The game couldn’t have started better for the 49ers. On the first drive, Jimmie Ward intercepted Matthew Stafford down the field after a miscommunication with Odell Beckham Jr.
The offense followed that up with an 18-play, 93-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle. The 49ers took 11 minutes off the clock after what was one of those “death by 1,000 cuts” drives that was arguably the most impressive drive from any team in the NFL this season.
Ward received his second gift of the night after Tyler Higbee had a pass bounce off his hands and into Ward’s lap. Ward not only caught the pass but walked into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 14-7.
We know the Rams offense wouldn’t be tied down all night. On their third drive, Stafford Van Jefferson for a gain of 16, Cooper Kupp for a gain of 29, and Beckham for a gain of 13 before finding Higbee in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to bring the Rams within seven.
The best teams match scoring drives with scores of their own. The 49ers answered with an 11-play, 91-yard draft that saw explosive plays from both Deebo and Aiyuk on the drive. Samuel capped off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown. The offense was rolling and playing bully ball.
The Rams could’ve cut into the Niners deficit before the end of the first half but elected for a fake field goal that DJ Jones sniffed out to make an impressive open-field tackle.
Both teams traded punts to start the half. The 49ers got in the first 3rd & long of the game and Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked. Talanoa Hufanaga jumped a route on the Rams' third down to break up an underneath throw.
The 49ers converted their 3rd & 6 after Deebo bounced off a defender and ended up gaining 19 yards. The 49ers converted their 3rd & 6 after Deebo bounced off a defender and ended up gaining 19 yards. After a snap where the timing was off that led to a run for negative six yards. A Jauan Jennings penalty made it 2nd & 16. Thankfully, a Robbie Gould kick from 50 yards out was good to make it 24-7.
The Rams punted on all three of their drives in the third quarter. They looked flat, lost, and unprepared.
The 49ers were on the verge of giving the Rams the ball back up 24-7. They went for it on 4th & 6 on the Rams 40-yard line. Garoppolo found Samuel, who, as he tends to do, broke a couple of tackles and raced 40 yards to make it 31-7. Shanahan stepped on the Rams throat with that play-call.
So much for firing DeMeco Ryans, huh? The Rams didn’t have anything for the 49ers defense. After another fourth-down stop, the defense had four turnovers, 1-3 in the red zone, and 3-11 on third/fourth down from DeMeco Ryans’ bunch against the most explosive offense in the NFL.
Bosa had a sack. McVay kicked a garbage-time field goal. And the 49ers are now 0.5 games out of the final NFC playoff spot with the Jaguars on deck.