Instant analysis: 49ers rally past Rams 30-23 to start season 2-0

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Deebo Samuel snared the ball, banged his way up the left sideline, and bounded over the goal line for a 49ers touchdown that exemplified their not-so-easy, 30-23 win Sunday.

Samuel’s 11-yard catch-and-run put the 49ers ahead 27-17 in the fourth quarter, and, unlike the 2021 season’s NFC Championship Game here, that proved too much for the Rams to overcome, much to the delight of a pro-49ers crowd inside SoFi Stadium

Deommodore Lenoir’s fourth-quarter interception sealed the 49ers’ victory, their ninth straight in regular-season action against the Rams. It made the 49ers 2-0 for the third time in five seasons, and next up is Thursday night in their home opener against the New York Giants.

This wasn’t the cakewalk like last Sunday’s opener, when the 49ers rolled the host Pittsburgh Steelers 30-7.

With 5:29 left and a 7-point lead to protect, the 49ers’ exhausted defense had 75 yards to stop the Rams from pulling even. Barely 30 seconds into that drive, the Los Angeles-native Lenoir came through with a third-down interception of Matthew Stafford, who was getting pressured by Nick Bosa.

The 49ers converted that gem into points: a 26-yard field goal by rookie Jake Moody. In fact, it was the second interception of the half they  parlayed a takeawy into a field goal. Earlier, with the score tied at 17,  Isaiah Oliver picked off Stafford, and Moody eventually followed with a go-ahead, 58-yard field goal.

As for touchdowns, Samuel’s first of the season came in trademark fashion. In what was classified as a touchdown run, Samuel caught Brock Purdy’s backward pass, left three Rams defenders on the ground at the 10-yard line, cut inside linebacker Ernest Jones’ attempted arm tackle at the 5, found a lane behind Colton McKivitz’s block and pulled linebacker Michael Hoecht with him across the goal line with 11:28 remaining.

That left a lot of time for Stafford, but the Rams could only respond with a 48-yard field goal from Brett Maher to cut the 49ers’ lead to 27-20. Maher kicked another field goal in the final seconds, but that 38-yarder left no time attempt an ensuing onside kick or last-ditch rally.

Purdy improved to 7-0 in regular-season starts, passing for 206 yards (17-of-25, no touchdowns, no interceptions) and running for a fourth-down, 1-yard touchdown as the first half expired to pull the 49ers into a 17-17 tie.

Purdy opened the fourth quarter completing 16- and 31-yard strikes to Samuel and Jauan Jennings. A third-and-1 conversion by Purdy preceded Samuel’s first touchdown of the season.

Moody’s career-best 57-yard field goal is what put the 49ers in front , 20-17, and it was the payoff for Isaiah Oliver’s interception of Stafford in 49ers’ territory. Purdy, however, overthrew Samuel at the goal line on a potential 39-yard touchdown strike the previous snap. It wasn’t surprising, considering that Purdy had earlier overthrows, also, on third-down shots to Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings.

Stafford had picked apart the 49ers’ pass defense by completing 22-of-25 passes (205 yards) until Oliver intercepted a pass off Kyren Williams’ hands. That first …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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