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49ers remind Rams that NFC West just isn’t NFC East

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11:45 PM ET

Lindsey ThiryESPN

Close Covered Rams for two years for the Los Angeles Times
Previously covered the falcon
Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball

The Los Angeles Rams made the NFC East seem easy.

But on Sunday night at Levi & # 39; s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers coldly recalled NFC West's difficulty as they beat the Rams 24-16 in the Rams' first division game of the season.

The Rams fall to 4-2, but remain in second place in the division behind the Seattle Seahawks (5-0). The 49ers improve to 3-3.

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The Rams' offense began slowly and was then plagued by unusual errors. The defense was unable to make 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who returned from an ankle injury, uncomfortable.

"Some decisions that clearly have to do a better job with me, but overall I think there were just too many things that we are not used to," said Rams coach Sean McVay after the game. "They give credit to the 49ers, they did a good job, but we made a lot of unusual decisions. We have had a lot of our players that we count on who didn't get through some of the situations they normally do."

The Rams, who have played four of their six games on the street, are returning to SoFi for a Monday night soccer game against the 5-1 Chicago Bears at Week 7.

Describe the game in two words: Uncharacteristic performance. This statistic captures the night of the Rams: Typically, Cooper Kupp dropped a pass in the end zone in the third quarter. This was the first Rams drop in the end zone since week 5 of 2017.

QB performance: Goff has masterfully orchestrated quick starts for most of the season, but that wasn't the case on Sunday night. Goff made 5 of 12 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in the first half as the Rams failed to score on their inaugural run for the second time this season (the other time a week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills). It seemed like Goff found a spark when he threw an arrow at broad receiver Robert Woods in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. The Rams followed 14-6, and the first half stayed 5-11. The second half did not bring better results, however, as Goff was intercepted in the end zone by Jason Verrett to dampen the efforts from behind. Goff finished 19-of-38 for 198 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

"It was clearly not my best," said Goff. "It was just unusual stuff for me, missing people who opened there early. It's something I've never done in my life and I won't expect to ever do again."

Biggest hole in the game plan: Time of possession. The 49ers wanted to play to stay away and it worked, especially in the first half when they held the ball 21:22 for a total of 291 yards offensive. The Rams only had 102 yards in the first half. The 49ers ended the game with dominant possession time of 37:55 to 22:05.

Worrying trend: The defense could not put pressure on Garoppolo. The Rams have had 17 sacks in their last three games, but Garoppolo was coercive only once in 21 dropbacks in the first half and wasn't sacked throughout the game. A week after Aaron Donald had four sacks in a win over Washington, the 49ers neutralized the Star Defensive tackle, which Garoppolo hit only once.

Sensational next generation statistics: Goff's 10-yard touchdown pass for Woods had a 27% chance of completion, according to Next Gen Stats. This was the lowest chance of a touchdown for the Rams that season.

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