The Rams will try to regroup against San Francisco
November 11, 2021
The Rams will have an extra day to prepare for their 144th regular season meeting with archrival San Francisco 49ers for this week's Monday Night Football game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Los Angeles is recovering from a humbling 28-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday at SoFi Stadium when they self-destructed offensively very early and defensively very late in the game.
"We're not going to allow one game to define us, said Rams head coach Sean McVay at the press conference after the game. "I don't think that's reflective of the type of football team we are. We had a rough night. It really seemed like that was kind of the narrative for the night. A lot of those things that occurred are uncharacteristic. I choose to believe that tonight was not a reflection of who we are. We can look at it, correct it, and we'll keep it moving."
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw two head-scratching interceptions in the second quarter, both leading to Titan touchdowns within 11 seconds of each other. The 11-point deficit increased ten minutes later when Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill scored on a one-yard bootleg and the Rams never recovered from the 21-3 halftime score. The fourth quarter offered a slight window but two 15-yard personal foul calls on the Rams defense shut it down.
"I basically spotted them 14 points. Can't do that in the NFL, especially against a good team like that... just wasn't good enough early in the game," said Stafford. "Our defense played good, good enough to keep us in the game. If we don't turn the ball over twice it gives us a chance to win that one. I got to play better myself first and foremost."
The loss dropped the Rams (7-2) back into second place in the NFC West behind the Arizona Cardinals (8-1). The Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers are tied for third with 3-5 records. However, when the Rams and 49ers get together, the records can be thrown out the window in one of the NFL's best rivalries. The Niners have the edge in the all-time series with 73 wins, 67 losses, and three ties, including having won the last four games between the two teams.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has a 5-3 record against his good friend McVay, as they both began coaching their respective teams starting in 2017. The Niners started this season with two wins but have lost five of their last six games. The Rams had won seven of their first eight games before Sunday's unexpected collapse against Tennessee. With the Rams having one of the toughest schedules in the second half of the season, a loss to the 49ers on Monday Night Football would be a major setback in winning the Division.
Unlike the Rams who have strived under Stafford this season, the 49ers quarterback situation has been challenging. Quarterback Jimmy Garappolo suffered a calf injury in a loss to the Seahawks on October 3. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance played the following week in a loss at Arizona and suffered a knee sprain. Garappolo recovered to start the last three games, including one win over the Chicago Bears before losing once again to Arizona, 31-17, at home this past Sunday.
The Rams are expecting a much better result than the last time they played at Levi's Stadium on Monday night. That resulted in a 28-0 shutout loss on what was supposed to be Jared Goff's debut with the Los Angeles Rams to open the 2016 season after being selected No. 1 in the NFL Draft earlier that year. Of course, history shows that former Rams head coach Jeff Fisher didn't allow Goff to even put on his uniform for that game. Fortunately for the Rams, the head coach and quarterback situations are light-years better than that night.
All the momentum was supposed to be in the Rams favor against the Titans on Sunday. Tennessee had just lost the NFL's best running back, Derrick Henry, to injury the previous week. They signed future Hall of Fame back Adrian Peterson to replace him with.Peterson along with running backs D'Onte Foreman and Jeremy McNichol finished with 69 total yards on 26 carries, but it was the time they ate up on the clock that did the most damage.
"We've moved on since Derrick," said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel after the game. "We knew that he wasn't going to be with us early in the week. I felt like the guys responded, had a great week. Coaches got players ready that weren't here, and they played in the game and they made plays to help us win."
The Rams had also acquired Future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller from the Denver Broncos to add to their defensive cache. The excitement built up during the week never translated to the playing field as Miller never suited up due to addressing an ankle injury. With the Rams offense sputtering for much of Sunday night, Miller's presence likely would not have made a difference.
"He's doing a great job of attacking his rehab and his treatment with Reggie (Scott, VP of Sports Medicine and Performance) and his group. I know he's really tough and I know he wants to get out on the field," said McVay about Miller's condition. "If he's able to go this week, that's definitely a positive for us. I think we'll be careful. We want to make sure we don't put him at harm's risk for setting himself back."
Two more wide receivers were subtracted from the group this week as DeSean Jackson signed with the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday after being given permission from the Rams to seek another team to play for. Jackson had seen very little action this season after being signed earlier in the year. The Rams took another injury hit when Jacob Harris tore his ACL and MCL covering a punt return against the Titans. The current receiving corps consists of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek , and J.J. Koski.