The previously faltering 49ers (4-5) had lost four of their last five games yet dominated throughout to record their fifth straight victory over the Rams and their first win at the Levi’s Stadium since a 24-16 triumph over LA in October 2020.
After recovering from defeat to the Arizona Cardinals to roar to four consecutive wins through October, a second consecutive loss this month will come as a bitter blow to the Rams (7-3) — a disappointment compounded by Beckham Jr. and Miller’s muted debuts.
This month’s arrivals of three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Beckham Jr. and three-time first-team All-Pro outside linebacker Miller — acquired from the Denver Broncos — had been tipped to boost the Rams’ Super Bowl ambitions, but both struggled to impose themselves in their first outing.
OBJ finished with 18 yards from two catches, while Miller made just three tackles as the Rams defense failed to get a handle on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo — who racked up two touchdown passes, 182 yards and no interceptions from 15 of 19 attempts.
Though far from dazzling, Garoppolo’s precision passing complemented a battering rushing offense that saw the 49ers run the ball 44 times for 156 yards, running back Elijah Mitchell leading the way with 91 rushing yards from 27 runs.
It marked an emphatic meeting of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s targets — who revealed after the game that the team had set a pre-game goal of 40 carries.
Meanwhile, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel continued his impressive season with another excellent performance, receiving and rushing for a touchdown apiece for a total of 133 yards. With 979 total receiving yards this season, the 25-year-old is second only to the Rams’ Cooper Kupp.
Garoppolo’s assured passing served as a stark contrast to Rams QB Matthew Stafford, who — despite eventually throwing for a touchdown and 243 yards — was intercepted twice by Jimmie Ward, the second for a pick-six.
It is the first time since his 2009 rookie season that Stafford — bested by the Titans’ Kevin Byard last week — has been pick-sixed in consecutive games.
Stafford and the Rams head into a bye week that will give them the chance to take stock before facing the Green Bay Packers on November 28, as coach Sean McVay looks to halt their recent slide and close the gap on the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals (8-2).
“Concentration lapses, guys just not making plays that they’re accustomed to,” McVay answered when asked by reporters what cost his team.
“Certainly, it was very uncharacteristic for a lot of guys. It wasn’t just one guy in particular, it was a handful of guys — everybody had a hand in this tonight.
“I choose to believe that these last couple weeks are not who we are … these last two weeks have certainly been humbling.
“They came out, they were ready to go, and they made more plays than we did tonight.”‘
‘They just outplayed us’
Beckham Jr. echoed his coach’s assessment, accepting that the better team had won on the night.
“Any given Sunday, any team can win,” Beckham Jr. said. “Tonight, the Niners came out and they played better than us in all phases of the game. And that’s really the moral of the story. There’s no trying to find what happened, they just outplayed us.
“I was excited. Felt like I was ready for the moment. I’ve been through so much and God has put me in this position for that exact moment.
“It just wasn’t our night. There’s really no way around it, it just wasn’t our night.”
As the Rams seek to halt their slide, the Niners will hope that Monday’s victory will reignite their season after what had been a strong opening with two wins.
A matchup with the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) on November 21 looks like the ideal occasion to continue momentum, and Garoppolo believes the team is on its way.
“This league isn’t easy, every team is good — we are going to go there [Jacksonville] ready to roll,” Garoppolo said.