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Rams race to fix what went wrong vs. 49ers before next primetime test against Bears

 Rams kicker Samuel Sloman (1) is greeted by teammates after kicking a field goal against the 49ers.
Rams kicker Samuel Sloman is greeted by teammates after kicking a field goal against the 49ers. He missed another extra point, however, drawing concern from coach Sean McVay.
(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

With a “Monday Night Football” game against the Chicago Bears coming next week, the Rams get an extra day of preparation — and perhaps reflection — before they play again.

Coach Sean McVay and his players are determined to put Sunday night’s 24-16 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers behind them. The Rams dropped to 4-2 and 0-1 in the NFC West after their worst performance of the season.

“I don’t believe that last night is reflective of the caliber that we can play at,” McVay said Monday during a videoconference.

The Rams will need to be better against a Bears team that improved to 5-1 with a victory Sunday over the Carolina Panthers.

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“We got punched in the mouth this past week, and we’re just ready to get that taste out of our mouth and get back to work,” Rams linebacker Micah Kiser told reporters. “That all you can really do.”

Quarterback Jared Goff and receiver Cooper Kupp must re-establish their connection. The defensive front needs to rediscover its formula for pressuring quarterbacks. And the Rams must make sure the pre-snap penalties that plagued them were an aberration.

Many were counting the 49ers out of the NFC West race as losses and injuries piled, but San Francisco showed it is still a contender after a 24-16 victory over the 49ers.

Those are obvious areas of concern that will be addressed this week. McVay won’t be able to fix others until the Rams are on the field at SoFi Stadium.

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Rookies Cam Akers and Van Jefferson, for example, played key roles in the first five games. Akers started two games, then returned from injury and broke off a 46-yard run against Washington. Jefferson rotated in and made several important third-down catches.

But Akers played only one snap against the 49ers. Jefferson played three on offense.

The Rams went into the game with Akers and fellow running backs Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown all physically sound for the first time. Henderson played 32 snaps, Brown 27.

McVay said a dearth of snaps in the first half, and the inability of the offense to get into a rhythm, prevented Akers from getting more opportunities.

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Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (27) runs past the 49ers' defense.
Darrell Henderson Jr. (27) played a running backs-high 32 snaps for the Rams against the 49ers. He ran 14 times for 88 yards.
(Toniy Avelar / Associated Press)

“It was nothing that Cam didn’t do,” McVay said.

The flow of the game will dictate how many snaps Akers and Jefferson receive, McVay said.

“Those are things that we’ve got to continue to figure out and work through,” he said, “because they shouldn’t have to be punished for that.”

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Rookie kicker Samuel Sloman is getting numerous opportunities — and appears to be testing McVay’s patience.

Sloman has made seven of nine field-goal attempts, including a high of 42 yards against the 49ers. But another extra-point kick was blocked. Sloman has made 15 of 18 attempts.

“We’ve said week in and week out — obviously we want to not have to continue to talk about the missed extra points,” McVay said, noting that Sloman responded by kicking the field goal.

Sloman also did not properly execute a kickoff after the Rams scored a touchdown with less than four minutes left.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills while Kyler Murray had a happy homecoming in the Arizona Cardinals’ 38-10 rout over the Dallas Cowboys.

With the 49ers lined up for a possible onside kick, Sloman was supposed to kick the ball short of the end zone “to pin them deep,” McVay said. Instead, Sloman’s kick went into the end zone for a touchback.

The 49ers got the ball at the 25-yard line and ran out the clock.

“That was not what we wanted,” McVay said. “He’s got to improve and that’s where we’re at.”

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Etc.

The Rams emerged from the loss to the 49ers with no significant injuries, McVay said. ... The Rams are off Tuesday.


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