SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers bounced back from a lopsided loss and showed the banged-up defending NFC champions aren't ready to pack it in quite yet.
Garoppolo threw three TD passes in the first half and Jason Verrett’s first interception in more than four years helped preserve the lead, giving the 49ers a 24-16 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
“Whenever you get embarrassed like we did last week you can find out a lot about your team,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Usually when stuff like that happens, guys either give in and try to hide or guys try to step up and get better.”
Garoppolo got pulled at halftime last week in a 43-17 loss to Miami after struggling on a bum ankle, raising questions if the injury-riddled Niners (3-3) would be able to contend in the NFC West after back-to-back home losses to the Dolphins and Philadelphia.
But Garoppolo staked the Niners to a 21-6 halftime lead over the Rams (4-2) by relying mostly on short passes and connecting on TDs with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
“It was a different mindset that everyone had,” Garoppolo said. “The couple of weeks before that, no one like that feeling. It wasn’t who we are as a team. This week got us back on track.”
San Francisco’s defense stepped up with some key stops in the second half. Los Angeles got in the red zone on its first possession of the third quarter, but settled for a field goal after Andrew Whitworth committed a false start on third-and-1.
The Rams were in position to cut even more into the deficit before Dre Greenlaw stopped Darrell Henderson for a 1-yard loss on second-and-goal from the 1, Cooper Kupp dropped a pass in the end zone on third down and Verrett came up with the interception on fourth down.