SAN FRANCISCO –
– After a disappointing loss in Tampa Bay three weeks ago, it was hard to fathom the Rams could find a way to lose in more gut wrenching fashion. But that’s precisely what happened in Sunday’s missed opportunity against the 49ers.
– It was a game in which the Rams and Niners seemed about dead even through one half but the Rams appeared to get past their second half woes on the road and came out to jump to a lead in the second half. But they were unable to hang on as the offense couldn’t get the first downs it needed and the defense couldn’t get the stops it needed.
– More on the game in a moment after we hit the injury front…
– The only ailment of note coming out of this one was an ankle injury that kept left guard Rodger Saffold for the majority of the game. Saffold had an X ray on the ankle which came back negative. It will likely be sore tomorrow but initial indications were that it wasn’t anything serious.
– Throughout the game, the Rams dealt with some cramping issues but players such as Oshiomogho Atogwe and Steven Jackson were able to play through it and return.
– As for the game, coach Steve Spagnuolo expressed great disappointment in falling short but delivered the message to his team that he was proud of how it continued to battle, even after the last drive that put them behind. He believes his team will continue to plug away and find a way to get a win in a game such as this.
– Speaking of continuing to fight, how about QB Sam Bradford? Great drive to tie it at the end and one dropped pass in the red zone might have been the game winning touchdown.
– Bradford will have a nightmare or two over the throw he missed to Danny Amendola early in the game that would have gone for a touchdown. But otherwise, he was again solid. He finished 30-of-42 for 251 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions for a rating of 94.4. That’s four straight games without a pick for Bradford.
– Jackson didn’t have much room to run today but he made a difference other ways and Pat Shurmur did a good job of creating ways for him to get the ball in space. Jackson finished with 81 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown and had 67 receiving yards on eight catches.
– Jackson’s 25 yard catch down the right sideline late in the game nearly gave the Rams the boost needed to pull off the win in regulation.
– Still, despite the efforts of Bradford, Jackson and Co., it was disappointing that the Rams were unable to get first downs and keep the clock moving in the fourth quarter. Starting with the last play of the third quarter, the Rams went four consecutive series without gaining a first down. To win a game like this one, sometimes a first down here or there can make all the difference.
– On the other side of the ball, the story of the day was big plays. The Rams gave up nine plays of 21 or more yards and had two pass interference penalties that also went for more than 20 yards. Otherwise, the Niners struggled to move the ball. They went 0-for-11 on third downs. Still, the Rams couldn’t get off the field when needed most.
– Never was there a more disappointing time than when the Rams nursed a 17-13 lead late in the game and a holding penalty nullified a 49ers touchdown. That pushed San Francisco back to its side of the field for third-and-33. They converted two plays later. The word for that being used in the Rams locker room by the likes of Spagnuolo and MLB James Laurinaitis? Inexcusable. That just can’t happen.
– From the Department of Redundancy Department: Chris Long is good, really good. He absolutely dominated from his spot today, coming up with a sack, narrowly missing a few others and drawing more holding penalties on the tackle attempting to block him.
– Craig Dahl was also all over the field, finishing with 13 tackles in unofficial pressbox statistics. But he’d be the first to say he’d like to have that missed interception back near the end zone. The Niners managed a field goal after that. Without it, the Rams probably win.
– I suppose I don’t know what the standard for an uncatchable ball is because it certainly seemed as though the pass interference penalty on Atogwe was the very definition of that call.
– It will get lost in the shuffle but punter Donnie Jones deserves major credit for his performance on Sunday. Jones finished with an average of 43.7 yards per punt and a net of the same amount. His hang time was outstanding as the Niners couldn’t manage a return. That was on 10 punts. Terrific work.
– That will do it for tonight. Things don’t get any easier for the Rams as they get back to work this week with a tough, tough Atlanta team coming to town. They’ve showed their resilience time and again this year but that will be challenged once again this week.
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