Deebo Samuel turned a short catch into an electric 57-yard touchdown, Talanoa Hufanga returned an interception for a score and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-9 Monday night.
Jeff Wilson Jr also scored on a 32-yard run that gave the Niners (2-2) their seventh straight regular-season win over their in-state rivals. The Rams (2-2) won the matchup that meant most in last season’s NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title, but this meeting looked more like their recent regular-season meetings.
San Francisco used a relentless defense to slow down 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 on the season and Hufanga iced it with his 52-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter. It was San Francisco’s fourth pick-six against the Rams in their last six regular-season meetings.
Samuel once again delivered the big blows offensively. The key play came late in the second quarter when he turned what looked to be an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo into a touchdown. Derion Kendrick jumped the five-yard route and nearly got the pick. But Samuel made the catch and that’s when his work really started. He broke tackles from Taylor Rapp and Jalen Ramsey and weaved his way through the Rams defense for the final 52 yards to give the Niners a 14-6 lead.
The Rams moved the ball efficiently down the field on the opening drive before a sack by Samson Ebukam stalled the drive and forced Los Angeles into a field goal. Los Angeles struggled to move the ball consistently after that and the Rams couldn’t finish drives when they did. They were held to field goals on three trips into the red zone.
San Francisco struck back with big plays that led to two long touchdowns. Wilson took advantage of strong blocking on a 32-yard burst up the middle on the opening drive for the 49ers that made it 7-3. Samuel added the second touchdown and Robbie Gould kicked a 25-yard field goal after a Niners drive stalled at the one-yard line. Gould missed a 42-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to keep the Rams in the game until Stafford’s interception.
The game was disrupted at the end of the first-half when a man, believed to be an animal-rights protestor, ran on to the field carrying a flare.
As security staff struggled to chase the man down, Bobby Wagner, the Rams’ 240lb eight-time All Pro linebacker, emerged to tackle him, eliciting an audible cry from the crowd. The protestor was then taken away by security staff.