Rams Remain Undefeated with Victory over 49ers
Face Green Bay Packers Sunday
October 25, 2018
Any thoughts of a ‘trap’ game on the road were quickly dispelled. The Los Angeles Rams remained undefeated as they punished the San Francisco 49ers, 39-10, before a resigned crowd of 66,597 at Levi’s Stadium. The two best players on the field and perhaps in the league were a lethal combination, pummeling the Niners on both sides of the ball.
The 49ers were no match for the NFL’s reigning Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year. Aaron Donald led a relentless Ram defense that caused four turnovers while snaring four of the team’s seven quarterback sacks. Todd Gurley spurred the Ram offense with three touchdowns for a season total of 14… better than eight NFL teams’ touchdown totals through Week 7.
“This stretch of three games that we’ve won on the road now proved vital. And I think the games we are going to look back on will be like: “Oh, what a tough stretch.” And we came away with a win today,” said Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
“One of the best defensive performances I’ve been around. It seemed like every time we sat down we went back up and went on the field. They were really incredible. Aaron was Aaron today.”
The win improved the team’s road record to 11-1 during the past two seasons under 2017 NFL Coach of the Year Sean McVay. It also improved the Rams overall record to 22-5 since he took control last seson. They have scored 30 or more points in six games this season, ahead of last season’s pace of nine games scoring 30 or more while leading the league with a 29.9 scoring average.
“I thought the defense was outstanding from the start. Did a good job of applying pressure on (C.J) Beathard (49er quarterback) all day,” said McVay. “Did a good job stopping the run. To be able to get seven sacks and four turnovers, for those four turnovers to lead to 24 points, that’s true complimentary football.”
The Rams scored the first 22 points of the game in the first half. Early in the first quarter linebacker Samson Ebukam sacked Beathard, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Trevon Young at the 49er 44-yard line. Greg Zuerlein kicked a 37-yard field goal, his first since the first game of the season, seven plays later.
Late in the first quarter Donald began his reign of terror as he forced and recovered running back Matt Breida’s fumble at the Niner 21-yard line. Four plays later Gurley streaked for a 7-yard touchdown. Three plays later Donald got his first sack on third down setting up Cory Littleton blocking Brad Pinion’s punt out of the end zone for a Rams safety at 12:59 in the second quarter.
“Can't really understate what a great job and what an impact Cory Littleton's made for our football team to be at where we're at right now,” said McVay. “Aaron, I knew he had a really productive day… how he's getting there and affecting and influencing the game in a variety of ways from his position was really impressive. That's why he's the man."
Zeurlein added a 37-yard field goal at 10:05 in the second quarter for a 15-0 lead. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught his second touchdown of the season, a 19-yard reception late in the quarter. Beathard hit 49er wide receiver George Kittle at end of the first half to trail 22-7.
The game was virtually over on the first play from scrimmage of the second half as Donald sacked Beathard for nine yards with one swipe from his big left paw. The Rams then drove 60 yards setting up Zuerlein’s third field goal of the game. Three plays later Ram safety John Johnson intercepted Beathard and returned it 11 yards to the 49er 27-yard line.
Three plays later Gurley punched a one-yarder for his second touchdown. He scored his third touchdown, a 12-yard screen pass from Goff at 11:44 of the fourth quarter. Gurley leads the NFL in scoring with 88 points: 11 rushing touchdowns, three receiving and two 2-point conversions. Zuerlein led the league in scoring last season with 158 points.
Donald again sacked Beathard at the 49er 5-yard line early in the fourth quarter. He set his personal game quarterback sack record on the Niners next possession and now leads the NFL with eight total. He filed a legitimate claim on being the most valuable player in the NFL but is still not satisfied.
“It wasn’t easy. The secondary did a great job,” said Donald postgame. “I know I got room for improvement. We all got room for improvement. Just got to keep getting better, stay hungry and keep this thing rolling because being 7-0 feels good. But we got to stay hungry.”
The Road Warrior Rams finally return home to host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at the Coliseum. The Packers (3-2-1), currently in second place in the NFC North and coming off a bye week, are led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Entering the week a 9.5 underdog, the Packers are only going to go as far as Rodgers can take them… and he’s physically limited rehabbing a left knee injury. So they have a slight chance against a Los Angeles squad that is riding a perfect wave unimaginable two years ago when the Rams were the worst offensive team in the league.
“You talk about a guy that has the ability to make all the throws from different platforms, whether it's in the pocket, out of the pocket, ability to create off schedule,” said McVay about Rodgers. “He's a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and he's got unbelievable athleticism, too, to buy time.”