Oct 13, 2014 10:07 PM
Rams lead 49ers 14-10 at halftime
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) Benny Cunningham scored on a 1-yard run and Lance Kendricks had a 22-yard touchdown reception, part of a fast start for the St. Louis Rams that turned into a 14-10 halftime lead against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.
St. Louis had a two-touchdown lead before San Francisco rallied in the second quarter. Phil Dawson kicked a field goal to get the 49ers on the board, and Colin Kaepernick threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd.
Cunningham's TD capped an 80-yard drive on the first possession of the game. Austin Davis marched the Rams down the field, completing all four of his passes for 56 yards including a season-long 39-yard grab for Jared Cook.
Backup center Tim Barnes came in to give St. Louis an extra offensive lineman, and Cunningham followed him and tight end Cory Harkey before stretching across the goal line for the touchdown.
It was a 180-degree difference from the Rams' start a week earlier, when they went three-and-out and Johnny Hekker had a punt blocked as Philadelphia built a 34-7 lead before holding off St. Louis 34-28.
San Francisco went three-and-out on its first drive but was starting to put together an answer before safety Rodney McLeod popped the ball free from tight end Vance McDonald after a 21-yard pickup. James Laurinaitis scooped up the loose ball and returned it 17 yards to set up the Rams' second score.
The Niners (3-2) finally got on the board midway through the second quarter, taking advantage after Hekker's 13-yard punt. Dawson, who was 9 for 9 in the Niners' last two games, hit on a 54-yarder with 7:07 left. He is now 4 for 4 from at least 50 yards this season.
Kaepernick then found Lloyd streaking past Janoris Jenkins and down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left before halftime, cashing in on a drive that started at the 5 with 1:50 to play.
Kaepernick had 192 yards on 11-for-16 passing as the usually ground-focused 49ers ran just six times for 10 yards.
Davis was 11 of 14 for 137 yards for the Rams.
The 49ers have won six in a row on Monday night, all by double digits, and 12 of their last 13 October games.
St. Louis got the first noteworthy contributions this season from two of its draft picks, former Auburn teammates Greg Robinson and Tre Mason. Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, made his first career start, moving in at left guard while Rodger Saffold moved to the right side.
Mason, a third-round pick, picked up 24 yards on his first career carry, going right up the middle on the first play after McDonald's fumble. Davis found Kendricks open in the left side of the end zone three plays later for a 14-0 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.
The Niners made plenty of mistakes. After committing only two penalties a week earlier, San Francisco was flagged four times although only three were accepted in the first 8 minutes.
All-Pro tight end Vernon Davis was back for the 49ers after missing last week and two of the last three games with a back injury. Kaepernick tried to target him on the team's first offensive play but nearly threw an interception when cornerback E.J. Gaines sped in front of Davis on a slant route. Davis also dropped a pass that hit him in the chest in the second quarter but had two catches for 13 yards by halftime.
For the Rams, the fast start and quick fizzle mimicked their last home game, when they jumped to a quick 21-0 lead on Dallas before losing 34-31.
The Rams invited Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and the rest of the 1999 Super Bowl championship team back for a pregame celebration and to be honored at halftime, sprinkling in highlights from that season on the big screen during timeouts. St. Louis also wore throwback uniforms with royal blue and bright yellow for the occasion, looking back at a better time before the current string of nine straight years without a playoff berth.
There were no signs of unrest at the Edward Jones Dome on a day when demonstrations were held in suburban Ferguson and at St. Louis' city hall in protest of how police handled the Michael Brown shooting in August. A march was held over the weekend downtown.