The San Francisco 49ers were on the road for the second-straight week, traveling south to SoFi Stadium to open up NFC West play against the Los Angeles Rams. The team entered the contest riding an eight-game regular season win streak over the Rams and extended that string of wins to nine with their 30-23 win on Sunday afternoon.
"What sealed it and what allowed us to separate ourselves were the two turnovers we got," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. " Deommodore Lenoir did an awesome job jumping that, and Isaiah Oliver had the other with the tip. Then, we didn't turn it over on offense, We missed a couple that we had a chance on to get the score going, so we weren't perfect in that way, but I was pumped with the way we finished."
Here are the five takeaways from Sunday's game:
RB Christian McCaffrey Game 2.0
The 49ers Week 8 game against the Rams has been referred to as the CMC game after the do-it-all running back completed the touchdown trifecta, running in, throwing and catching a touchdown pass. In 2023, McCaffrey continued to show out for the red and gold at SoFi Stadium. He got the scoring started, barreling in for a 14-yard score to cap off a 75-yard opening drive for San Francisco.
On the ensuing drive, the seventh-year pro ripped off a 51-yard gain to end the first quarter and set the 49ers up in the red zone. San Francisco went on to kick a field goal after a third-down reception was overturned, and took the 10-3 lead early in the second quarter. He finished with 20 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown on the ground and three receptions for 19 yards through the air.
"You run with your eyes and your feet follow, so understanding where to put your eyes on every run, what the scheme is trying to accomplish is so important," McCaffrey said when asked about the benefits of an offseason with the 49ers. "Having more wisdom under my belt is very important."
QB Brock Purdy Remains Perfect in Regular Season Starts
With the 49ers (outcome) win over the Rams, Purdy extends his regular season win streak to eight games (seven starts) that dates back to Week 13 of the 2022 season. The second-year pro followed up an impressive outing in the season opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers with another solid showing in Los Angeles. Purdy completed 17-of-25 passes for 206 yards and ran in a one-yard touchdown. Purdy's quarterback sneak tied the game up at 17 points to close out the first half.
TE George Kittle Hits a Career Milestone
The People's Tight End hit the 400 career receptions mark after catching a 12-yard throw from Purdy in the second quarter. By doing so on Sunday, he became the fastest player in franchise history to reach the milestone. Kittle completed the task in 84 games and unseated Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice who previously held the record (85 games). Only four NFL tight ends have eclipsed the 400 career receptions benchmark in fewer games. Those tight ends are Kellen Winslow (72 games), Travis Kelce (78 games) and Jimmy Graham (81 games).
CB Isaiah Oliver Headlines the 49ers Defensive Efforts
The 49ers free agent pickup had a tremendous second-half effort in Sunday's contest. His first big play of the game came on the first Rams possession of the second half. Oliver tackled LA running back Kyren Williams two yards short of the first down on third-and-five. The Rams tried to go for it on fourth down, but after a delay of game, were forced to punt.
On the next defensive series, Oliver pounced on a deflected pass attempt from Stafford and secured the first interception of the game. San Francisco drove down to the Rams 39 yard line and rookie kicker Jake Moody drilled it from 57 yards out to give the 49ers the 20-17 advantage late in the third quarter. Oliver snapped Stafford's streak of 163 pass attempts without an interception.
"He was a stud today," Shanahan said. "I have to watch the whole tape to get through all of it, but he made some huge plays... Especially with out DBs getting banged up throughout the game, those guys had to step it up because they were kind of all over the place, and he did a great job."
LB Fred Warner Gets Home at the Right Time
On the final defensive series of third quarter, Warner sacked Stafford on third-and-ten for a loss of ten yards to force the Rams second punt of the frame. That was the first time Stafford has been sacked in this 2023 season. Oliver's interception and Warner's huge sack provided a huge momentum shift for San Francisco in the second half after going back and forth with LA in the first two quarters. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir added another pick in the fourth quarter to button up the 49ers big defensive rally.