There are many words to describe the Rams’ 23-20 loss to the 49ers on Sunday and not all of them are bad.
Aaron Donald continues to play like the NFL’s premier defensive athlete; a legend who not only lives, he thrives with each breath and heartbeat. Jordan Fuller may qualify his interception — his third in seven days — as being in “the right place, right time” and nothing more. Funny how often the rookie has found himself in those situations and as author Simon Van Booy once wrote, “Coincidences mean you’re on the right path.”
And another first year player, Cam Akers, proved again — to anybody still ignorant enough to not understand football — that running backs matter.
Los Angeles has dropped to 7-4 and Jared Goff has not yet proven to be passable, so to speak, when the Rams are in a must-win situation against a quality defense. That is an issue and the “The Bad” section will cover that. But as quickly as the Rams found themselves in first place after defeating the Seahawks and Bucs in the last two games, so too could the NFL find LA back in the driver’s seat by season’s end.
Jordan Fuller interception
3️⃣2️⃣ with the pick ❕— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) November 29, 2020
2016 All-American Jordan Fuller (@j_fuller4) intercepts a pass for the @RamsNFL#RamsHouse#AllAmericanBowl
Fuller picked off Tom Brady twice last week and he grabs his third career interception here against Nick Mullens. He’s now made a name for himself on defense against one of the best quarterbacks he’ll face in 2020 and also against Brady.
Jeff Wilson fumbles it back to Rams
Jeff Wilson Jr., not great. #49ers give it back immediately pic.twitter.com/HOGr4himNn— Jake Hutchinson (@hutchdiesel) November 29, 2020
Sebastian Joseph-Day was to be displaced somewhat by A’Shawn Robinson, but he had seven tackles and this forced fumble on Sunday. I’m not sure the snap counts yet, but Robinson finished with one tackle. Morgan Fox had the recovery and later added a sack.
Sebastian Joseph-Day credited for the forced fumble, Morgan Fox the recovery.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) November 29, 2020
Aaron Donald forced fumble, Troy Hill recovery for touchdown cuts lead to 4
Aaron Donald forces the fumble and Troy Hill returns it for SIX. #RamsHouse— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
: #SFvsLAR on FOX
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Aaron Donald sack
Aaron Donald: Noted run-defender— PFF (@PFF) November 29, 2020
I want Aaron Donald to be considered for MVP. Even if the Rams did lose this game, who was the most valuable player on either team? Who was the most valuable player in the world on Sunday? It might have been Patrick Mahomes. It might have also been Donald.
Cam Akers has a 61-yard run and then a touchdown
Oh hello Cam Akers. Would like to see him switch the ball to his outside hand tho pic.twitter.com/abStMqIuJ0— Billy M (@BillyM_91) November 29, 2020
Cam Akers gives the @RamsNFL the lead! #RamsHouse— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
: #SFvsLAR on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/eTeTQUzogq pic.twitter.com/EcPm4SptzR
Akers came into the week having posted a previous career-high of 61 yards for a single game total. He got all of that on a single carry against the 49ers, the longest run by a Rams player this season. Akers now has the two longest runs for the Rams this year and he’s the closest thing to an explosive weapon that they have outside of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
Darrell Henderson gained only 19 yards on 10 carries. Akers finished with 84 and he’s scored twice in the last two games.
Malcolm Brown fumble
Wellp. After a third-down conversion, Malcolm Brown loses the ball and the 49ers appear to have recovered.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) November 29, 2020
Unfortunately, Brown had four yards on three carries and a fumble.
Deebo Samuel for 33 yards
Deebo Samuel is lethal.pic.twitter.com/vKFx713Acn— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 29, 2020
This is one of many plays for Samuel, who returned to the field after sitting out the previous month. Samuel bullies players in a similar way to how George Kittle bullies players.
Raheem Mostert touchdown
Welcome back, Raheem Mostert! #FTTB— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
: #SFvsLAR on FOX
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Mostert has been out since a week before Samuel went out. He had 43 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown and a fumble.
Richard Sherman intercepts Jared Goff
And welcome back, Richard Sherman! #FTTB @RSherman_25— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
: #SFvsLAR on FOX
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“Right place, right time” is right for Richard Sherman, who had been out since Week 1. San Francisco was as healthy as they’ve been in weeks, and they still aren’t all that healthy, having played without Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Nick Bosa, among others.
Jared Goff fumbles near end of first half
Jimmie Ward is averaging a forced fumble per quarter pic.twitter.com/4WsT3ff3KL— KNBR (@KNBR) November 29, 2020
More bad news for Goff to end the half. The odds of them getting at least a field goal here were high prior to this play.
Jared Goff throws pick-six to open second half
JAVON KINLAW PICK-SIX ON GOFF— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 29, 2020
This is no worse than maybe a 10-point swing because of Goff and not protecting the football. In a matter of one minute of game play.
Can’t stop Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel is kind of the forgotten man from the 2019 receiver class but when he's on the field, dudes a BALLER!. Just stay healthy. Missed the first 3 games with a broken foot. Missed more games with a hammy issue. But when he's out there he's ballin pic.twitter.com/S95buw5VHt— Crocky (@eric_crocker) November 29, 2020
Samuel had 11 catches and 133 yards.
Goff’s inaccuracy in fourth quarter gives 49ers the ball back in final two
Great coverage, Moseley. On an island with Cooper Kupp and held it down.— Bonta Hill (@BontaHill) November 30, 2020
Sean McVay’s end of game coaching
I don’t get what Sean McVay was doing. I don’t. That last sequence was poor clock & possession management.— Ry (@JustRyCole) November 30, 2020
Defense bailed you out and you failed them today.
Rams took over at their 25, passed five times and punted. SF took over at its 20 and has run 4 times and passed 3.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) November 30, 2020
Granted, SF in general has been running the ball better than the Rams, but...
It’s hard to fathom how a coach can have both the high-highs and the low-lows of Sean McVay.
Jalen Ramsey offsides penalty makes for a shorter field goal attempt
Ramsey may be an elite cornerback but he was far from that adjective in attempting to block Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal from 47 yards out. Gould missed from 50 earlier in the game but he got into a much more comfortable range when Ramsey jumped offsides for no good reason.
This game featured a lot of action early and a lot of intensity late but was packed with a whole lot of little in the middle. The score was 7-3 at halftime and at one point the teams combined for 19 straight drives that didn’t end in an offensive touchdown. It’s easy (and fair) to point to how the Rams started and finished to find reasons for the loss, but perhaps the real culprit is the fact that McVay and Goff and the offensive line and everybody involved couldn’t come away with three more points during that destructively boring and mistake-addled middle.
Kyle Shanahan and Nick Mullens was the better head coach/quarterback combo this week and that’s why the 49ers are 5-6 and only two games behind LA with five games to play.