49ers 6

(1-11, 0-6 away)

Rams 16

(6-6, 4-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 5, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
SF 3 0 3 06
STL 3 10 0 316

Defense shuts down 49ers' ground game

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Together, the oldest player and the youngest player on the St. Louis roster came through.

The Rams' best call in a 16-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday was backup quarterback Chris Chandler, 39, handing off to Steven Jackson, 21. Marshall Faulk's understudy showed he's ready for full-time duty and Chandler helped the Rams survive Marc Bulger's shoulder injury.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

49ers at Rams: What do you make of the Rams' lackluster win over the struggling Niners?

This win is indicative of the Rams' play. They are just good enough to beat some very good teams, but are inconsistent in enough key areas that they will occasionally struggle against teams they should beat on paper. The Rams are in a difficult spot because they have some players from their era of dominance who are still key contributors on the team, but they don't have enough of those players to maintain that former level of play. Luckily for them they do have enough talent to make the playoffs this season, but they still have issues to address on defense. This is just a shell of those Super Bowl teams and the Rams have to begin the process of getting more youth involved on both sides of the ball.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

"I think he was born when I was going into college," Chandler said. "We actually joked around about that a lot in the preseason, and how I was the oldest guy and he's the youngest guy and let's take it down the field and score on them."

Jackson ran for 119 yards on 26 carries, his first career 100-yard game. He was the first running back taken in this year's draft and he took advantage of Faulk's bruised left knee to get his first full game.

"I knew early on that I was getting the start and that I was going to be playing a lot," Jackson said. "I challenged myself to go over 100 yards, and Coach Martz did a good job of sticking with the run."

49ers coach Dennis Erickson coached Jackson for two years at Oregon State, so he wasn't surprised by what happened.

"He's a heck of a player, he really is," Erickson said. "One good recruit I got, anyway."

Bulger had taken every snap this season before leaving with a sprained right shoulder after a sack by Bryant Young late in the first quarter, an injury that's not considered serious by the Rams. Chandler threw his first touchdown pass in more than a year, but also threw an interception into double coverage and lost a fumble.

Chandler, the first quarterback other than Bulger to direct a St. Louis victory since the end of the 2001 season, was 18-for-27 for 216 yards and hit Torry Holt for a 22-yard score in the second quarter for the Rams' lone touchdown. He last threw a touchdown pass on Nov. 16, 2003 for the Bears -- against St. Louis.

The Rams (6-6) added three field goals from Jeff Wilkins, two from 52 yards. The St. Louis defense sealed it against one of the worst teams in the NFL by holding the 49ers (1-11) to 63 yards rushing on 27 carries.

St. Louis had lost four of five and defense had been the main culprit, allowing 703 yards rushing to the last four opponents.

Jerametrius Butler's interception at the 7 with 12:35 left and the Rams leading by a touchdown was St. Louis' biggest play, though. Butler stepped in front of Brandon Lloyd on a slant pattern for his fourth interception, and only the Rams' 11th takeaway of the season.

Last year, St. Louis had 46 takeaways.

"I knew it was coming because most teams run slants on me," Butler said. "The ball was right there. It was a huge play."

Bulger entered the game with an NFL-leading 3,267 yards passing, 71 more than Peyton Manning. He was 3-for-4 for 22 yards before leaving with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

"He'll be back," coach Mike Martz said. "Whether it's this week, we don't know. He won't miss a lot of time."

Making matters worse, the player that Young beat, offensive tackle Grant Williams, also fell on top of Bulger. Williams, who has struggled for several weeks, was benched in the third quarter.

"I just landed on him," Young said. "I don't know if Grant was on me or not."

Faulk had 123 yards rushing in the Rams' 24-14 victory at San Francisco on Oct. 10 and was active for the rematch, but he wasn't needed. The 231-pound Jackson carried eight times for 37 yards on St. Louis' opening drive that set up a 29-yard field goal by Wilkins.

Jackson has started two other games in two-back sets, but Faulk had gotten the vast majority of the playing time. Jackson's previous bests were 64 yards rushing at Seattle on Oct. 10 and 13 carries against the Bucs on Oct. 18.

Torry Holt had 10 catches for 160 yards to help the Rams go to 5-0 against the weak NFC West. The Rams are the fifth NFL franchise to win 500 games.

Tim Rattay was 10-for-21 for 121 yards for the 49ers, who have lost seven in a row. Rattay sprained an arch on the 49ers' first possession and Erickson said he was questionable for next week.

Game notes

49ers LB Brandon Moore was carted off in the fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain and RB Kevan Barlow sustained a concussion. ... Rams DE Anthony Hargrove sustained a concussion in the third quarter. ... Wilkins is the first Rams kicker with two 50-yarders in the same game since Tony Zendejas in 1992. ... The other teams with 500 franchise victories are the Bears, Packers, Giants and Redskins.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 4 plays, 81 yds, 1:30
Drive info: 4 plays, 81 yds, 1:30
sfFG2:28Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 42 yds, 2:07
sfFG8:37Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 27 yds, 4:16
stlFG7:05Jeff Wilkins 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 60 yds, 5:30
stlFG0:50Jeff Wilkins 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 27 yds, 2:00
stlFG5:01Jeff Wilkins 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 62 yds, 8:19