The Sports Report: 49ers, Christian McCaffrey are too much for Rams

Christian McCaffrey rushes past Jalen Ramsey in the second quarter.
Christian McCaffrey rushes past Jalen Ramsey in the second quarter.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Gary Klein: It was supposed to be the start of the Rams’ second-half sprint.

Coming off a win and an open date, they were confident. With several starters returning from injuries, they were stronger. The defending Super Bowl champions appeared poised to finally make good on their proclamation to run it back.

But the Rams are undeniably running in reverse.

They are running without direction, careening toward possibly eliminating themselves from a postseason opportunity.

And coach Sean McVay and his team continue running up losses — on a seemingly endless loop — against the San Francisco 49ers.


A 31-14 defeat Sunday at Sofi Stadium extended the Rams’ streak of regular-season futility against the 49ers to eight games. Christian McCaffrey rushed for a touchdown. He caught a touchdown pass. He also threw for a touchdown and accounted for 183 of the 49ers’ 368 yards of offense.

It has been close to a half-decade, circa 2018, that McVay outsmarted and outwitted friend and mentor Kyle Shanahan in an NFC West game.

The Rams can point to a victory over the 49ers in last season’s NFC championship game at SoFi Stadium, but that qualifies as a one-off — and a lucky one at that thanks to a dropped interception by the 49ers — not an indication that the Rams have the makeup to become the first team since the 2004 season to repeat as Super Bowl champion.

The loss Sunday dropped the Rams’ record to 3-4, a first for McVay.

“This is a different situation,” McVay said, “but that doesn’t mean you press the panic button.”


Plaschke: Rams better trade for a runner if defending champions really hope to ‘run it back’

What 49ers discovered 3 days before Christian McCaffrey’s 3 TDs in rout of Rams


Photos | Rams can’t keep up with Christian McCaffrey and 49ers in loss

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From Dan Woike: On the first night of the NBA season, it all seemed like such a bad idea.

Russell Westbrook sat at a table just outside the team’s locker room and said that his routine was so disrupted by coming off the bench in the team’s preseason finale that it caused his hamstring to tighten up.

And while it’s probably not all that controversial to think someone who’d done something like start in the NBA had developed a pretty strict routine for more than 1,000 NBA games, the implication around the league was that Westbrook wasn’t going to make Darvin Ham’s life any easier by embracing that option.

Instead, he’s given it a bearhug.

“He’s doing his thing,” Anthony Davis said.

In his second regular season as the Lakers’ sixth man, Westbrook has looked more like himself than maybe any other time in his Lakers’ tenure.

Westbrook got a key offensive rebound and split the Denver defense, switching hands and scoring to ice a 121-110 win, the first of Ham’s head coaching career.

“We needed to prove something to ourselves,” Ham said.

After a sleepy Sunday night start, it was Westbrook who injected life into the Lakers in the first half. And in the second half, it was Westbrook orchestrating the best run of the Lakers’ season, looking into the sounds and basking in the cheers while asking for more.


The Lakers scored 17-straight points, the team’s shooting finally catching up with its defending. Matt Ryan, who earned the Lakers’ 15th spot in training camp, hit a pair of threes, and Lonnie Walker IV, who has struggled badly all season offensively, caught fire all with Westbrook pushing the pace.

He finished with 18 points, eight rebound and eight assists – the Lakers’ bench outscoring Denver’s reserves by 19.

LeBron James scored 26 and Anthony Davis added 23 and 15 after missing one game with his ongoing lower back issues. Later Sunday, Davis appeared to re-aggravate the injury, but he remained in the game.


From Andrew Greif: Late on Oct. 23, one Clippers coach made a plea for perspective after the team’s first defeat, a thorough beating against Phoenix.

“It’s a long season,” he said.

Ever since, however, it has been one long, miserable week, during which the Clippers’ losing streak that began with Phoenix has built to four in a row after a 112-91 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Arena on Sunday — and it isn’t the only thing that has grown.

Missed shots are piling up. Their offense ranks better than only the league-worst Lakers and only 37% of the Clippers’ shots have gone in when the closest defender is four feet or farther away — the NBA’s definition of “open” and “wide open.”


The turnovers haven’t abated, either, now a league-worst 17.5 per game and becoming as reliable as the Clippers’ calls for patience, some saying it could take two months for their full roster to play consistently together.

Perhaps most notable, calls from within the locker room for more intensity, effort and heart have steadily built with each loss.


Column: Clippers need to catch fire before their season is extinguished


From Kevin Baxter: For the second time in three weeks LAFC lifted a trophy at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday. This time it was the Western Conference championship, which will go into the display case next to the Supporter’s Shield the team won earlier this month.

The title celebration was short-lived however, because even with the 3-0 win over Austin FC, LAFC is still one victory short of the prize it really wants: the MLS Cup. It will go after that Saturday when it plays host to the winner of the Eastern Conference final between Philadelphia and New York City.

“We are very pleased with the game we played and the trophy,” midfielder Ilie Sánchez said. “But this is not the one we want to have, or not the only one that we want to have. We look forward to the bigger one.”


Sánchez wasn’t alone.

“In the locker room [there] is still hunger and want for more,” coach Steve Cherundolo said in a celebratory news conference. “We’ll keep the level of focus as high as possible for a week and hope to have a similar press conference next Saturday.”


From Ryan Kartje: Jordan Addison, USC’s top receiver, stood on the Arizona Stadium sideline in street clothes. Close by, the receiver expected to seamlessly step into his place, Mario Williams, would never get on the field. He wore pads and a uniform but wound up a surprise late scratch because of a pregame injury tweak.

Their absences left the Trojans without any obvious answers at wideout, where their top two targets had accounted for 42.5% of the team’s receptions. But in their stead, what might’ve been a nightmare scenario ended in a Caleb Williams career-best passing night as USC beat Arizona 45-37.

Kyle Ford set his mind on a breakout before he knew Addison and Williams would be out of the lineup. Two weeks ago, soon after USC suffered its first loss of the season at Utah, Ford called Caleb Williams and told the quarterback he was going to make an impact.

“He said no more,” Williams said. “He wants to be on the field. He wants to make those catches for me, and he got his opportunity.”


From Ben Bolch: Don’t call it a bounce back.


UCLA rebounded from its first loss of the year with a comprehensive 38-13 win over Stanford on Saturday but didn’t entertain ideas that the victory exorcised any ghosts from last week’s loss to Oregon.

“We don’t live our life in the past,” head coach Chip Kelly said. “We don’t have a rearview mirror in our office. We don’t have a rearview mirror on our practice field. We’re always looking to our next opponent and who we got next. And it’s the same thing with these guys. They can enjoy this win as much as they want tomorrow, but when we come back in Monday morning, we got to set our sights on Arizona State.”


AP Top 25: Tennessee, Ohio State tied at No. 2; USC and UCLA in top 10


1948 — Sammy Baugh of Washington passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns and Dan Sandifer has four interceptions including two for touchdowns as the Redskins beat the Boston Yanks 56-21.

1950 — Earl Lloyd of the Washington Capitols becomes the first African-American to play in an NBA game. Washington loses 78-70 on the road to the Rochester Royals.

1964 — Kelso, running in what is billed as his final race in New York, wins his fifth consecutive Jockey Club Gold Cup, surpassing Round Table as the all-time money-winning thoroughbred. Kelso runs the 2-mile distance in 3:19 1/5, breaking the world record he set as a 3-year-old, four years earlier, by 1/5 of a second.


1969 — Lenny Wilkens, the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, gets his first coaching victory as the Seattle SuperSonics beats Cincinnati Royals 129-121.

1972 — Gaylord Perry wins the AL Cy Young Award.

1981 — Florida State freshman Greg Allen rushes for 322 yards in a 56-31 victory over Western Carolina.

1987 — Eric Dickerson, the NFL’s single-season rushing champion, signs a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts to complete a three-way trade that nets the Rams two running backs and six top draft choices over the next two years. The third part of the deal sends linebacker Cornelius Bennett to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for three of the draft picks that went to the Rams.

1987 — Jockey Chris Antley becomes the first rider to win nine races in a single day. He has four winners in six mounts at Aqueduct and five winners from eight tries during The Meadowlands’ evening program.

1988 — The first Monday Night NFL game was played in Indianapolis; Colts beat the Broncos 55-23.

1998 — Tee Martin of Tennessee, sets NCAA records with 23 straight completions and 24 over two games in the No. 3 Volunteers’ 49-14 victory over South Carolina. Martin is 23-for-24, with a record completion percentage of 95.8, for 315 yards and four touchdowns.


1999 — Tim Couch completes a desperation 56-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Johnson with no time on the clock to give the expansion Cleveland Browns their first victory, a 21-16 win over New Orleans.

2004 — The New England Patriots lose for the first time in more than a year, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-20. The Patriots had won 21 straight games, including the playoffs, and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season.

2006 — Miami’s season-opening 108-66 loss to Chicago is the worst loss in NBA history for a defending champion on opening night.

2008 — The North Carolina Tar Heels are No. 1 in The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25, the first unanimous No. 1 since the preseason poll began in 1981-82.

2012 — Jamal Crawford scores 29 points in 30 minutes in his first official game with his new team, and the Clippers convert 21 turnovers into 29 points in a 101-92 victory that extends the Memphis Grizzlies’ NBA-record streak of opening-night losses to 12. The Grizzlies are 0-12 on opening night since the franchise shifted from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001.

2015 — Triple Crown champion American Pharoah wins the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 6 1/2 lengths in his final race before retirement.


2020 — England beats Italy 34-5 in Rome to win the 29th Six-Nations Rugby Championship.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

American Pharoah wins the final race of his career. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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