Hello, my name is Andy and welcome to my live blog of Monday Night Football in the NFL. The Los Angeles Rams travel to the San Francisco to take on their NFC West rivals, the 49ers.
For a couple of years, the NFC West has been seen as the league’s premier division, but it has ended up very top heavy this season. The Rams are currently 7-2, whereas the 49ers currently stand 3-5.
Of course, the big attraction in this game is the debuts of two big names. Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller and former New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham arrived from the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns respectively last week.
Both players have had difficult times over the past two years due to injury and will both hope to recapture their best form in a Rams jersey.
With Super Bowl 56 taking place at their newly build SoFi stadium, the Rams are certainly going all in as they look to win their second Lombardi trophy in franchise history.
The Rams have been known as a team to disregard draft picks and have once again given up a lot of capital to get these two players. Fans will be excited to see both these players suit up in a Rams jersey at the Levi’s Stadium tonight.
Meanwhile, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is coming into this game under fire from the 49ers faithful, who are less than happy with the current state of the team.
The storied franchise reached Super Bowl 54 but have failed to live up to those heights since. They have not won a game at home in just under 400 days. What better time to do this against one of their biggest rivals, a team they have beaten in their last four meet us.
The national anthem has been sung and kickoff is not too far away.
15:00: Straight away, OBJ is involved. Stafford finds him for a 5-yard gain.
14:20: 1st down progress made, as running back Darrell Henderson rushes to the left.
13:47: Cooper Kupp picks up a 2-yard gain, as the current receiving leader is found by Stafford.
13:08 INTERCEPTION. Jimmie Ward makes the first big play of the night. Stafford is given plenty of time by his offensive line and tries to find Beckham deep. However, Ward is there to collect the ball.
12:54: 49ers rookie running back Elijah Mitchell rushes for a four-yard gain
12:19: Deebo Samuel earns San Francisco a first down.
11:42: Jeff Wilson makes a five-yard gain.
11:01: Quick throw from Garoppolo to Brandon Aiyuk but the wideout loses yards.
10:26: Tight end George Kittle makes up for this, with an 18-yard reception. Garoppolo finds him on the right-hand side, and he collects it before making significant gain.
9:13: After a one-yard gain on first down, Garoppolo hands off to Samuel, who runs straight through the middle for another first down.
8:30. Not much gained there by Wilson. The gameplan to establish the run is clear to see.
7:50: Mitchell fails to make much of an impact on 1st down. The Rams’ Terrell Williams is penalised for offside. The rookie once again is involved, and it is now 3rd and 1.
6:52: Garoppolo get the 49ers over the line, with a quarterback sneak. It is now 1st and 10 at the 39-yard line.
6:18: Mitchell runs for no gain.
5:48: Fullback Kyle Juszczyk catches for a six-yard gain.
5:06: Garoppolo finds Kittle, who gets another 49er first down. Samuel makes an eight-yard gain on the next play.
3:54: San Francisco do enough through Wilson to get a 1st down. They are really winding down this clock.
3:13: Mitchell earns a five-yard gain. Another run.
2:34: Loss of yards as Aaron Donald stops Mitchell straight away.
1:57: TOUCHDOWN NINERS. Kittle. Who else? He has been Garoppolo’s trusted weapon. Kittle finds himself open on an out route before an excellent catch from the tight end. The point after is good. 7-0 San Francisco.
1:54: Screen pass from Stafford finds Henderson for a gain of 6. Then flag is down. Andrew Whitworth has been penalised for a personal foul.
1:00: Almost another interception. Emanuel Moseley just misses getting onto the overthrown ball from Stafford.
58: And now there is an interception. It’s a pick 6. TOUCHDOWN 49ERS. It is Ward once again. Stafford finds tight end Tyler Higbee, who could not control the ball with his hands and Ward collects, before running into the endzone. Point after is good. 14-0 San Francisco.
45: Sony Michel gets his first touch of the game, as he rushes for a six-yard gain.
06: Van Jefferson is another player to get their first play of the night. 15-yard gain.
END OF FIRST QUARTER
15:00. There we are. That is the Stafford we all know. He throws to Kupp who is wide open and makes a big gain. OBJ makes a play on the next play, with good route running to make a 14-yard pickup.
14:05: Michel runs for a one-yard gain.
13:27: Stafford is afforded time in the pocket, but rookie Ben Skowronek could not grab the ball.
13:16: TOUCHDOWN RAMS. Higbee. Stafford looks far more comfortable. He is given time by his line and gets it to his tight end with a low pass. The extra point is converted. 14-7 Niners.
13:10: Mitchell runs for 9 yards as the 49ers make it 2nd and 1. He rushes on the next play but ends up losing a yard.
11:53: He once again is trusted with the ball. It appears he loses yards but there is a penalty. Leonard Floyd is penalised for being offside. First down 49ers.
11:30: Mitchell gets another snap but fails to make an impact. Kittle does well on the next play to get a first down.
10:30: Wilson runs for 6 yards with his latest rushing attempt.
8:21: On 3rd and 2, Garoppolo throws an accurate pass to Samuel, who makes a big yards-after-catch play as the Niners move past the 50-yard line. 13-yard gain from Mitchell in the following play.
6:15: Garoppolo finds Aiyuk excellently in tight coverage as the 49ers move towards the 10-yard line.
5:27: TOUCHDOWN 49ERS. Deebo Samuel. The wideout picks up the ball in the running back position, before running down towards the left-hand side and getting into the endzone.
5:18: Henderson attempts to run the gut but fails to get anything more than a 3-yard gain.
4:30: Stafford moves out of the pocket and towards the right and gets it to Skowronek, who registers an 8-yard completion.
3:50: Another play action move, as Stafford finds Jefferson with an excellently thrown ball. Kupp earns a five-yard gain on the next play.
2:44: Henderson does more than enough to earn the Rams a first down. Eleven-yard gain.
TWO MINUTE WARNING
2:00: Henderson is once again involved, but he is soon stopped for a four-yard gain by Azeez Al-Shaair.
1:33: Rams snap the ball, but the play is soon dead after a flag from the officials. False start is called on offense. Offensive lineman Brian Allen is the guilty party. They then get what the commentary booth referred to as the ‘dreaded ten second run off’.
1:10: Short pass to Higbee, who is tackled by Al-Shaair.
28: 3rd and 13. Henderson is found on the left but is soon stopped by that man Al-Shaair again. What a performance in this drive from the third year linebacker.
18: OH MY WORD. Matt Gay lines up for the field goal but head coach Sean McVay dials up the fake field goal. Punter Johnny Hekker finds Kendall Blanton, who is stopped by D.J. Jones. Turnover on downs.
HALFTIME. 21-7 49ERS.
That concludes the first half of this game, which has gone by incredibly quickly. This is down to the gameplan from the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan. They have had success in the run game, whether that be from Mitchell or Samuel, who has had success both in the ground game and receiving game. They need to keep doing what they are doing, with the luxury of a 14-point lead. Constantly running the ball and running down the clock is exactly what they can do in their position.
Meanwhile, the Rams have looked rarely like themselves and have had some questionable moments. They improved after going 14-0 down but a quick series of plays saw them quickly go down by two scores after conceding a touchdown on defense and then the Stafford pick 6.
The Rams need to establish the run, which has not had much success so far. They cannot just rely on their offensive weapons. OBJ has looked fine, but the Rams could have done with Robert Woods today, someone that will miss the entire season.
In the ESPN studios, Booger McFarland spoke of the performances from both teams this first half.
“I love how they use Elijah Mitchell. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers offensive line controlled the football game. You cannot go to the Super Bowl doing what they (The Rams) do. They need to settle down and get the ball in the playmaker’s hands.”
15:00: Running with the ball is exactly what they have done. Mitchell runs for a big gain. He doesn’t quite have the same impact in the next play.
13:45: Mitchell is tackled for a loss. Perhaps they need to pass the ball. Samuel or Kittle will be the most likely for Garoppolo to target.
13:02: Nowhere to go for Jimmy G as he is sacked by Rams safety Taylor Rapp. 49ers punt the ball away.
12:25: Henderson fails to gain much ground in the Rams’ first two plays of the second half. Al-Shaair is once again involved.
11:01: Stafford attempts to find Henderson, but the back is soon denied by rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga. Rams punt the ball away. You can expect the 49ers to run with the football once again.
10:52: Offside called on Kittle. Quick throw made by Garoppolo on the following play to Samuel for a short gain.
10:11: Garoppolo finds Jauan Jennings, who is quicky stopped as the 49ers now move on to 3rd and 6.
9:31: Excellent throw and excellent catch. Garoppolo throws despite the Rams pressure and Samuel collects the ball in double coverage for a first down.
7:55: After Wilson’s four yards earned on first down, Samuel once again is used in the backfield, making a four yard gain.
7:15: Wilson gets the first down on the next play.
6:32: Loss of 6 for the 49ers as Wilson is quickly stuffed by the Rams’ defensive line.
5:48: Garoppolo gets it to Wilson, but Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is quick to stop him.
5:30: Garoppolo throws to Kittle for seven yards.
4:47: The 49ers QB has to throw it away, with both Miller and Aaron Donald coming at him. Robbie Gould converts a 50-yard field goal. 24-7 49ers.
4:36: Almost an interception for Fred Warner, almost getting his hands on the ball from Stafford.
3:53: On third down, Stafford throws an incomplete pass to Kupp, who drops the ball. Very unlike the receiver this season. Ball is punted away by L.A.
3:41: Wilson runs for a short gain
3:01: Samuel rans for no gain. Penalties flagged for both teams, which are offset.
2:32: Incomplete pass from Garoppolo, with the ball batted away by Ramsey.
2:28: Garoppolo finds Samuel with ease. He makes the quick throw to avoid the threat of Donald. Brilliant catch from Samuel.
1:44: Incomplete pass as Garoppolo tries to find Jennings. Ramsey once again the man to prevent the big plays. He has woken up on this drive, showcasing exactly why he is the best cornerback in the game.
1:38: Mitchell is back in the game but fails to make much of a gain on that play.
1:04: Pass thrown by Garoppolo fails to find anyone. The 49ers will punt this away.
53: Stafford gets the ball to Kupp for a six-yard gain.
33: This 49ers defense quickly gets to Stafford, but the quarterback manages to get the ball out to Henderson
06: Stafford is given time on third and seven in the pocket. He throws to Higbee, but he cannot keep the ball. Rams punt away.
END OF THIRD QUARTER.
15:00: The gap opens up for Mitchell as he earns an eight-yard gain. He gets a first down on the next play
13:30: Short gain from Mitchell.
12:47: Garoppolo once again finds Samuel, who does well to catch the ball in what is again tight coverage.
12:01: Wilson is in the backfield but does not make much of a gain. 49ers taking some time on fourth down. Time out called by the 49ers. You expected them to punt this away, but they are going for it on fourth.
11:15: TOUCHDOWN 49ERS. Samuel. What a day Garoppolo and Samuel have had. Garoppolo finds his receiver, who comes into the middle before going all the way to the left and leaves the Rams defenders in his wake. Field goal converted. 31-7 49ers.
11:01: Stafford throws to Higbee, who earns the Rams a first down.
10:40: Incomplete pass from Stafford.
10:35: Another incomplete pass from Stafford as he tries to find Kupp. Pass interference call on K’Waun Williams gives the Rams a first down.
10:29. Yet again, Stafford throws an incomplete pass as he tries to find Jefferson.
10:22: No problem this time, as the pass is thrown to Kupp for a 16-yard gain. He attempts to find Kupp deep on the next play and Ward almost gets his third interception of the night.
9:55: Kupp gets the Rams to third and four with his latest catch.
9:24: Stafford and Kupp finding their groove with an eleven-yard gain. Is it too late?
9:04: INTERCEPTION. Williams makes an unbelievable catch, but a flag on pass interference means that the play did not count.
8:58: Jefferson receives the ball with a five-yard gain.
8:21: Almost a touchdown for the Rams as they look to get back into this game. Jefferson beats Josh Norman in coverage. However, he couldn’t gain control of the ball and both his feet would not have been in bounds. Kupp earns a 1st and Goal in the next play.
7:35: Stafford is sacked by Arden Key. The first redzone sack on Stafford all season long, according to the announcers on ESPN.
6:43: Kupp’s tenth catch of the game puts the Rams very near the end zone.
6:17: 4th down territory now for the Rams. He escapes the pocket and gets close to the end zone but starts to run away from the inevitable tackle and attempt a throw to Jefferson. Stafford has been penalised for an illegal forward pass.
6:05: Overthrown pass from Stafford forces a turnover on downs.
6:00: Ramsey stops Mitchell for a loss of yards. The rookie 49ers running back makes a two-yard gain on 2nddown.
5:12: Mitchell once again is used for a short gain as the 49ers attempt to kill the game via the game clock. Timeout used by L.A. The 49ers punt it away.
4:49: Michel collects the ball from Stafford for a two-yard reception.
4:35: 25-yard reception from Kupp.
4:13: Michael once again used in the receiving game. Flag called on San Francisco’s Kentavious Sneed, which was unintentional but the right call. First down Rams. Another incomplete pass made by Stafford on the following play.
4:02: Overthrown pass from Stafford to Jefferson.
3:58: On 3rd and Goal, Stafford is given no hope as he is sacked by Nick Bosa in no time. Matt Gay kicks a 37-yard field goal to make it 31-10 49ers.
3:48: Mitchell used and is close to a first down, with a nine-yard gain. He does enough on the next play to earn a first down and is again used on the following play.
TWO MINUTE WARNING
2:00: Another run play from the 49ers. The Rams have only one timeout left.
1:14: Mitchell does his best but doesn’t quite get enough for a first down. He is used again on fourth down, but this is not enough. Not that it matters.
24: The Rams have one last play and accept defeat as the players start to hug each other.
FINAL SCORE: RAMS 10-31 49ERS.
This was as dominant as it got for the 49ers, running the ball to effect as Shanahan likes to do. They now go 4-5 as they hope to sneak into the postseason through the wildcard spots. Meanwhile, this was an off day for the Rams as their second straight loss moves them to 7-3. It is not to be forgotten that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 7-5 before going on to win Super Bowl 55. Rams fans and the media should not be concerned despite the back-to-back bad losses. They are still a Super Bowl contender.