New signings fail to fire as 49ers’ Ward consigns Rams to ‘humbling’ defeat

New acquisitions Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr failed to help the Los Angeles Rams to reverse their fortunes against the San Francisco 49ers as they slumped to a 31-10 defeat on Monday night. The once high-flying Rams head into their bye week searching for answers following their worst two-game stretch in five seasons under coach Sean McVay.

Two early interceptions at Levi’s Stadium from Matthew Stafford passes put Los Angeles in a big hole and then dropped passes and a defense that got overpowered by San Francisco did the rest.

McVay said: “This was a humbling night for us as a team, and a great opportunity for us to be able to take a deep breath, step away, look at the things that we need to correct, particularly offensively over the last couple of weeks. We’re going to figure this thing out and we’re going to come back … swinging, I promise you that, these last seven games of the regular season.”

The Rams (7-3) have fallen flat the past two weeks, outscored 59-26 across defeats by Tennessee and San Francisco, the first time they have dropped back-to-back regular-season games by double digits since McVay arrived in 2017. Their offense has stumbled with Stafford throwing a pair of interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown – in both losses as the Rams look nothing like the offense that was averaging 30.6 points per game during the 7-1 start.

“I can definitely be better in all aspects,” Stafford said. “We just didn’t do well enough on the offensive side to keep us in it.”

They now get a week to regroup before a 28 November showdown at Green Bay. As well as giving Beckham Jr and Miller more time to find their feet, it could also prove a crucial spell to helping the team to handle the loss of versatile receiver Robert Woods, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice last week.

Beckham Jr got the start in his debut and caught a five-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage. However he and Stafford were not on the same page later that drive when Stafford launched a deep ball that went right to safety Jimmie Ward for an interception. Beckham Jr caught only one other pass as he played only a few days after linking up with the team.

“It is going to be a tough road,” he said. “These moments don’t divide you. They get you stronger and closer together and I am happy to be here. Over the bye week, I’ll be able to get into the playbook and really try to learn every single thing possible.”

The second drive also ended with a turnover and tight end Tyler Higbee bobbled a pass from Stafford right into the hands of Ward, who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0. That was one of several drops on the day, including key ones on third down by Higbee and Cooper Kupp later in the game.

“You have to go execute,” Stafford said. “We didn’t do it on offense and didn’t help our defense out early. [We] had some chances in the third quarter to climb back in it and didn’t get it done. So that’s what it comes down to, blocking, throwing, catching, running, all those sort of things – the fundamentals. We have to do them better.”

Miller finished with three tackles but got little chance to rush the passer as San Francisco ran the ball 44 times.

“It’s definitely not fun losing, but I had fun tonight,” Miller said. “The atmosphere was crazy. We didn’t have too many rushes, but the ones we did have, I’m excited to play with these guys. I’m excited about this rush, I’m excited about this defense and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The 49ers increased their lead to 24-7 thanks to Robbie Gould’s 50-yard field goal in the third quarter, then put the game away in the fourth when Jimmy Garoppolo teamed with Samuel on a 40-yard touchdown.