Monday Night Football Recap: 49ers top Rams 24-9 behind dominant defensive effort leaving entire NFC West at 2-2

Mandatory Credit: Photo by JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13437577a) San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (L) heads to the end zone for a 57 yard touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter of their National Football League (NFL) game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, USA, 03 October 2022. Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, Santa Clara, USA – 03 Oct 2022

Monday Night Football Recap: 49ers top Rams 24-9 behind dominant defensive effort leaving entire NFC West at 2-2

49ers 24 , Rams 9

The rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams goes back to the Rams’ previous stint in Los Angeles but has been intensifying once again as the two teams have established consistently solid teams in recent years. Fans in San Francisco and Los Angeles aren’t particularly friendly in any sport, but football was mostly excluded from the animosity for many years. That’s all changed with the Rams’ newfound success, which resulted from relentless spending and hemorrhaging of future assets. The feeling of hatred for Bay Area fans was especially fresh entering Monday night after watching San Francisco’s last season end in the NFC Championship game, blowing a 17-7 second-half lead to the Rams. 

San Francisco played with emotion in front of a capacity crowd on Monday night, beating the Rams for the seventh consecutive time in the regular season. The 49ers hadn’t allowed a first-half touchdown all season, a trend they continued as they sacked Matthew Stafford four times to build a 14-6 halftime lead. Deebo Samuel finished the half with 79 yards receiving, including a 57-yard touchdown that extended San Francisco’s lead. 

Cooper Kupp put up big numbers for the Rams once again, posting 122 yards on 14 receptions (a career-high) to continue a stretch of dominance that began in earnest last season. Los Angeles would produce a strong drive the first time they touched the ball after halftime but stalled out in the red zone and settled for their third field goal of the night. San Francisco would respond with a punishing drive of their own but also settled for a field goal after the Rams’ defense stood firm at the one-yard line, making it 17-9 Niners early in the fourth quarter. 

49ers’ safety Talanoa Hufanga would bury the Rams for good with just over six minutes to play, intercepting Matthew Stafford and returning it for a 52-yard touchdown to put San Francisco ahead 24-9. It was the second straight season that Stafford had been victimized by a Monday Night Football pick-six at Levi’s Stadium and was representative of a game that felt very similar to last year’s 31-10 drubbing. The Rams’ last-ditch attempt at mounting a comeback ended in a lost fumble, Stafford’s second turnover of the night, sealing the win for the 49ers.

The San Francisco win moved the entire NFC West division to 2-2, setting up a 13-game season to determine who will reign supreme in what was considered the NFL’s best division just over a year ago. San Francisco held the Rams without a touchdown for the first time this season, somehow improving on an average of 12.3 points allowed entering tonight. It was also the first game in 15 years without a 20-yard play at any point by the Rams’ offense. Deebo Samuel was the star on offense for the 49ers, ending the night with 115 yards receiving and a touchdown. 

Next Week: San Francisco: at Carolina, Los Angeles: vs Dallas

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