The Los Angeles Rams took the field for their home opener looking to pick up another NFC West win after earning a road victory over Seattle in week one but it was the San Francisco 49ers who made pivotal plays in the closing moments.
Deebo Samuel rushed for an 11-yard score with 11:28 left in the fourth to give San Francisco a 10-point lead and the 49ers held on for a 30-23 win over the Rams on Sunday afternoon at SoFi Stadium.
The victory marked the ninth consecutive regular-season win for the 49ers (2-0) over the Rams.
“Everybody likes to mention our record against them, but they’ve always been tough for us, every single time,” said 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.
“Ultimately, we didn’t come away with the result that we were hunting up, but there was a lot of good things that we can take away. … I thought it was a high-caliber football game,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for 116 yards and found the endzone on a 14-yard rushing score to give San Francisco an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Brock Purdy passed for 206 yards and converted a fourth-down sneak for a touchdown to tie the game at 17-17 just before halftime.
The Rams (1-1) remained without All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp who was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. They again relied on their two youngest offensive weapons in Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams.
Nacua, a rookie fifth-round pick wide receiver from BYU continued his remarkable start to his career and recorded 15 receptions for 147 yards for Los Angeles. The Rams rookie wideout became the first player in NFL history with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in each of his first two career games as he has now tallied 25 catches in the first two games for 266 yards.
“He’s tough, he’s a physical competitor. … I thought that showed up … he continued to battle all the way through to the end, he is the epitome of what we want to be as a Ram,” said McVay. “I love Puka Nacua. … He’s a stud.”
Rams second year running back in Williams led the way with two scores and finished with 14 carries for 52 yards and six receptions for 48 more through the air. Tutu Atwell added seven catches for 77 yards for Los Angeles.
Williams is currently tied for fourth in the NFL in offensive touchdowns (4) and is tied for first in rushing touchdowns (3).
“I love the rapport of the group. I love the way they play for each other,” said McVay.
Rams playcaller Matthew Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards and one touchdown but threw two interceptions.
Stafford gave the Rams a chance late trailing 27-20 with just under five minutes to play but was intercepted by Deommodore Lenoir after trying to connect with Van Jefferson as the 49ers were able to close out a 30-23 win in Los Angeles.
“This was a helluva game, a couple of plays here or there and this one’s in our back pocket,” said Stafford.
The Rams will next travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) on Monday at 5:15 p.m.