Week 18 and the regular season ended on a bitter sweet note for the Los Angeles Rams who are the NFC West division champions but earn that title while losing a sixth straight game against the San Francisco 49ers. In the overtime bout the 49ers worked out the win 27-24.
Here’s a recap of the good and the bad takeaways from Sunday’s game.
The Rams struck the right tempo in the first half and the offense was clicking. While there was no push from the offensive line, the use of the run game kept the 49ers defense unbalanced enough to make the pass game open up. Stafford connected with Tyler Higbee for two touchdowns one of which was an excellent throw into tight coverage, the other was a well executed play action. Jalen Ramsey had an interception with the 49ers knocking in the red zone with an impressive tip to himself to swing the game. Also when the team needed it, Stafford led a 77 yard drive that ended with a perfect pass to Cooper Kupp in the end zone.
The Rams front lines were outmatched. On both the offense and the defense, it was clear especially in the third quarter that the 49ers line players on both sides of the ball were all winning their matchups against the Rams. To score their second touchdown and tie the game, the 49ers drove the ball 50 yards down the field with 10 consecutive run plays and the Rams had no answer. On the Rams offensive side, Stafford was sacked five times and operated under pressure while the offensive line struggled to hold the pocket.
Nonetheless the Rams are the NFC West division champions and headed to the playoffs to play the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night.
And now for today’s links:
NFL announces Super Wild Card Weekend schedule (NFL.com)
Rams WR Cooper Kupp captures receiving triple crown (NFL.com)
Rams’ 2022 opponents finalized (Rams.com)
Sean McVay’s historic streak of 45 straight wins when leading at halftime snapped by 49ers (RamsWire)
Raiders, Steelers clinch AFC wild-card playoff berths (NFL.com)
T.J. Watt ties NFL single-season sack mark with 22.5 for playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN)
Indianapolis Colts in disbelief after season ends with loss to Jacksonville Jaguars: ‘A bad, bad feeling’ (ESPN)
NFL 2022 draft order, team needs: Jaguars, Lions and Texans clinch top three picks (CBSsports)