Recap San Francisco at St. Louis
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Colin Kaepernick passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns as the San Francisco 49ers overcame an early deficit to rally past the St. Louis Rams, 31-17, in an NFC West showdown on Monday night.
The second best passing effort of Kaepernick's career overshadowed a rocky start, as the Rams jumped out to a 14-0 lead. San Francisco scored 24 straight points after that, however, thanks in large part to a momentum-shifting touchdown at the end of the first half.
Trailing 14-3 less than 30 seconds before halftime, Brandon Lloyd put a double move on Janoris Jenkins and turned up the left sideline. Kaepernick hit him in stride, and the speedy receiver turned on the jets and sprinted to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown.
"Big momentum boost for us," said Kaepernick. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunities early in the game. We did later in the game."
Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree also caught TD passes for the 49ers (4-2), who have won three straight following a two-game slide. Kaepernick improved to 4-0 in his career on Monday Night Football.
Austin Davis completed 21-of-42 passes for 236 yards, a touchdown and an interception for St. Louis (1-4).
"I'm pleased with what Austin is doing," said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. "He's our guy."
The Rams offense looked like a well-oiled machine on the opening series of the game. Davis needed to convert just one third down -- a 39-yard pitch and catch with Jared Cook -- before a pass interference in the end zone set up 1st-and- goal from the 3. Benny Cunningham punched it in from the 1 to make it 7-0.
Vance McDonald caught a short pass from Kaepernick late in the first quarter and ran 21 yards, but Rodney McLeod jarred the ball free and James Laurinaitis scooped it up, setting up another Rams touchdown.
Rookie Tre Mason, who recorded his first career touch earlier in the game, opened the drive with a 24-yard run, and three plays later, Davis hooked up with a wide open Lance Kendricks for a 22-yard score.
Phil Dawson hit from 54 yards out midway through the second quarter to put the 49ers on the scoreboard.
The Rams' last drive of the first half stalled at their 49, and Johnny Hekker's punt pinned San Francisco at its own 5 with 1:50 remaining. Consecutive passes to Boldin put the Niners on the 24, but a penalty and short Carlos Hyde reception made it 3rd-and-6 from the 20. Lloyd's fireworks gave the Niners hope heading into the locker room.
San Francisco took its first lead on the opening drive of the second half, with more Kaepernick magic leading to Boldin's first touchdown reception of the season. Facing pressure on 3rd-and-1 from the Rams 11, Kaepernick rolled left, backpedaled and lofted a pass just over Jenkins, finding Boldin in the back left corner of the end zone.
Following another Hekker punt, the Niners offense marched back down for a third straight touchdown. Stevie Johnson made catches of nine and 20 yards to start the 78-yard trek, which ended with Crabtree's 32-yard TD reception.
The Rams finally made a stand, stuffing San Francisco on four straight plays from inside the 2-yard line to force a turnover. They punted it back after a quick three-and-out, but caught a break when they stopped the Niners again on 4th-and-1.
Davis took advantage of the field position, completing four passes to set up Greg Zuerlein's 38-yard field goal that made it a one possession game with 2:28 to play.
Johnson pounced on Zuerlein's ensuing onsides kick, and once again St. Louis' defense was up to the task, forcing an Andy Lee punt with just over a minute to play.
Two plays into the final drive, Dontae Johnson jumped in front of a telegraphed pass intended for Kenny Britt and took it 20 yards to the end zone to seal the outcome.