Coach Sean McVay stood at a podium in the bowels of Levi’s Stadium, clearly frustrated after the Los Angeles Rams fell for a fifth consecutive time to the San Francisco 49ers, plunging themselves into a two-game losing streak.
“I choose to believe these last couple of weeks are not who we are,” McVay said. “I refuse to believe that, even though you’re only as good as your last game.”
Over the offseason, the Rams traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford in an undeniable effort to make a Super Bowl LVI run. More recently over the past two weeks, they doubled down on building a title contender when they completed a blockbuster trade for All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller, then signed three-time Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
However, after a 31-10 loss to the 49ers on Monday Night Football, the Rams find themselves amid their first two-game losing streak of the season and appear to be a team in regression rather than one gearing up for a deep playoff run.
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“It was a humbling night for us as a team,” McVay said. “And a great opportunity for us to be able to take a deep breath, step away, look at the things we need to correct.”
For a second consecutive game, Stafford threw back-to-back interceptions in the first quarter. The 49ers converted both takeaways into touchdowns for an early 14-0 lead that they did not relinquish with the Rams unable to keep pace.
It wasn’t just the offense that faltered.
The Rams’ defense could not get off the field as it allowed the 49ers to go 8-of-14 on third down and lost the time of possession battle, 39:03 to 20:57.
With the loss, the Rams fell to 7-3 and blew an opportunity to gain traction in the NFC West on the division-leading Arizona Cardinals, who a day earlier suffered their second loss of the season and fell to 8-2.
They’ll now go into a Week 11 bye with what they can only hope will be enough time to solve the issues that have recently plagued them on offense, defense and special teams.
“We’ll spend some time thinking about it, reflecting on the first 10 games of the year and some of the good stuff, some of the bad, how I can be better to help lead this team,” said Stafford, who completed 26 of 41 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. “Definitely want to get away for a little bit mentally and just try to come back recharged and ready to go.”
Awaiting on the other side of the open date will be Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8-2), whom the Rams must face at Lambeau Field.
“We’ll look inwardly, we’re going to figure this thing out,” McVay said. “And we’re going to come back freaking swinging. I promise you that these last seven games of the regular season.”
Both Miller and Beckham made their Rams debut in the loss.
“It’s definitely not fun losing, but I had fun tonight,” said Miller, who was acquired ahead of the trade deadline earlier this month but was inactive last week as he continued to recover from an ankle sprain. “Losing is not what you want to do, but I’m excited to be here, excited to rush with [Aaron Donald]. I’m excited to see what we can do moving forward.”
Beckham, who agreed to terms on a free-agent deal only four days earlier, played 15 snaps, including four after the first half.
He caught two passes for 18 yards and was targeted on a third throw, but Stafford’s pass instead fell into the hands of safety Jimmie Ward because of an apparent route miscommunication between Beckham and Stafford.
“It just wasn’t our night,” said Beckham, who is expected to take on a significant role following the bye after receiver Robert Woods suffered a torn left ACL in practice last week that will sideline him for the season. “There is no way around it. It just wasn’t our night in all three phases of the game.”
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