Matthew Stafford throws two costly interceptions in Rams’ loss to 49ers

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Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is sacked by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner at SoFi Stadium.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is sacked by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner in the third quarter of the Rams’ 30-24 loss Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Matthew Stafford and Rams struggle against the San Francisco defense in the second half, fading down the stretch in a 30-23 loss at SoFi Stadium.

Legit playoff contender? Rams lose to 49ers but defy expectations again

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford scrambles during a 30-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Onward with optimism. Quell those doubts. Don’t completely pause that playoff talk.

The Rams are … legit?

It’s still too early to make that a definitive statement.

But the Rams, despite a 30-23 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, showed again that they might be significantly better than poor preseason projections.

Forty-niners coach Kyle Shanahan continued his dominance over Rams coach Sean McVay during the regular season.

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Matthew Stafford’s two interceptions prove costly in Rams’ loss

🏈 49ers 30, Rams 23 — FINAL

Matthew Stafford threw a pair of interceptions as the Rams struggled to find offense in the second half, suffering their first loss of the young season in front of a 49ers friendly crowd at SoFi Stadium.

Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown. Stafford’s interceptions led to 49ers field goals on the ensuing possessions.

Rams running back Kyren Williams had 52 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries. Williams also caught a touchdown pass.

Brett Maher kicked a 38-yard field goal — his third of the game — as time expired.

Brock Purdy completed 17 of 25 passes for 206 yards and Christian McCaffrey had 116 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

After the Rams scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and went into halftime tied 17-17, they were held to just a field goal in the second half. Jake Moody’s 57-yard field goal in the third quarter pushed San Francisco ahead before an 11-yard touchdown run by Deebo Samuel in the fourth quarter proved too much for the Rams to overcome.

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49ers extend lead on field goal late in fourth quarter

🏈 49ers 30, Rams 20 — 2:59 left in the fourth quarter

Jake Moody kicked a 26-yard field goal to give San Francisco a 10-point lead.

The field goal came after Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was picked off for the second time this afternoon.

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Matthew Stafford throws another interception with time running out

🏈 49ers 27, Rams 20 — 4:48 left in the fourth quarter

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw his second interception of the game, this time getting picked off by San Francisco cornerback (and L.A. native) Deommodore Lenoir on a pass over the middle.

The Rams were already struggling to move the ball out of their territory before the interception.

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Rams cut into 49ers’ lead with Brett Maher field goal

🏈 49ers 27, Rams 20 — 7:13 left in the fourth quarter

The Rams cut into San Francisco’s lead with a 48-yard field goal by Brett Maher to cap off a 14-play, 45-yard drive.

Matthew Stafford and the Rams converted on three third downs and a fourth-and-two to keep the drive live, but it ultimately hit a wall at the San Francisco 30.

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Deebo Samuel touchdown extends 49ers’ lead in fourth quarter

🏈 49ers 27, Rams 17 — 11:28 left in the fourth quarter

Deebo Samuel scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy to give San Francisco its biggest lead of the game so far. It was Samuel’s first touchdown of the drive.

The touchdown pass came at the end of a seven-play, 74-yard drive. A 31-yard reception by Jauan Jennings fueled the drive.

After finding the end zone twice in the second quarter, the Rams have struggled to find consistency on offense in the second half. The 49ers defense is finding ways to put more pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford.

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49ers re-take lead on 57-yard field goal in third quarter

🏈 49ers 20, Rams 17 — 1:21 left in the third quarter

Jake Moody kicked a 57-yard field goal to push the 49ers back into the lead late in the third quarter.

San Francisco managed to drive into Rams territory after 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver picked off a pass from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

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Isaiah Oliver picks off Matthew Stafford in the third quarter

🏈 49ers 17, Rams 17 — 4:44 left in the third quarter

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw his first interception in 163 attempts when 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver picked him off late in the third quarter.

It was Stafford’s first incompletion of the second half.

Rams starting right guard Joe Noteboom is questionable to return after sustaining a shoulder injury early in the third quarter.

Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua has 12 catches today and 19 receptions so far this season — the most ever by an NFL player in their first two career games.

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Brock Purdy touchdown ties game heading into halftime

🏈 49ers 17, Rams 17 — HALFTIME

Quarterback Brock Purdy sneaked for a one-yard touchdown on the final play of the second quarter as the 49ers answered with a touchdown drive in the final 1 minute 45 seconds.

Purdy led a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that included key completions to Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings.

Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick was penalized for pass interference and hands in the face on consecutive plays.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 14 of 18 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Rams running back Kyren Williams has rushed for a touchdown and also scored on a short pass play.

Purdy has completed 11 of 15 passes for 121 yards.

Samuel has four catches for 40 yards.

Christian McCaffrey has rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown in 11 carries.

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Rams take lead on Kyren Williams’ second TD vs. 49ers

🏈 Rams 17, 49ers 10 — 1:45 left in the second quarter

Running back Kyren Williams scored his second touchdown, this one on a four-yard run that gave the Rams their first lead.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford engineered a 13-play, 88-yard drive that consumed 5 minutes 17 seconds.

Stafford’s 18-yard completion to receiver Tutu Atwell was a key play during the march.

Williams has rushed for 38 yards in nine carries. He also scored on a short touchdown pass.

Rookie Puka Nacua has seven catches for 66 yards, Atwell four catches for 55 yards.

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Rams tie game on Kyren Williams touchdown catch

🏈 49ers 10, Rams 10 — 9:49 left in the second quarter

Rams running back Kyren Williams scored on a six-yard touchdown pass to complete an eight-play drive.

Matthew Stafford completed six of seven passes during the drive, including a third-down strike that rookie Puka Nacua turned into a 20-yard gain.

Williams also caught a 10-yard pass.

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San Francisco takes on a field goal to extend its lead

🏈 49ers 10, Rams 3 — 13:32 left in the second quarter

Christian McCaffrey broke free for a 51-yard run that set up Jake Moody’s 27-yard field goal.

McCaffrey has rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown in nine carries.

Brock Purdy has completed seven of eight passes for 57 yards.

The 49ers drove to the Rams’ nine-yard line. But a third-down pass from Purdy to receiver Brandon Aiyuk was overturned after a challenge by Rams coach Sean McVay, forcing the 49ers to settle for the field goal.

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Rams’ first possession ends with a 43-yard field goal

🏈 49ers 7, Rams 3 — 1:54 left in the first quarter

Brett Maher kicked a 43-yard field goal as the Rams answered with an 11-play scoring drive that consumed 6 minutes 31 seconds.

Quarterback Matthw Stafford completed five of six passes for 43 yards. Receiver Tutu Atwell had two catches for 26 yards.

The Rams appeared primed for a possible touchdown opportunity when Stafford completed a pass to receiver Van Jefferson inside the 25-yard line. But the play was nullified because of a holding penalty.

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49ers strike first on a Christian McCaffrey touchdown

🏈 49ers 7, Rams 0 — 8:25 left in the first quarter

Christian McCaffrey burst up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers the early lead.

McCaffrey rushed for 26 yards in five carries durig the 11-play, 75-yard drive.

Last season, in his 49ers debut, McCaffrey ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and passed for a touchdow against the Rams.

Quarterback Brock Purdy completed six of six passes for 49 yards.

Purdy connected with receiver Brandon Aiyuk on passes of 12 and 13 yards to set up McCaffrey’s touchdown.

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Rams won’t reveal why Stetson Bennett is on non-football injury list

Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett looks to pass during a preseason game.
Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett looks to pass during a preseason game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium on Aug. 12.
(Jevrone Moore / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Rams drafted Stetson Bennett to be Matthew Stafford’s backup this season and possible successor down the road.

But those plans took another unexpected turn Wednesday.

Bennett was placed on the non-football injury list, coach Sean McVay said, declining to disclose details.

“Out of respect for him and the situation I’m going to leave all the specifics and particulars in house,” said McVay, whose team is preparing for a game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Bennett, who was inactive in the opener at Seattle because of what was listed as a shoulder injury, must miss four games. He would be eligible to return in Week 6, when the Rams play host to the Arizona Cardinals.

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Cam Akers inactive for Rams vs. 49ers. Is he on the trading block again?

Rams running back Cam Akers warms up before a preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Aug. 26.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Rams running back Cam Akers is inactive for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, the latest turn in a saga that dates to last season.

Akers, a fourth-year pro, was exiled by coach Sean McVay for part of last season because of apparent disagreements about Akers’ role. The Rams attempted to trade Akers, but he returned to the team and finished strong, eclipsing more than 100 yards rushing in each of the last three games.

Akers started last Sunday’s opener against the Seattle Seahawks, but gained only 27 yards and scored a touchdown in 22 carries in the 30-13 victory.

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Richard Sherman on Rams-49ers rivalry: ‘We won all the matchups’

Andrew Whitworth (left) and Richard Sherman at analysts desk for NFL Thursday night football.
Andrew Whitworth (left) and Richard Sherman on the Amazon Prime NFL Thursday Night Football set.
(Alika Jenner / Amazon Studios)

They sit shoulder to shoulder as football commentators but don’t always see eye to eye, especially when it comes to a particularly intense NFL rivalry.

Andrew Whitworth and Richard Sherman, now Prime Video teammates as “Thursday Night Football” analysts, once stood on either side of the sports divide separating Los Angeles and Bay Area.

Whitworth played left tackle for the Rams, Sherman played cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers. Both were All-Pro selections. Both are on track for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Tutu Atwell, Puka Nacua catch 49ers’ eyes ahead of NFC West battle

Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown.
Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua is tackled by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown during the Rams’ season-opening win on Sept. 10.
(Lindsey Wasson / Associated Press)

Tutu Atwell keeps the screenshots on his phone.

Most are critical social media comments. Memes. And other material posted after the Rams selected the receiver in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. Atwell added to the collection during his first two seasons, when he struggled to find a role in coach Sean McVay’s offense.

Atwell has no plans to delete them, not after his first 100-yard game in the season-opening victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Not after Atwell and rookie Puka Nacua became the youngest pair of Rams receivers to eclipse 100 yards receiving in the same game since 1958.

“I just want them to keep doing it,” Atwell said of doubters and critics this week, “because they aren’t doing nothing but make me go harder.”

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Rams-49ers matchups: Line play key against physical San Francisco

Breaking down how the Rams and San Francisco 49ers match up heading into their game at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The game will be televised by Fox.

When Rams have the ball

Rams receiver Tutu Atwell falls to the turf after making a reception against the Seattle Seahawks.
Rams receiver Tutu Atwell falls to the turf after making a reception against the Seattle Seahawks. He finished with a career-high 119 yards receiving.
(Lindsey Wasson / Associated Press)

The Rams look to continue their season-opening prowess, despite the absence of star wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford appeared to be in prime form in a 30-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, passing for 334 yards and making excellent use of receivers Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell. Nacua, a rookie, was targeted 15 times and caught 10 passes for 119 yards. He is listed as questionable because of an oblique injury but is expected to play.

Atwell, a third-year pro, caught six passes for 119 yards. Tight end Tyler Higbee has been a reliable weapon for Stafford. With Cam Akers and Kyren Williams combining for 37 carries, and the line not allowing a sack, the Rams offense sustained drives and gave the defense a chance to rest between series. They must continue to excel against perhaps the most physical defense in the NFL.

Defensive end Nick Bosa, who signed the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, anchors a unit that recorded five sacks in a 30-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, three by end Drake Jackson. Linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have given the Rams fits for years.

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