The Rams opened the season with a 30-13 win against the Seahawks. Only four other NFL teams managed a higher-margin win against their opponents, one of which is the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers opened their season with a 30-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, setting a great pace from week 1 and positioning themselves as the favorites for week 2. The Rams-49ers game was held at SoFi Stadium. But despite being a home game for the Rams, they remained the underdogs. Here is why.
In the third largest spread of the week, major sportsbooks put the 49ers as 7-point favorites over the Rams. Bettors could easily Find more tips with The Sports Geek for the game, most of which pointed to the 49ers as the more likely winners. The Rams had a magnificent start to the season with their 17-point victory in week 1. But the 49ers had a bigger-margin victory of 23 points. The opening lines for their week 2 match were, thus, set as follows: Over/Under (O/U) 42.5 (O: -110 U: -110); Against the spread (ATS) 49ers -7 (-110), Rams +7 (-110); Moneyline (ML) 49ers -300, Rams +240.
Considering the Rams covered the spread easily in their week 1 games, this was a fair assessment of their strength against the 49ers. The odds said the Rams were good but not good enough to beat the 49ers – And they were right. This Sunday, the Rams lost to the 49ers 30-23.
Despite their loss, the Rams kept the margin small. At some point in the first half, they were even ahead 17-10. This is especially impressive, considering most sportsbooks had discounted the Rams as 7.5 underdogs for the home game.
Standout Rams Players
The Rams might have lost, but they kept the 49ers on their toes throughout the match. The slim 7-point margin is thanks to some standout players who came out ready to win, including fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua. Puka played a great game in week 1, catching 10 passes for 119 yards, but his Sunday game was a prime showing of talent. Nacua picked up 147 yards receiving, catching 15 passes on 20 targets. He is the first player in League history with 10 catches and 100 yards for his first two career games.
Kyren Williams was also on top of his game this Sunday. The smaller-than-average running back met every challenge the Rams threw at him, scoring a touchdown, carrying 14 times for 52 yards, and scoring again and catching 6 times for 48 yards.
Rams Run Defense
But the great game these young players put forward was somewhat hampered by the wanting Rams run defense. The 49ers have a strong ground game that stymied the Rams at every turn. The Rams' run defense was also weak in week 1, but the problem became even more dire against the 49ers' superior rushing. San Francisco ran the ball 28 times for 159 on-the-ground yards and scored three touchdowns.
If the Rams want to beat the 49ers in their next game, they must improve their run defense. The team should also consider losing Van Jefferson, who had arguably his worst game yet. Jefferson only managed to catch one out of four passes targeted at him for a measly 9 yards. He also dropped a throw on third down over the middle.
The Rams went into the game as 7.5 underdogs. And while they did lose to the 49ers, they put up a great fight and managed to keep the margin small. They might do better by swapping out Jefferson and working on their run defense in the coming weeks.