Promising Start Not Enough in Loss to San Francisco

Posted Sep 27, 2013

Through the first quarter of Thursday’s 35-11 loss to San Francisco, it looked as if many of the issues that had plagued the Rams during recent losses in Dallas and Atlanta had been addressed and accounted for. An effective pass rush, a swarming secondary and an early scoring drive gave the Rams their first lead since their 27-24 win in the season opener against Arizona.The trend didn’t last.

In a game that presented an opportunity to improve upon a 5-1-1 record against NFC West opponents since the beginning of the 2012 season, a tepid offensive output proved too much to overcome. The Rams were held to fewer than 300 yards of offense for the second consecutive week, finishing with 188. Leading rusher Daryl Richardson struggled to find running room all evening, and finished with 16 yards on 12 carries.

“Obviously, as a football team, we have a lot to work on,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said following the loss. “We’re going to have to take advantage of some opportunities here this weekend and early next week and try to get some of these issues fixed—namely running the football.”

Following an encouraging defensive showing in the first quarter, the Rams struggled to contain 49ers RB Frank Gore, who established a season high with 146 rushing yards on 19 carries. Gore was responsible for perhaps the most pivotal play of the evening late in the second quarter. Facing a 4th-and-1 situation, Gore darted past the Rams’ secondary for a 34-yard touchdown run to put San Francisco ahead 14-3 with 37 seconds remaining in the half. The Rams were unable to narrow the game to a single possession following Gore’s run.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s a long season,” Rams DE Robert Quinn said. “We’ve got to correct some things and stay focused, stay together and get this thing turned around. This team is a great team and a young team at that. We just need to figure out what’s going wrong and get on a roll.”

The Rams struck first with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter, when K Greg Zuerlein bounced a 40-yard field-goal attempt off the right upright and through for his sixth successful field goal in as many tries this season. The Rams reached the end zone with 5:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, on a six-yard reception from QB Sam Bradford. Bradford finished the day 19 of 41 passing for 202 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

News and Notes:

-With their win over the Rams on Thursday, the 49ers knotted the all-time series between the two teams at 62-62-3.

-TE Lance Kendricks’ fourth-quarter touchdown reception was his first of the season and fifth of his career. Kendricks has registered at least one reception in all four games this season.

-DE Robert Quinn’s first-quarter sack was his fifth of the season. He has registered a sack in three of four games this year.

-WR Austin Pettis led the Rams in receiving for the first time this season, finishing with 59 yards on five catches.

-The loss was the first for the Rams against an NFC West opponent at the Edward Jones Dome since January 1, 2012, when they fell 34-27 to San Francisco.