St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) – Colin Kaepernick passed for 343 yards and
three touchdowns as the San Francisco 49ers overcame an early deficit to
rally past the St. Louis Rams, 31-17, in an NFC West showdown on Monday night.
The second best passing effort of Kaepernick’s career overshadowed a rocky
start, as the Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead. San Francisco scored 24 straight
points after that, however, thanks in large part to a momentum-shifting
touchdown at the end of the first half.
Trailing 14-3 less than 30 seconds before halftime, Brandon Lloyd put a double
move on Janoris Jenkins and turned up the left sideline. Kaepernick hit him in
stride, and the speedy receiver turned on the jets and sprinted to the end
zone for an 80-yard touchdown.
Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree also caught TD passes for the 49ers (4-2),
who have won three straight following a two-game slide. Kaepernick improved
to 4-0 in his career on Monday Night Football.
Austin Davis completed 21-of-42 passes for 236 yards, a touchdown and an
interception for St. Louis (1-4).
The Rams offense looked like a well-oiled machine on the opening series of the
game. Davis needed to convert just one third down — a 39-yard pitch and catch
with Jared Cook — before a pass interference in the end zone set up 1st-and-
goal from the 3. Benny Cunningham punched it in from the 1 to make it 7-0.
Vance McDonald caught a short pass from Kaepernick late in the first quarter
and ran 21 yards, but Rodney McLeod jarred the ball free and James Laurinaitis
scooped it up, setting up another Rams touchdown.
Rookie Tre Mason, who recorded his first career touch earlier in the game,
opened the drive with a 24-yard run, and three plays later, Davis hooked up
with a wide open Lance Kendricks for a 22-yard score.
Phil Dawson hit from 54 yards out midway through the second quarter to put the
49ers on the scoreboard.
The Rams’ last drive of the first half stalled at their 49, and Johnny
Hekker’s punt pinned San Francisco at its own 5 with 1:50 remaining.
Consecutive passes to Boldin put the Niners on the 24, but a penalty and short
Carlos Hyde reception made it 3rd-and-6 from the 20. Lloyd’s fireworks gave
the Niners hope heading into the locker room.
San Francisco took its first lead on the opening drive of the second half,
with more Kaepernick magic leading to Boldin’s first touchdown reception of
the season. Facing pressure on 3rd-and-1 from the Rams 11, Kaepernick rolled
left, backpedaled and lofted a pass just over Jenkins, finding Boldin in the
back left corner of the end zone.
Following another Hekker punt, the Niners offense marched back down for
a third straight touchdown. Stevie Johnson made catches of nine and
20 yards to start the 78-yard trek, which ended with Crabtree’s 32-yard TD
The Rams finally made a stand, stuffing San Francisco on four straight plays
from inside the 2-yard line to force a turnover. They punted it back after a
quick three-and-out, but caught a break when they stopped the Niners again on
Davis took advantage of the field position, completing four passes to set up
Greg Zuerlein’s 38-yard field goal that made it a one possession game with
2:28 to play.
Johnson pounced on Zuerlein’s ensuing onsides kick, and once again St. Louis’
defense was up to the task, forcing an Andy Lee punt with just over a minute
Two plays into the final drive, Dontae Johnson jumped in front of a
telegraphed pass intended for Kenny Britt and took it 20 yards to the end zone
to seal the outcome.
The 49ers have won seven straight games on Monday nights … Niners linebacker
Patrick Willis left the game with a toe injury … San Francisco outgained St.
Louis, 432-309 … Lloyd’s touchdown was the first 80-plus yard TD in the last
15 seconds of a first half since the NFL/AFL merger … The Rams have just one
sack through five games this season.