Rams takeaways: Matthew Stafford, offensive line need to improve

The Rams were defeated 24-9 by the San Francisco 49ers Monday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Here’s what we learned from the Rams’ loss.

Stafford struggles to avoid sixes

Just like last season against the 49ers, Matthew Stafford was intercepted on a pass and returned for a touchdown.

In 2021, safety Jimmie Ward returned a 27-yard interception for a touchdown in San Francisco’s 31-10 win.

On Monday, safety Talanoa Hufanga intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown that sealed the win for the 49ers.

The 49ers narrowly missed capitalizing on several other interception opportunities.

Stafford has passed four touchdowns, with a league-worst six interceptions.

Robinson has yet to click with Stafford

New receiver Allen Robinson was targeted six times but had just two catches for seven yards.

Robinson, a ninth-year pro, has only nine receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown this season.

That’s well below expectations for a player who has conceded 1,000+ yards three times in one season.

Offensive line continues to crumble

After being sacked seven times in a season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, Stafford gave up just a sack of wins against the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.

But the 49ers have sacked Stafford seven times, with Nick Bosa and former Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam recording two each.

Rams center Coleman Shelton, who started for three games in place of the injured Brian Allen, retired after two series with an ankle injury. Jeremiah Kolone stepped in and joined a line that already included backups Alaric Jackson and Bobby Evans as guard.

Rushing Attack has no effect

Darrell Henderson rushed for 27 yards in eight carries, while Cam Akers ran for 13 yards in eight carries.

The Rams ended up with 57 yards on the ground. You’ve only rushed for 100 yards once this season.

Malcolm Brown came on for a run near the goal line but failed to carry the ball.

Shanahan has the right strategy

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan seems to know how to beat the Rams.

The 49ers had to attack without the injured All-Pro left Trent Williams. But since quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was quick to get the ball out against the Rams as usual, he wasn’t fired.

Garoppolo completed 16 of 27 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown.

Another game with no turnover

The Rams could defeat the Cardinals without intercepting a pass or saving a fumble, but they couldn’t repeat that feat against the 49ers.

The Rams blocked a few passes but couldn’t get the ball.

Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown in 18 carries and didn’t fumble.

dust on the sidelines

Linebackers Justin Hollins and Takkarist McKinley had to be separated from teammates after scuffles on the sidelines

Hollins said it was just a “heat of the moment, heat of the fight” exchange because of emotions that were “stoked up.”

Trainer Sean McVay attributed the flare-ups to the emotions of competitive athletes.

“Things can get hot,” McVay said. “We have to keep these to a minimum. Those things can happen, but it seemed like we cleaned it up pretty quickly.”

Gay remains reliable

The Rams got over the 20 yards three times but couldn’t score any touchdowns. Matt Gay kicked field goals for 39, 29, and 26 yards.

Gay, a 2021 Pro Bowl selection, has made all seven of his field goal attempts.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-10-04/rams-49ers-takeaways-matthew-stafford-offensive-line-need-to-improve Rams takeaways: Matthew Stafford, offensive line need to improve

Emma Bowman

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