What we learned from Rams’ 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers

Case Keenum is not the model of consistency he displayed during the exhibition season

The Rams quarterback struggled mightily in his first opening-game start.

He completed 17 of 35 passes for 130 yards, with two interceptions, and failed to move the offense to the red zone, let alone the end zone.

The 49ers’ blitzes helped create constant pressure on Keenum, who was sacked twice but pressured or hit innumerable times.

Keenum and his receivers also created their own problems. Many times, it appeared as if they were running different plays.


All of that added up to an embarrassing Week 1 effort.

Aaron Donald has a temper

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle was ejected after receiving roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties.

The lasting image of Donald, and the Rams, will be when Donald took off his helmet and slammed it to the ground in the middle of the field before he was escorted to the locker room.

“I let my emotions get the best of me, no excuses,” he said. “I can’t make mistakes like that to hurt my team. I have to fix it.

Donald had reason to be frustrated.

San Francisco quarterback Blaine Gabbert repeatedly turned potential negative plays into clutch gains with timely scrambles. Penalties against the Rams– such as two holding calls on cornerback Lemarcus Joyner – also kept alive 49ers scoring drives.

And the unproductive Rams offense kept the Rams defense on the field.

But Donald is too valuable to put himself in position to be tossed.

Todd Gurley might need a few games to get going

Coach Jeff Fisher treated his star running back with care and played him in only one series during four exhibitions.

That was unquestionably wise strategy because it protected the reigning NFL offensive rookie of the year from injury.

Bill Plaschke, Sam Farmer, Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry break down the Rams’ 28-0 loss to the 49ers in a season opener at Levy’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

But it also prevented Gurley from developing much of a feel going into the start of the season. He finished Monday night’s game with only 47 yards in 17 carries and his longest run went for 10 yards.

In 2015, Gurley was recovering from knee surgery, so he was kept out of exhibitions and did not start until Week 4. He finished as the NFL’s third-leading rusher.

The Rams need Gurley to contribute earlier this season.

The offensive line remains a work in progress

Rob Havenstein’s return at right tackle enabled the Rams to start the same offensive line that played together most of last season.

The continuity did not help against the 49ers.

Just as Keenum’s and Gurley’s successes are tied to the players up front, so are their struggles.

So the line had better correct its mistakes this week before the Seattle Seahawks defense comes to town.

Kenny Britt does not shy from political statements

Two years ago, before a game against the Oakland Raiders, receiver Kenny Britt was one of five Rams players who did a “hands up, don’t shoot” pose in support of demonstrators in Ferguson, Mo.

On Monday night, Britt and defensive end Robert Quinn raised their fists during the playing of the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick, backup quarterback for the 49ers, has sat or knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial oppression in the United States. Teammate Eric Reid has joined him and several other players around the league took part in similar protests on opening weekend.

“Fisher asked us to stand, and I respect him enough to stand,” Quinn said. “But the reason I raised my fist is to show support out there. I didn’t want to distract the team. I just wanted to have my right and my freedom.”

Staff writers Mike DiGiovanna and Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.


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