The Rams and the 49ers provided us with one of the most entertaining games in Thursday night NFL history. LA defeated San Francisco in an unexpected shootout,41-39. Both teams should feel optimistic leaving this game, but it’s Los Angeles that really made a statement.
The Rams got on the board quickly, scoring on their first play after an interception by Nickell Robey-Coleman. Then, having given the 49ers the first touchdown of their season, the Rams drove down the field and scored again on a Todd Gurley reception. A few field goals later, Todd Gurley would reach the end zone for the third time in the first half and give the Rams a 24-13 lead at halftime.
Each team scored again in the third quarter, including Sammy Watkins’ first as a Ram. Los Angeles also had a field goal in the third to extend their lead, but then the 49ers began to strike. The 49ers scored on their first drive of the fourth quarter, unfortunately for them, Robbie Gould missed the extra point, which would prove critical down the stretch. The Rams answered the score again when Jared Goff connected with Sammy Watkins for his second touchdown of the game and putting the score at 41-26 with 8:43 to go in the fourth.
Brian Hoyer wouldn’t let his team give up, leading the 49ers down the field and into the end zone, and then again after the Rams fumbled on the kickoff. That put the score at 41-39, forcing the Niners to go for two because they missed an extra point earlier. On the conversion attempt, Hoyer’s pass was off target and to an off-balance receiver and leaving the Niners down two points. The 49ers, forced to go for an onside kick, recovered and were given one last chance to win the game. But penalties stalled San Francisco and the 9ers turned it over on downs, securing the Rams’ victory.
Rams’ offense exploded
The Rams had the worst offense in the league a year ago, but don’t tell them that now. Los Angeles has put last year in the rearview mirror, firing on all cylinders Thursday night. It started on the ground with Gurley. Todd Gurley had 113 yards on 28 carries and added 36 receiving yards on five catches, to go along with his three first-half touchdowns.
Gurley got the ball rolling, but it was Goff and the passing game that made the biggest statement. There were a lot of questions surrounding Goff’s ability after a tough rookie year, but he responded strong Thursday. Passing for 292 yards and three touchdowns, perhaps all Goff ever needed were weapons like Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins to throw to. Both Woods and Watkins finished with over 100 receiving yards on six catches each. This Rams’ offense looked both dangerous and balanced, and I don’t see them going away.
The emergence of Goff has lifted this offense and this team into contention in the NFC West. With the Seahawks looking anemic offensively and the Rams looking good offensively and defensively, they might even be considered the favorite right now. The Rams did struggle in the fourth, but they are not used to playing with a lead like that, so I’ll chalk that up to the unfamiliar territory, but they will need to clean it up. Overall it’s looking real positive on this side of Los Angeles, but we’ll see how the Rams look two Weeks from now after facing Dallas and Seattle.
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