Rams try to get back up after being ‘punched in the mouth’ – Press Enterprise

Rams try to get back up after being ‘punched in the mouth’ – Press Enterprise

Why did the Rams lose so badly to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night?

How much time have you got?

The list of reasons is long: Slow starts by the offense and defense. A non-existent pass rush. Too many missed tackles. Too many dropped passes. Ill-timed offensive line penalties. Not to overlook smart play-calling by the 49ers.

That’s too much bad football to shrug off, but the litany of problems does contain a reason for hope as the Rams (4-2) move on to a game against the Chicago Bears (5-1) on Monday night, Oct. 26 at SoFi Stadium.

Only one of Sunday’s problems, the defense’s late wakeup call, has been a season-long issue for the Rams. The rest of the problems cropped up in this severity for the first and, they can hope, the last time. They can imagine they left those failures behind in Santa Clara, perhaps in a pile with the football Cooper Kupp dropped in the end zone.

“Where did we fall short? Are these things we’re capable of doing, or are we just physically outmatched?” Rams coach Sean McVay asked rhetorically. “No, we’re capable of executing and playing better football, being a cleaner operation offensively, not jumping offsides, throwing and catching better …

“You don’t want to minimize (that) the 49ers did a really nice job, but I think in a lot of instances, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, we’re capable of playing at a much higher level, and we expect to,” he said in a rare case of McVay not trying to take all the blame for a loss himself.

With no new injuries to report, McVay said the Rams plan no changes in personnel as a result of the 24-16 loss to the 3-3 49ers.

Coordinator Brandon Staley’s defense gave the Rams a chance to come back from a 21-6 halftime deficit by holding the 49ers to a field goal in the second half, the fifth time in six games that it has allowed three points or less after the break.

But the Rams are giving up an average of 14.7 points in first halves.

“We’ve got to start faster. We’ve gotta play four quarters,” said linebacker Micah Kiser, who returned after missing a game with a groin injury to make 13 tackles, tying safety John Johnson for the team lead Sunday.

McVay credited the 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo’s three first-half touchdown passes. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s game plan blunted the Rams’ pass rush with short passes and stretched the defense laterally. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s heads-up play to keep running for a 35-yard gain on the game’s second snap — when the Rams thought he was down — was an oddity but an omen of more conventional missed tackles on third-down gains by George Kittle and Trent Taylor.

Wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who scored a touchdown, said the mood at the Rams’ facility Monday morning was “disappointed.”

“We left a lot out there on the field,” Reynolds said, noting the Rams’ high number of pre-snap penalties Sunday and saying “stuff like that kind of adds up.”

Kupp’s drop of a Jared Goff pass, costing the Rams a touchdown that would have brought them within five points, was uncharacteristic.

“He’s been down on himself,” Reynolds said of Kupp. “But everybody’s got the utmost confidence in him. When he gets the opportunity, he’ll bounce back and make that play next time.”

This was the Rams’ second loss. And their first unacceptably sloppy loss. Players said they didn’t fear a repeat of 2019, when a defeat against Tampa Bay was the start of a three-game losing streak.

“Obviously we got punched in the mouth this past week, and we’re just ready to get that taste out of our mouth and get back to work,” Kiser said. “That’s all you can really do.”

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