regular-season demons headed into Sunday's matchup at SoFi Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers.

But Halloween haunted the Rams a day early, as LA fell 31-14 to the Niners. The loss now gives the Rams eight straight regular-season losses against their heated NFC West rival.

Let's take a look at a few takeaways from the loss.

McCaffrey magic too much for Rams

The Rams thought they had seen the last of star running back Christian McCaffrey headed into their bye week after defeating the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 16, but the blockbuster trade that sent him to San Francisco meant LA had to clash with McCaffrey for back-to-back games.

It was somewhat expected that McCaffrey would be due for a solid performance after getting his feet underneath in his 49ers debut. But instead, he put together an unprecedented performance on Sunday, as he rushed, passed, and caught a touchdown while totaling 27 touches for 183 yards.

After he found receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first half to tie the game at 7-7, McCaffrey continued to receive offensive attention but didn't explode until the second half. His leaping nine-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone gave San Francisco the lead for good in the third quarter, but he wasn't finished.

McCaffrey had a 24-yard run in the fourth quarter that all but sealed San Francisco's momentum the rest of the way. He powered in the touchdown a play later to give the Niners a 24-14 lead, one that only grew a few minutes later.

Rams running game remains nonexistent

It was a different week but a similarly poor story for LA's running game on Sunday. The Rams totaled just 56 rushing yards on 21 attempts with the longest rush going for six yards. Undrafted rookie running back Ronnie Rivers out-touched and out-gained Darrell Henderson Jr., who was seen as the clear veteran leader in the backfield amidst the Cam Akers trade rumors.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford had the most notable rushing play of the afternoon, as he showed impressive toughness on a diving one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. It was Stafford's first regular-season rushing touchdown since 2016 after he had two in the postseason last year.

The Rams are in desperate need of any semblance of a running game if they want to remain in contention for a playoff spot, let alone the division.

LA's offense second-half sputter

But it wasn't just the running game that faltered, as the Rams were shut out in the second half in embarrassing fashion. LA had five possessions in the second half, but punted on four of those drives, including two three-and-outs. The Rams' fifth possession ended at the conclusion of the game.

If there's one positive takeaway, LA went 8 of 13 on third-down tries. But this is hardly something for coach Sean McVay to feel good about after another poor offensive showing in what has been a disappointing season thus far for the defending champs.

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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