The Associated Press
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Coach Sean McVay walked into the post-game news conference and immediately asked, “Anyone have a beer?”
He probably wasn’t the only person who wanted a drink after watching a surprisingly-thrilling Thursday night shootout between his Rams and the San Francisco 49ers that wasn’t decided until L.A. prevented a potential game-tying two-point try and then delivered a rare defensive stop after blowing the onside kick in a 41-39 victory.
“We talk about mentally tough, be your best regardless of the circumstance,” McVay noted. “I thought the players did that.
“They found a way, in spite of some of the ups and the downs, to come away with the win.”
While the defence came up big late, it was the offence that carried the day for the Rams (2-1), who have gone from the lowest-scoring team in the NFL a year ago to a dynamic one through three games under McVay.
Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns, Todd Gurley ran for 113 yards and scored three TDs, and Robert Woods (108) and Sammy Watkins (106) each topped the 100-yard mark receiving in L.A.’s second 40-point performance of the season.
The Rams have 107 points in all so far–the second-most in franchise history after three games to the 119 by “The Greatest Show on Turf” squad in 2000.
“Since I’ve been here, we haven’t been able to do that,” Gurley noted.
“Hopefully, we can keep putting points together, keep working together, and keep learning from this,” he added.
“I think we left a lot more points off the board.”
This win didn’t come easy as the Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead, giving up two late touchdowns, fumbling a kick-off return, and failing to recover an onside kick.
But L.A. managed to stop a potential game-tying two-point conversion on a deflection by Troy Hill, then used an offensive pass interference penalty against Trent Taylor and a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald to stop the Niners after the onside kick.
The 49ers (0-3) scored five touchdowns after failing to get any the first two weeks, but still came up short in part because a missed extra point by Robbie Gould forced them to try for two on their late touchdown.
This time it was a tired defence that hurt San Francisco.
After facing 79 plays in a 12-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the 49ers appeared to run out of gas on the short week as Goff frequently had wide-open receivers, especially on third down.
The Rams were 8-for-12 on third down, including all three of Goff’s touchdown passes.
L.A. needed all that offence on a night where Brian Hoyer threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score.
The Rams took just 12 seconds to get on the board as Nickell Robey-Coleman intercepted Hoyer on the first play from scrimmage and returned it to the three-yard line.
Gurley ran it in on the next play to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.