PAINFUL UPDATE: Matt Stafford threw two interceptions as the Los Angeles Rams lost 31-10 to the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. The loss dropped the Rams’ record to 7-3, while the Niners improved to 4-5.
The Niners benefitted from at least five dropped passes by Rams, and used a hard-nose running game to chew up time and set up their passing game. Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 182 yards and two scores. Stafford threw for 243 yards and one score.
Rivalries add spice to the already heady brew of big league sports. They can also be a headache for the team that ends up on the losing end of such closely watched games.
The Los Angeles and San Francisco areas are often imagined as polar opposites and their sport teams have held friendly – and sometimes not so friendly – grudges for more than a century, dating back to the days when the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Seals dueled for the Pacific Coast League pennant.
In pro football, the Rams and 49ers have been fussin’ cousins since the latter team, which had been playing in the old All-America Football Conference, joined the NFL in 1950.
Since that start, the Niners and Rams have played 143 games, but tonight’s (Monday) game up north has as much importance as most of those. The Rams have lost three straight to the red-and-gold, and need a win to draw even with the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West.
The Niners, for their part, have lost all four games they’ve played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and need to post a victory if they are to retain any hope of contending for a winning season and a playoff spot.
A lot of eyeballs will be trained on two recent Rams’ acquisitions: wide receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr. and linebacker Von Miller. Of course, for most fans, the real battle will be between the QBs, Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo. The betting line is Rams by seven. It’s on Monday Night Football at 5:15 p.m.
The Ducks are melting the ice
The hottest team in area big-time sports is also as cool as your freezer. The Anaheim Ducks, with their 5-1 win Sunday over the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center, have won seven games in a row. The win got the locals into second place in the NHL Pacific with 22 points, one point behind the division leading Edmonton Oilers.
Tied for fourth place in the NHL Pacific are the Los Angeles Kings. They and the Las Vegas Golden Knights each have 18 points. The division is strong top to almost bottom: six of eight teams have winning records and the last place squad – the Seattle Kraken – is an expansion team.
In the NBA Pacific, the Lakers and Clippers are climbing the latter, slowly. The Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 114-106 on Sunday and are in fourth at 8-6. The Clippers are 8-5 and in third after losing 100-90 to the Chicago Bulls Sunday. If those records sound unimpressive, relax. It’s still early.
Calendar for week ahead
- Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco Monday (tonight). They’ll be next in action on Nov. 28 against the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin.
- Los Angeles Chargers host Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday
- Los Angeles Lakers host Chicago Bulls tonight, then visit Milwaukee on Wednesday and Boston on Friday
- Los Angeles Clippers host San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, then visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday and New Orleans Pelicans on Friday
- Los Angeles Kings host Washington Capitals on Wednesday
- Anaheim Ducks host Washington Capitals on Tuesday and the Carolina Hornets on Thursday.
- UCLA at USC on Saturday.
“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica.