The Los Angeles Rams won a Super Bowl. The banner will fly at SoFi Stadium as long as the building stands. Those memories last a lifetime.
Rams fans might need to tell themselves that a few times over the rest of this season. The sequel to their Super Bowl season has been a flop and it might not get much better.
The Rams were soundly beaten by the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 at home on Sunday. It was a 49ers team without star receiver Deebo Samuel and a couple key pieces on defense, due to injury. It didn't matter because the Niners (4-4) were the far superior team even without those players.
The Rams are 3-4 and by no means does that count them out of the playoff race, especially in the NFC. But if you've watched the Rams this season, it's clear this is not the same team that won a championship last season. It's probably safe to say that no last-minute trade before Tuesday's deadline will turn everything around, either. Bringing back Odell Beckham Jr. would ease one issue, but it wouldn't fix the entire offense. And given how the Rams' season is going, maybe Beckham will want to explore other options anyway.
Rams get crushed in second half
The Rams were dominated in the first meeting against the 49ers. Sunday's rematch was closer but still a loss.
That means the Rams lost the season series and the head-to-head tiebreaker. They're only a half-game behind the 49ers but if those teams tie at the end of the season, the 49ers take the division. The Seattle Seahawks (5-3) will have something to say about that too.
It's hard to buy that the Rams, in their current state, can play well enough to keep pace with the 49ers or Seahawks. They're a flawed team. They can't block or run the football. Allen Robinson II has awoken a bit the past couple games, but the passing game is still mostly Cooper Kupp and nothing else.
The Rams started well. Matthew Stafford dove in for a touchdown run and they led 7-0. They also led 14-10 at halftime.
Then the 49ers took over the game. Christian McCaffrey, who the Rams tried to trade for but were unsuccessful, had a monster game for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo hit McCaffrey for a touchdown pass, McCaffrey ran one in and then when George Kittle caught another Garoppolo touchdown throw, it was 31-14 and the game was all but over.
Last season the Rams might have had a small shot at a comeback. Not this season. Not with the way they're playing on offense.
Rams can't stop Christian McCaffrey
The 49ers are flawed too, but the addition of McCaffrey elevates them. He was awesome on Sunday, with a touchdown passing, rushing and receiving. The Rams had no answer for him.
Kupp is a great weapon but the Rams need more. They don't have a McCaffrey out of the backfield, but they couldn't block for him even if they did. The Rams were reportedly trying to land McCaffrey in a trade but fell short. He wouldn't have fixed the offensive line issues, which is the main thing holding back the Rams' offense.
Los Angeles isn't a bad team and they'll be happy to not face the 49ers again. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has an excellent 9-4 record against counterpart Sean McVay. The Rams have a difficult time blocking the 49ers' front. They don't match up well, and the season sweep is no fluke.
The Rams have plenty of work to do to remain in the NFC West race, or the wild-card race. Not that it came easy for them last season, but this season has been much more challenging.
The Rams are finding out that defending a championship can be harder than winning one.