Rams takeaways: Matthew Stafford, offensive line need to improve

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The Rams were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers 24-9 on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Here’s what we learned from the Rams’ loss.

Stafford struggles to avoid pick sixes

Just as he did against the 49ers’ last season, Matthew Stafford had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

In 2021, safety Jimmie Ward returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in San Francisco’s 31-10 victory.

On Monday, safety Talanoa Hufanga intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown that sealed the victory for the 49ers.

The 49ers just missed capitalizing on several other interception opportunities.

Stafford has passed for four touchdowns, with a league-worst six interceptions.

Robinson has yet to click with Stafford

New receiver Allen Robinson was targeted six times but had only two catches for seven yards.

Robinson, a ninth-year pro, has only nine receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown this season.

That is far below expectations for a player who has had more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season three times.

Offensive line continues to fall apart

After Stafford was sacked seven times in a season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, the line gave up only one sack in wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.

But the 49ers sacked Stafford seven times, with end Nick Bosa and former Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam each recording two.

Rams center Coleman Shelton, who has started three games in place of injured Brian Allen, left after two series because of an ankle injury. Jeremiah Kolone stepped in, joining a line that already included back-ups Alaric Jackson and Bobby Evans at guard.

Rushing attack remains ineffective

Darrell Henderson rushed for 27 yards in eight carries, Cam Akers 13 yards in eight carries.

The Rams finished with 57 yards on the ground. They have rushed for 100 yards only once this season.

Malcolm Brown came into the game for a series near the goal line, but he did not carry the ball.

Shanahan has the right strategy

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan seems to know how to beat the Rams.

The 49ers were without injured All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams. But with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting the ball out quick as usual against the Rams, he was not sacked.

Garoppolo completed 16 of 27 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown.

Another game without a turnover

The Rams were able to defeat the Cardinals without intercepting a pass or recovering a fumble, but they could not repeat that feat against the 49ers.

The Rams deflected a few passes but did not come up with the ball.

Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown in 18 carries and did not fumble.

Sideline dust-up

Linebackers Justin Hollins and Takkarist McKinley had to be separated by teammates after scuffling on the sideline

Hollins said it was only a “heat of the moment, heat of the battle” exchange because of emotions that were “stirred up.”

Coach Sean McVay attributed the flare-up to emotions of competitive people.

“Things can run hot,” McVay said. “We’ve got to keep those at a minimum. Those things can occur, but it seemed like we got it cleaned up pretty quickly.”

Gay remains reliable

The Rams got inside the 20-yard line three times but could not score touchdowns. Matt Gay kicked field goals from 39, 29 and 26 yards.

Gay, a Pro Bowl selection in 2021, has made all seven of his field-goal attempts.

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