49ers use defense, Deebo Samuel beats Rams 24-9
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — A dominant defense and Deebo Samuel.
The formula that worked so well for the San Francisco 49ers against the Los Angeles Rams delivered another convincing victory.
Samuel turned a short take into a 57-yard electric touchdownTalanoa Hufanga returned an interception for a score and the 49ers beat the Rams 24-9 on Monday night.
“We knew it was going to be an ice bag match,” Hufanga said. “Every time we play these guys it’s a physical game. For us as a defense we want to be the rock. We want to be strong in defense, hold on and go out there and swarm.
Jeff Wilson Jr. also scored on a 32 yard run it gave the Niners (2-2) their seventh straight regular season win over their state rivals.
The Rams (2-2) won the game that meant the most in last season’s NFC Championship Game en route to a Super Bowl title, but this encounter felt more like their recent regular season encounters.
San Francisco used relentless defense to slow coach Sean McVay’s offense and got enough big plays for the win.
Nick Bosa had two of San Francisco’s seven sacks against Matthew Stafford to give him an NFL best six of the season and Hufanga iced him with his 52-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter. It was San Francisco’s fourth pick against the Rams in their last six regular season meetings.
“An offensive perceptual’s story of the night was self-inflicted injuries,” McVay said. “Just above the neck mistakes where we’re not doing the things we’re capable of and I expect us to be better than that.”
Samuel once again dealt the big blows offensively. The key play came late in the second quarter when he turned what appeared to be a Jimmy Garoppolo interception into a touchdown.
Derion Kendrick jumped the road from 5 yards and almost got the pick. But Samuel dropped out and that’s where his work really began.
He broke tackles from Taylor Rapp and Jalen Ramsey and smashed his way through the Rams defense for the final 52 yards to give the Niners a 14-6 lead.
“It was just me and the ball there,” Samuel said. “I just go out and break tackles like I do all the time.”
Samuel has scored seven touchdowns and thrown another touchdown in eight career games against Los Angeles.
“He does it over and over again,” tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “There’s a reason he’s one of our best players. He delivers for us in our greatest moments at all times, and especially against this damn team.
The Rams moved the ball effectively downfield on the first drive before a Samson Ebukam sack blocked the drive and forced Los Angeles to score a field goal.
Los Angeles struggled to move the ball consistently after that and the Rams couldn’t complete practices when they did. They were bound to score on three trips to the red zone.
San Francisco fought back with big plays that led to two long touchdowns. Wilson took advantage of the rope lock on a 32-yard flurry down the middle on the 49ers’ first drive that made it 7-3.
Samuel added the second touchdown and Robbie Gould threw a 25-yard field goal after a Niners drive stalled at 1. Gould missed a 42-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter to keep the Rams in the game until the Interception of Stafford on a screen that Hufanga perfectly anticipated.
“You can smell a rat when it comes to these things,” he said. “They ran screens all night. I saw a different version than what I’m used to. Instead of following the man, I turned my head and the ball fell on me.
One of the game’s biggest hits came when a protester rushed onto the field late in the second quarter with a device emitting pink smoke.
As the protester approached the sidelined Rams, linebacker Bobby Wagner came out and flattened him with a big hit. The man was taken off the field by security and play was quickly resumed.
“I just saw someone running across the field,” Wagner said. “It looked like he wasn’t supposed to be on the pitch, so I saw that security had a problem, so I helped them.”
Rams: Coleman Shelton, replacing injured center Brian Allen, left the game with an ankle injury in the first quarter. That forced third-string center Jeremiah Kolone into action.
49ers: Colton McKivitz, replacing injured All-Pro LT Trent Williams, left the game in the second half with a knee injury and did not return. … DT Arik Armstead, who missed last week’s game with a foot injury, also left that game with an injured foot and did not return.
Rams: Host Dallas on Sunday.
49ers: Visit Carolina on Sunday.
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