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Rams

Rams’ Cody Davis hit with critical penalty late in loss to 49ers

Cody Davis, Jeremy Kerley
Rams safety Cody Davis is called for a penalty while hitting 49ers receiver Jeremy Kerley during the fourth quarter.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Cody Davis sat in front of his locker with his head down.

Like several teammates, the Rams safety couldn’t comprehend  how  his team blew a two-touchdown lead late in the fourth quarter Saturday and lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 22-21, at the Coliseum.

“I think we played pretty well on defense,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to finish the game, that’s all there is to it.”

As it did in several games, the defense played well in the first half but could not make a stop down the stretch.

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Davis’ play was a prime example.

The fourth-year pro from Texas Tech set up a first-quarter touchdown with his first career interception. But he also was called for a critical unnecessary-roughness penalty during the 49ers’ game-winning drive.

Davis’ interception came after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick overthrew tight end Garrett Celek. Davis caught the ball and returned it 29 yards. Tavon Austin’s ensuing touchdown run gave the Rams a 14-7 lead.

“I was excited for the play,” Davis said, “but just like good or bad plays, you’ve got to move on to the next series, so that’s where my focus was.”

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Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams extended their lead to 21-7, giving interim Coach John Fassel confidence the Rams could hang on.

“I even looked at the scoreboard and said, ‘We got a two-score lead, our defense is playing good, got a little momentum scoring a touchdown, let’s finish it,’” Fassel said.

With 2 minutes 2 seconds left and the ball at the 50-yard line, Kaepernick passed toward the 49ers’ sideline. Receiver Jeremy Kerley dropped the ball as Davis hit him, causing Kerley’s helmet to fall off — and an official to throw a flag.

“I mean, that’s on the ref,” Davis said of the controversial call. “I don’t know.”

Davis aimed for Kerley’s “mid- to low back,” he said.

“If he ducks and I end up in his head, that’s his fault, so I was going for a clean hit,” Davis said. “I hit him on the shoulder.”

Said cornerback Trumaine Johnson: “He hit Kerley with his shoulder as he was trying to catch the ball. I don’t know, man, this league’s refs … I don’t know what’s going on.”

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The penalty moved the ball to Rams’ 35-yard line. Six plays later, Kaepernick passed to Rod Streater for a touchdown, and Kaepernick scrambled to convert the game-winning two-point conversion.

lindsey.thiry@latimes.com

Twitter: @LindseyThiry

The Rams blew a 14-point lead late in the fourth quarter to fall to the San Francisco 49ers, 22-21, for the second time this season.


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