In what was one of the weirdest and most unpredictable games that swung in both teams’ direction a number of times, the Los Angeles Rams came up short against their division rivals. The San Francisco 49ers, without Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle, pulled off the upset and beat the Rams 23-20 on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams drop to 7-4 on the year and will need a loss by the Seahawks on Monday night in order to maintain first place in the NFC West. This is their fourth straight loss to the 49ers, getting swept by Kyle Shanahan’s team for the second consecutive year.
Robbie Gould’s 42-yard field goal as time expired capped off the win for the 49ers, sinking the Rams at SoFi Stadium. Here’s a quick recap of the Week 12 loss.
Jared Goff had one of his worst games of the season, once again struggling against Robert Saleh’s defense. He turned the ball over three times and was just off all game long, missing receivers and being careless with the ball. He was the biggest reason for the Rams losing this game.
The secondary played fairly well, but Los Angeles couldn’t stop the run or set the edge at all on Sunday. San Francisco rushed for 114 yards, doing it both on the inside, off-tackle and with jet sweeps. The Rams simply had no answer for the 49ers’ ground game, nor for Deebo Samuel. He had 134 yards on 11 catches, some of which were jet-sweep touch passes that were essentially running plays.
Micah Kiser hasn’t been great this year, but the Rams missed him in this one. Troy Reeder was getting eaten up by blocks all afternoon despite making 15 tackles, and Kenny Young wasn’t much better – save for a nice tackle for loss against the run.
The Rams struggled in all phases on offense, but they were especially bad on third down. They converted just four of 13 times, which stalled drives and led to far too many punts. They punted seven times, including on four of their last six possessions.
When the Rams needed a spark most, Aaron Donald provided one. After already tipping a pass that led to an interception, he stripped Raheem Mostert in the backfield, and the fumble was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Troy Hill. Then he sacked Nick Mullens on the first play of the next possession, stalling another 49ers drive. Donald was outstanding on Sunday.
It was over when…
…Robbie Gould hit a 42-yard field goal attempt as time expired to win the game for the 49ers. Deebo Samuel’s 24-yard catch-and-run on third down during that game-winning drive was pivotal, but it didn’t seal the win for San Francisco, nor did the 49ers’ fourth-down conversion a few plays later.
The Rams defense couldn’t hold when it needed to most, giving up 56 yards on 11 plays during the 49ers’ final drive of the afternoon.
Play of the game
Donald was a one-man wrecking crew for a brief period in the third quarter, with his best play of the afternoon leading to a touchdown. He stripped Raheem Mostert in the backfield, forcing the fumble which was recovered and returned 20 yards by Troy Hill for a touchdown.
It was a much-need spark for the Rams, who were stalling offensively and struggling to score points on that side of the ball.
The Rams will head back on the road in Week 13, but their trip won’t be very far. They’ll travel to Arizona for their first meeting of the year with the Cardinals, with kickoff set for 4:05 p.m. ET next Sunday. The Cardinals are just 6-5 and need a win to stay in the hunt in the NFC playoff picture.