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Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers: Stock up, stock down

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Season’s over. Better luck next year.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Welp. The 2019 NFL Season is officially over for the Los Angeles Rams as they dropped a close one to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 34-31. With the game coming down to the wire, the Rams’ defense failed to stop the 49ers on two separate 3rd-and-16 situations in what turned out to be the game-winning drive.

With the season being over, we should have plenty to talk about, but let’s begin with the stock report from Week 16:

Stock Down

S Taylor Rapp

Not only did Rapp struggle in coverage against elite TE George Kittle, he completely whiffed on his assignment on the biggest snap of the game and allowed a massive 50+ yard completion to WR Emmanuel Sanders, effectively ending the game as the catch put the 49ers in chip-shot field goal range. Rapp did not have a good game, but the ending was just insult to injury.

Special Teams

The special teams units have uncharacteristically struggled for the Rams this season. K Greg Zuerlein missed a 52-yard field goal, P Johnny Hekker hit multiple short punts, and PR NSimba Webster fumbled a punt return. All three guys eventually rebounded throughout the contest, but those are the kinds of mistakes that ultimately come back to bite you in the end.

Running Game

The ground game was pretty awful for the Rams. Outside of two goal-line touchdowns, RB Todd Gurley didn’t do much as he totaled only 48 rushing yards on 3.2-yards-per-carry. His backups in Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson didn’t do much either, and no rusher on the Rams averaged even 4-yards-per-carry. One thing to note: Head Coach Sean McVay clearly elected to go away from the rushing attack in this game, for better or worse.

Stock Up

WR Robert Woods

Woods absolutely balled in this game as he collected eight receptions for 117 receiving yards, chipping in another six rushing yards. Woods is the first Rams receiver with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons since Torry Holt did it more than a decade ago. Mr. Consistent can be relied upon whenever.

TE Tyler Higbee

In the most confusing of ways, Higbee has developed into a modern day Rob Gronkowski right before our eyes after mid-season. Higbee has now eclipsed 100 receiving yards in four straight games as he totaled nine receptions for 104 yards tonight. The contract extension the Rams handed to Higbee a few months ago is looking like a smart move right now, and the chemistry between QB Jared Goff and Higbee is very evident on every pass.

CB’s Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams

The new starting boundary corner duo put on a show tonight, both intercepting their first passes as Rams. Ramsey played an incredible game as he chipped in two pass deflections (one of which landed Williams his interception) and some big hits, while Williams nearly pulled down a second interception on a great rep in coverage against WR Deebo Samuel. These guys were tremendous at silencing the 49ers’ passing attack.

Defensive Line

DT Morgan Fox started the festivities with the first sack of the night, though it definitely didn’t end there. DT Aaron Donald chipped in 1.5 sacks of his own, and EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. added another 2.5 of his own. EDGE Clay Matthews was incredibly lively coming off the edge too, most notably in run support and pressuring QB Jimmy Garoppolo. As if that wasn’t enough, backup EDGE Samson Ebukam came in late in the 4th quarter with a massive sack of his own. Unfortunately for the Rams, the tremendous effort by the defensive line simply wasn’t enough.