SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

49ers offense leads the way, defense closes the show on L.A.

Sep 17, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:39 pm

Isaiah Oliver #26 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates an interception during the third quarter ag...

Harry How/Getty Images

The 49ers-Rams rivalry added another entertaining chapter to the history books, with the visitors becoming the victors once again.

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 30-23, extending their regular-season win streak to nine Sunday afternoon. It didn’t come easy though, with the Red & Gold having to rally in various parts of the game to seal the victory.

San Francisco’s offense was full steam ahead from the jump, with quarterback Brock Purdy & Co. driving down the field early. The gunslinger was decisive in his throws all day, spreading the ball to his playmakers on the drive. The biggest catch came on a third-down conversion, hitting wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 13-yard gain downfield. That play left the wideout a little hobbled however, favoring his left shoulder.

Thankful, the 49ers also have running back Christian McCaffrey, picking up the load after that. A few players later, the superstar weapon ran the ball into the endzone from 14 yards out.

An early touchdown score put the 49ers up 7-0 on the Rams.

Los Angeles didn’t roll over though, responding with a long drive of their own.

With QB Matthew Stafford at the helm, the Rams marched down the field in 11 plays. Spreading the ball to wideouts Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, Stafford found his way into 49ers’ territory early.

Their drive was halted after that, resulting in a field-goal attempt that made the score 7-3 after the first quarter. Both sides had lengthy drives in the first half, resulting in only seven possessions total by halftime.

San Francisco responded with another successful drive to start the second quarter, thanks to McCaffrey’s 50-yard scamper along the left sideline. But after some mistakes on the snap, and a challenge that overturned an Aiyuk completion, the 49ers had to settle for three points.

With kicker Jake Moody hitting from 27 yards, the score was 10-3 in favor of the 49ers.

Then the Rams offense really turned on.

Working the short game to perfection, Stafford & Co. marched down the field with ease. Dicicing up the 49ers’ secondary, Nacua half a huge gain of 19 yards on a crossing route to get on the other side of the 50-yard-line. San Francisco shot themselves in the foot after that, missing tackles and committing unnecessary penalties to put the home team in scoring range.

A couple plays later, RB Kyren Williams took a six-yard screen pass to house, tying the game at 10 all.

The 49ers’ offset struggled next, getting two first downs before stalling out near midfield. The biggest miss of the drive came on a deep shot to Aiyuk, with Purdy overthrowing the wideout after making a nice move to shake the cornerback. That was the start of a few throws the young QB missed Sunday, almost costing them the game.

Giving the ball back to the Rams, Stafford strolled down the field once again, this time in five minutes.

Manipulating the 49ers’ soft coverage, L.A.’s air attack picked up serval first downs to find themselves in the redzone for the second time. On the next play, Williams took it to the visitors, scoring from four yards out to take the lead, 17-10.

Now facing two-minute drill, Purdy & the 49ers remained calm, running their offense to a tee. Hitting WRs Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings for big gains, the 49ers were moving in a hurry. Then, Purdy uncorked a deep ball to Samuel, resulting in a defensive pass interference in the endzone.

After trying to score for a few plays, Purdy took it himself as time expired, sneaking it in for the score.

17-17 at the half.

After dominating Week 1 in Pittsburgh, the 49ers’ defense looked a shell of itself, allowing 121 passing yards in the first half. That changed after the intermission though, thanks to CB Isaiah Oliver.

The veteran cover-man was pivotal in the second half, making his presence known with a key third-down stop on the Rams to force a punt. Unfortunately, the 49ers struggled on offense after the break as well, going three & out to start the second half.

The next drive by the Rams saw them drive down the field, using the short-throwing game to churn out yards in a hurry. But after a holding call on the home team backed up, the made their first mistake of the night.

Trying to get the ball to Williams, Stafford threw a fastball at him on second down. The pass bounced off the RB, falling in the hands of Oliver for the interception. A right place at the right time play, gave the 49ers the momentum in the contest.

Driving down the field for a moment, San Francisco settled for three points after Purdy overthrew Samuel on a deep post route. Stepping up to hit the field goal from 57 yards, Moody was money for his second off the night.

That made the score, 20-17 49ers, near the end of third quarter.

San Francisco’s defense reverted back to their usual seals after that, forcing a three & out for the Rams.

Getting the ball back after a minute, the 49ers’ offense marched down the field in less than four minutes. Hitting both Samuel and Jennings for gains of 16 & 31 yards, the Red & Gold found themselves back in the redzone.

A few players later, Deebo Samuel happened.

Taking a backwards pass from the 11-yard-line, Samuel evaded and juked his way past the Rams’ defense, finding his way to the endzone for six points. A play reminiscent of Samuel’s best form, the 49ers took a 10-point lead, 27-17, early in the fourth quarter.

To their credit, the Rams responded well, dicing their way downfield with short throws to Nacua. In fact, the rookie wideout was so effective that he broke the record for most receptions in the first two games of any player’s NFL career (25).

His efforts weren’t enough however, with L.A. settling for three points, making the score, 27-20.

The 49ers didn’t respond well after that, going three & out to keep the Rams in the game.

But when in doubt, the Red & Gold’s defense makes a play when it matters.

Bringing the pressure, San Francisco swarmed Stafford, forcing him into a pivotal third & five situation. The next play, the Rams’ QB fired a strike to WR Van Jefferson, but instead, it was picked off by CB Deommodore Lenoir.

Another huge momentum swing in the visitors’ favor.

After running the ball a few times, San Francisco settled for three points, making the score, 30-20, late in the game.

On the next series, the Rams’ offense couldn’t muster up much. Facing a fourth & 1, the home team’s misdirection didn’t work, with Oliver and defensive end Nick Bosa tackling Williams for a loss and a turnover on downs.

Curtains.

The Los Angeles Rams tried to make it interesting though, hitting a long field goal as time expired Sunday. But in the end, it was too little too late, with a final score of 30-23, in favor of the 49ers.

While the visitors would have preferred a more consistent contest, the win in the standings is all that matters to coach Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers’ play-caller was pleased with his defense’s second half performance, especially Isaiah Oliver.  The veteran cornerback finished with six combined tackles and one interception. But it was his presence on three plays that changed the tide for the 49ers, showing his worth ton the franchise.

While Brock Purdy finished with a relatively good performance (17/25, 206 passing, one TD), his missed throws were the talk of the town. San Francisco ended up scoring 30 points, but could have scored more if he hit his deep shots.

Regardless, Shanahan is proud of his young QB, happy he took care of the football all day.

“They were all tough ones,” Shanahan said about the missed opportunities postgame. “The main thing he did today was protect the ball.”

Purdy ws hard on himself after Sunday’s performance. While he’s happy to have won the game, he took full responsibility for the throws, knowing he left points on the table.

“Those are on me. I’ve got to hit them in stride and be better,” Purdy stated. “It’s what you’ve got to do as an NFL quarterback and I take that upon myself.”

The rest of the team is pleased with their gunslinger though, happy that he kept his composure throughout the contest.

“Everyone is less shocked now when he makes great plays and good decisions,” McCaffrey said about Purdy Sunday. “That’s just who he is. That’s part of winning football games. It’s a four-quarter fight. He did a great job taking care of the ball, always does.”

Purdy & the 49ers won’t have to wait too long to make good on those mistakes, hosting the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football this week.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Thursday, September 21st vs. New York Giants – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 1st vs. Arizona Cardinals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 8th vs. Dallas Cowboys – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST

Thank you for reading SactownSports.com. Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Follow 49ers beat writer Amil Fragoso for all the latest Red & Gold updates.

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