The Los Angeles Rams had to come up with one final defensive stop to thwart a furious rally from the San Francisco 49ers in Thursday night’s 41-39 victory in Santa Clara.
Aaron Donald‘s sack of Brian Hoyer on fourth-and-20 enabled the Rams to hold on after a questionable offensive pass interference call against Trent Taylor negated a first down conversion for the 49ers. Instead of a first down in Rams’ territory, the 49ers were backed up to a third- and then fourth-and-20 scenario.
The 49ers had closed a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to just two after a 1-yard Carlos Hyde touchdown run pulled San Francisco within reach with 2:17 left to play. A two-point conversion try – necessitated due to an early missed extra point by Robbie Gould – was deflected and intercepted on a pass from Hoyer to Taylor.
However, the 49ers recovered the ensuing onside kick as Raheem Mostert hauled in a perfectly executed kick by Gould to give San Francisco another chance. The pass to Taylor would have moved the 49ers to the Los Angeles 39-yard line and into fringe field goal range at the two-minute warning. An incomplete pass to Pierre Garcon and the sack from Donald ended any realistic chance the 49ers had to pull out a win. Todd Gurley‘s 20-yard run made it official.
After Gurley and Hoyer traded rushing touchdowns early, the Rams built a 17-7 advantage. Jared Goff connected with Gurley on a 7-yard score and Greg Zuerlein added a 48-yard field goal to give L.A. the early cushion.
Gurley would score again on a 2-yard run, and Goff would twice connect with Sammy Watkins for touchdowns as the Rams lead grew to 41-26 with 8:47 remaining. Gurley finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries for the Rams. Goff completed 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
Hoyer would hit Taylor for a 3-yard touchdown with 5:12 remaining and Hyde’s 1-yard run would close the gap before the Rams did just enough to hold on for the win.
Hyde rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns for San Francisco. Hoyer had 332 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Garcon had 142 yards on seven receptions to lead all receivers in the game.