I’m pretty sure the San Francisco 49ers has turned the ball over again since the game ended. The Los Angeles Rams pummeled the 49ers 39-10 in Week 7, and it came in no small part due to the minus-four in the turnover differential.
The 49ers entered the game not necessarily needing a perfect performance, but they needed to avoid turnovers. So much for that idea. The 49ers defense forced a punt on the Rams opening drive, and things were looking pretty good to start. Six plays later, C.J. Beathard was stripped of the ball as he was attempting a throw.
The Rams turned the fumble recovery into a field goal, and then San Francisco and LA swapped punts. Even with the turnover, the 49ers seemed to have a chance to keep this interesting. And then on the first play of their next drive, Matt Breida got the handoff and Aaron Donald simply ripped it out of his hands for the turnover. The Rams turned that into a touchdown to take a 10-0 lead.
San Francisco went three-and-out on the next drive, and prepared to punt from their 16. Only, the Rams busted through and Cory Littleton got the block. The ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a safety to give the Rams a 12-0 lead. If the Rams had been able to recover it, that would have counted as a takeaway for them. Instead, the 49ers just gave up the safety.
The 49ers gave up a field goal after the free kick, and while it was a dominant 15-0 Rams lead, it was still a two possession game. The 49ers moved the ball out to midfield on their next drive, but, stop me if you’ve heard this before, they turned it over. C.J. Beathard took a little too long to fire a pass to Marquise Goodwin, and it was intercepted by Troy Hill. The Rams turned that into another touchdown and a 22-0 lead — effectively ending the game.
George Kittle did give the 49ers a little bit of life to close out the second quarter. The 49ers moved 75 yards in eight plays, with George Kittle contributing 68 yards on the drive, including a touchdown. It cut the lead to 22-7, and again, while it was a dominant performance by the Rams, it was a two-possession game with the 49ers getting the ball to open the second half.
The only problem is the 49ers actually had to play the second half. They would add a field goal late in the game, but just could get nothing going. The game ended with the 49ers turning the ball over four times, including two interceptions and two fumbles. The 49ers had no takeaways once again and now have a league-worst minus-15 turnover differential.
You generally can’t win a game when you have a negative turnover differential. I don’t think the 49ers win this game even without the turnovers, but it is considerably more competitive. It didn’t help that the Rams added seven sacks of Beathard, with Aaron Donald dominating the day with four sacks.
The whole day was mostly a disaster.
The 49ers filled up the injury report, but things generally were not as bad as they could have been. Matt Breida left when he aggravated his ankle injury. He returned later, but the ankle remains an issue. The bye week is still a month away, so we’ll see if he lasts the length of that without missing a game.
Adrian Colbert landed badly with his leg bent backward. It looked like a bad injury and he was carted off the field. However, he later returned to the sideline still in pads and walking without a significant limp. He did not return to the game, but given how that could have gone, the 49ers appear to have dodged a bullet. I suspect he’ll get an MRI on Monday to make sure there is no ligament damage.
Reuben Foster appeared to injure his shoulder on Todd Gurley’s third touchdown late in the game. Foster aggravated what was an existing shoulder issue and finished the game with trainers giving him a look. He will be one to watch this week in practice.
Up next — @ Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers and Cardinals are competing for the bottom of the NFC West, with the two team tied at 1-6. The Cardinals beat the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium, but after their ugly loss to Denver this week, I don’t see how either team can be favored in this one. The battle for a high draft pick continues.