Christian McCaffrey a distinction maker as 49ers bolt previous NFC West rival Rams

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — 9 days in the past, the Los Angeles Rams misplaced out on the Christian McCaffrey sweepstakes to their NFC West rivals, the San Francisco 49ers securing the companies of the expertise runner in a commerce with the Carolina Panthers. 

On Sunday, the Rams received an up-close take a look at what McCaffrey seems to be like main San Francisco’s offense. 

It wasn’t fairly.

The Rams had struggled to comprise do-everything receiver Deebo Samuel in earlier matchups in opposition to San Francisco. However with Samuel nursing a sore hamstring, the 49ers turned to the workforce’s new addition in McCaffrey. 

Whereas nonetheless studying a brand new offense, the Stanford product proved greater than able to choosing up the slack with Samuel out, ending with 183 all-purpose yards. McCaffrey recorded a 9-yard receiving landing, a 1-yard run for a rating and threw a 34-yard landing in a 31-14 San Francisco win over the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

McCaffrey joined elite firm with the accomplishment, changing into simply the third operating again with a passing, dashing and receiving landing in a single recreation since 1970 (Walter Payton and LaDainian Tomlinson the others). 

With the win, San Francisco crept again to the .500 mark at 4-4 heading into the bye week, whereas Los Angeles dropped to 3-4 on the yr, a half-game forward of the NFC West cellar-dwellers within the Arizona Cardinals (3-5).

“Going into the bye week 3-5 makes it a lot more depressing of a bye week,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stated about his workforce’s victory. “I’m very aware of the record and 4-4 is just one game better, but it feels a hell of a lot better than 3-5.”

The 49ers additionally improved to 3-0 within the NFC West and have defeated the Rams eight straight instances throughout the common season. Los Angeles led 14-10 at halftime however was outscored 21-0 within the second half. 

The Rams have been conscious of how McCaffrey may take over a recreation. Just some weeks in the past earlier than the commerce, McCaffrey totaled 158 scrimmage yards in a 24-10 Rams’ win for the Rams over McCaffrey’s then-Panthers in Week 6. 

McCaffrey completed with 62 yards from scrimmage in his first recreation motion for San Francisco final week, a 44-23 loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. However with per week to organize, Shanahan stated throughout recreation planning on Thursday he determined to put in a double move for McCaffrey as soon as tight ends coach Brian Fleury despatched him a clip of him throwing. 

Shanahan set the play up by throwing McCaffrey a display screen move earlier within the recreation. Shanahan stated the Panthers additionally threw a bunch of screens to McCaffrey within the earlier recreation in opposition to the Rams.

McCaffrey stated he and his youthful brother each play quarterback, so he simply adopted some easy recommendation in finishing his landing to receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

“You got to get loose and get the elbow up,” McCaffrey stated, smiling. “And it helps when someone is wide open as well.” 

On McCaffrey’s landing catch, Jimmy Garoppolo stated he was No. 5 on the development. Nonetheless, with the pocket breaking down, Garoppolo moved to purchase a while, McCaffrey turned his flat route up the sideline and the quarterback floated a move to the again of the top zone that McCaffrey went up excessive for the rating. 

Coming off the bye week, the Rams have been environment friendly on offense, utilizing the display screen and play-action recreation to create chunk performs and take the early lead.

Nonetheless, San Francisco clamped down on L.A.’s screens and the operating recreation, making them one-dimensional on offense, which allowed Nick Bosa and the remainder of San Francisco’s defensive entrance to get stress on Matthew Stafford.

And the Rams additionally did not make game-changing performs, together with a dropped interception by Jalen Ramsey and a drop by tight finish Tyler Higbee on third down that will have gone for a rating had he held onto it.  

“They outplayed us in the second half,” Rams head coach Sean McVay stated. “We didn’t make enough plays, and there’s things that we can do collectively to be a better part it.” 

That stated, the Tremendous Bowl champs are in a nasty spot, chasing a workforce they battle to beat persistently in San Francisco and the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks (5-3). McCaffrey is simply going to get higher, having been with the 49ers for lower than two weeks. And San Francisco performed with out the workforce’s greatest participant in Samuel.

The 49ers perceive that higher days are forward as they get more healthy within the second half of the season, however the addition of McCaffrey makes them a extra harmful workforce the remainder of the way in which. 

“Deebo’s decent still, right?” San Francisco tight finish George Kittle stated. “There’s a lot of guys in this offense that can move the ball. We have a lot of guys that can get YAC. We have a lot of guys that can get open and our offensive line was clicking, especially in the running game. … Overall, we just played at a really high level and everybody played together.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Observe him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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