The Los Angeles Rams came into Levi's Stadium looking to put their shortcomings from last week's loss behind them with the assistance of newly added Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. during a primetime slate against the San Francisco 49ers.
Ultimately, the Rams came out of the gates swinging, attempting a deep shot to Beckham on the fourth play of the game, which resulted in an intercepted by 49ers safety Jimmie Ward. From that moment on, the game swung in favor of the 49ers and they never looked back, defeating the Rams by the final score of 31-10.
“This was a humbling night for us as a team,” Rams coach Sean McVay said after the Rams' losing effort against a divisional foe. “(The bye is) a great opportunity for us to take a deep breath, step away, look at the things we need to correct, particularly offensively, over the last couple of weeks.
“We’ll look inwardly, we’re going to figure this thing out, and we’re going to come back freakin’ swinging, I promise you that.”
After the 49ers cashed in on the early takeaway, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo orchestrated an 18-play, 93-yard drive, resulting in a touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle to put San Francisco ahead, 7-0.
On San Francisco's opening possession they revealed their approach for the game – Kyle Shanahan was going to run the ball at will and continue to do so until the Rams could prove they had answers to stop it. As the game continued on, the 49ers stuck with the same approach as L.A. was gashed on the ground with a combination of rushers.
The 49ers ran the ball 44 times for 156 yards and one touchdown. The group was led on the ground by sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell, who logged 91 yards across 27 attempts.
In addition to the ground and pound running attack that the Rams so desperately couldn’t find a way to slow down, the 49ers picked their spots in which Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass. The Rams defense surrendered a passing effort by Garoppolo that was methodical and efficient, completing 15 of 19 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensively, when the Rams appeared to be finding momentum, the drive would then be put to a halt in a variety of ways. Most notably, the Rams dropped five passes Monday night – three of them staling a drive and one by tight end Tyler Higbee that led to an interception.
As the Rams never led in this game, they abandoned the running game entirely, rushing the ball just 10 times on the night, compared to the 41 passing attempts.
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Stafford and the offense collectively gathered 278 total yards. After throwing two interceptions in the first half, Stafford settled in but it was too much to rally back. His outing ended, completing 26 of 41 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown with two early turnovers that crippled the team's chances early on.
“Just too aggressive throwing it down the field,” Stafford said of his interceptions in the first quarter. “Shouldn’t have done it.”
As for the new acquisitions – Miller and Beckham – who made their Rams debuts, they both started on the opening offensive and defensive possessions. Beckham, who caught the first pass of the game, was primarily a decoy, catching two passes for 18 yards. As for Miller, he was much more active, playing a steady dose of snaps, registering three tackles and one TFL.
“They played better than us in all phases of the game,” Beckham said. “It just wasn’t our night.”
The Rams will turn the page, heading into their bye week before taking flight to Lambeau Field in Week 12 when they take on the Green Bay Packers.
“We definitely have to attack our preparation and get better and be who we know we are,” Rams safety Jordan Fuller said. “Because we haven’t been that the last couple of weeks.”
The Rams fall to a 7-3 record, still sitting in the thick of things among the NFC Wildcard picture, while training the Arizona Cardinals in the division.
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