Posted on September 22, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When the 2017 season started, there were a few things NFL fans were pretty confident about. The San Francisco 49ers were not going to be a good team this season. The Los Angeles Rams had potential, but a lot of things need to go right for them to be any good this year.
So, when fans saw that these two division foes were set to play on Thursday Night Football many of them probably thought, “Eh—I’ll pass.”
Fans on the West Coast probably looked forward to the game. But those on the East Coast that would need to stay up late and be tired for work or school the next day probably watched the rerun of “How To Get Away With Murder” and went to bed.
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If they did, they missed one of the most entertaining games of the season.
It took only 12 seconds for the first touchdown to be scored—and it wasn’t by the team that started the game with the ball (nor was it a defensive touchdown). By the time halftime rolled around, Rams running back Todd Gurley had three touchdowns under his belt giving him six on the season—and matching last season’s total.
The 37-points scored between the two teams in the first half was the most for a Thursday Night Football game since the 2014 season.
Todd Gurley looked more like the stud running back he was his rookie season with 149 total yards and three touchdowns. Jared Goff was not perfect, but he played a pretty good game (22-28 for 292 yards and three touchdowns). There were times where it was easy to see why the Rams made him the No. 1 pick of the 2016 Draft.
Sammy Watkins—well, fans in Buffalo are wondering where in the world this guy was when he was with their team. He didn’t just make six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He made some incredible catches (aided by perfect placement thanks to Goff) and fought for yards as he has never fought before.
But, to be fair, while the Rams were the main attraction, they were not the only team putting on a show. Brian Hoyer completed 23 of 37 passes for 332 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and an interception. He made Kirk Cousins miss Pierre Garcon by connecting with him seven times for 142 yards. Marquise Goodwin put his speed on display on a 50-yard bomb (he had two catches for 62 yards).
Carlos Hyde’s overall body of work may not have been stellar with an average of 3.4 yards per carry. But he appeared to be playing with some sort of injury and still managed to make some tough, clutch runs to keep drives alive. Oh— and score two touchdowns.
Last year’s 49ers would have probably quit after the first half. If not then, they would have definitely thrown in the towel after Sammy Watkins made the score 41-26 with 8:43 left in the game. But not these 49ers.
With a little help from the Rams defense and special teams, San Francisco was able to get within two points. Not only that, but they had the ball at the 50-yard line with 2:08 to play.
But then the Rams remembered that they play good defense. A few plays later, the 49ers had the ball on their own 40-yard line. It was 4th down, and they needed 20 yards for a first. Did they convert? Nope—Aaron Donald recorded his first sack of the season to put an end to San Francisco’s comeback dreams.
Final score—Rams 41 and 49ers 39.
Some fans will look at the two 40+ point nights by the Rams offense and assume one thing. The team is now a legit contender. It can score points, and they have a defense that is capable of stopping anyone. But then their friends are going to remind them of something very important. Both 40+ point nights came against two of the worst teams in football (San Francisco and Indianapolis). That and Brian Hoyer threw the ball very well against their defense.
The Rams should certainly have a better challenge on their hands next week against the Dallas Cowboys. San Francisco will try to get win No. 1 on the season next week against the Arizona Cardinals.