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The Latest: Falcons topple Rams 26-13, face Eagles next
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First-year coach Sean McVay called the loss "humbling" but didn't second-guess the decision to rest the stars.

"You certainly try to win the game," he said, "but when you look at the way we approached it,Authentic Sean Mannion Jersey, we feel good about being able to allow some of players to get some rest, some recovery time that I think is much needed for those guys, and then you keep a couple of guys out of harm's way."

McVay welcomed the challenge of playing the Falcons, adding: "Our players will be juiced up to be able to get this preparation going and I know our coaches certainly feel that way,Authentic Gerald Everett Jersey, too."

The 49ers (6-10) finished last in the division, but have hope with Garoppolo, who was Tom Brady's backup with New England before being acquired on Oct. 31. He threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to Marquise Goodwin — who later left with a concussion after a brutal hit by Blake Countess — and 12 yards to Aldrick Robinson. Both receivers were wide open.

Garoppolo completed 20 of 33 passes, looking confident and making some brilliant throws. He also was intercepted twice. Of course,Authentic Cooper Kupp Jersey, it helped not having to face Donald and the Rams' four starting linebackers.

"We could keep going," Garoppolo said. "It's unfortunate that our season comes to an end like this, but hopefully for next year we keep this good thing going. ... Next year's team will have a different identity than this one did, but I think ending the season how we did definitely helped us."

Carlos Hyde, who predicted last week that the Niners will win next season's Super Bowl,Authentic Josh Reynolds Jersey, ran 15 times for 90 yards, scoring on runs of 8 and 5 yards.

The game was marred when Goodwin was laid out with a shot to the left side of the helmet by Countess after an incomplete pass late in the first half. Goodwin flailed on the field for a moment before going still. He was tended to for several minutes before being helped to his feet and gingerly placed on a seat in the back of a cart. He motioned to fans with both hands and took off his helmet as he was driven up the tunnel at the LA Coliseum. He was ruled out with a concussion and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said tests were positive and that Goodwin would return to the Bay Area with the team. "It was really good news. His scan passed fine," Shanahan said. "It wasn't as scary as it seemed. He's going to be all right."

Countess was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting a defenseless player. He was being evaluated for a concussion.

"Unbelievable the safety did that," Garoppolo said. "It's not good for our sport, it's not good for anybody. It's just a dirty play. Marquise is as tough as they come and he bounces back from just about everything, so hopefully he'll be all right."

"The O-line wanted to make a statement," Garoppolo said. "We did that one for 'Quise, I think."

The catalyst for the 49ers' late-season run, Garoppolo showed a nice touch in finding open receivers. Working from the Rams 8 late in the first quarter, Garoppolo's primary receiver was covered, so the QB found Goodwin in the right flat for the easy score.

Early in the fourth, Robinson was wide open up the middle for his 12-yard scoring catch.

Robbie Gould capped the 49ers' first drive with a 33-yard field goal. The big play on that drive was Garoppolo's 44-yard pass to tight end George Kittle on third down. Kittle caught a short pass over the middle and broke it for a big gain.

The star running back was inactive,292 and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell with 1, costing him the NFL rushing title. Gurley came into Sunday leading the NFL with 1,305 yards, followed by Kansas City's Kareem Hunt with 1,291. Bell also sat out Sunday. Hunt's first carry Sunday was for 35 yards and a touchdown, moving him past Gurley.

The Atlanta Falcons stepped up big on defense and shut down the Los Angeles Rams on the road in Saturday’s Wild Card round game. Atlanta only scored two touchdowns, but that was enough in a 26-13 win that sends them to the Divisional round, where they will face the Philadelphia Eagles.

Matt Ryan didn’t blow up the box score, but he had an efficient game with 218 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-30 passing. The big story was the Falcons defense, which gave L.A. little room to work with. Todd Gurley managed 101 yards on 14 carries, but he was a non-factor in the passing game, which is a crucial component of the Rams’ offense.

Without Gurley’s run-after-catch skills to rely on, Jared Goff struggled. He finished his first playoff game with 24-of-45 passing for 259 yards and a touchdown, but the Rams couldn’t move the ball for long stretches. Sean McVay’s first year as Rams coach ends on a down note with a first-round playoff loss.

The melee occurred when Romero and his daughter walked down to see the players and take some pictures. He said security asked them to move because they were escorting people out who were sitting in the Rams family section, the station reported.

“We have an idea of who, but (she) kind of started arguing with me,” Romero said.

The woman allegedly told him he needed to move because she was “the player’s family.”

Stating the obvious: 1. The Rams had an astonishing turnaround season with myriad upsides for the future. 2. If they run the ball only 16 times, they’re not beating Atlanta nor anyone else.

Look at the regular season. In 11 wins, the Rams averaged 32 rushes for 136 yards. In four losses (omitting the “rest game” finale), it was 19 for a paltry 88.

You’ve got an MVP contender averaging nearly seven yards a carry at half, you’re down only three and you decide that’s the time to aim for your season low in rushing attempts? Geez,Womens Jamon Brown Jersey, Jeff Fisher could have done that.

The Rams playing their first playoff game in Los Angeles since 1979. A nervous packed house at the Coliseum.

L.A. after dark, y’all. Yeah, Womens Sean Mannion Jersey,it was bound to get weird. And it didn’t take long before the bizarreness began to unfold.

Or for the Rams to figure out it was going to take more than the electric atmosphere provided by the biggest and most engaged crowd of the season and all those trips down memory lane,Womens Cooper Kupp Jersey, as one former L.A. Rams great after another was paraded onto the field, to overcome all the weirdness.

Not to mention the experienced opponent standing proudly across from them in the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.

When the sun went down and the bright lights turned on and curtain lifted and the strangeness commenced the Rams, well, were nowhere to be found.

Not in the way we grew used to in the remarkable turnaround season they provided us with this season,Womens Gerald Everett Jersey,anyway.

All of which came to an abrupt,Womens John Johnson Jersey,  screeching halt Saturday night in a bitterly disappointing 26-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in which the Rams never quite found their way out of the darkness.

Todd Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards on just 14 carries but, oddly,Authentic Samson Ebukam Jersey, never even seemed a factor.

The normally spectacular Rams special teams uncharacteristically contributed two killer turnovers on punt returns,Authentic John Johnson Jersey, resulting in two first quarter scores for the Falcons and a hole the Rams could never quite dig out from under.

Pharoh Cooper, the Rams Pro Bowl punt returner, muffed one punt and coughed up another.

He’s been steady all year while emerging as a dynamic weapon in the Rams return game. On Saturday he looked like a wide eyed youngster.

“I’m sure he’d like to have a couple of those plays back,” said Rams head coach Sean McVay.

Jared Goff,Womens Josh Reynolds Jersey, so poised and efficient during his bounce back from suspected rookie bust to second-year Pro Bowler struggled to complete 24 of 45 passes for 259 yards and just one touchdown.

McVay, who masterfully stayed a step ahead of the posse all years with his game planning and play calling, could never quite figure out how to consistently generate positive yardage on early downs. The result was far too many off schedule second and third situations in which the Rams had to gobble up too many yards to keep the chains moving.

A defense that played proudly and fiercely all season was unable to come up with desperately needed stops as the Falcons marched down the field on two time-consuming second half drives.

The two scoring drives resulted in just a measly pair of field goals, but the Falcons erased more than 12 minutes from the clock while building a 19-10 cushion.

And by the time they tacked on a fourth-quarter touchdown, their lead was 23-13 and the Rams, essentially, were done.

It will take an entire offseason to figure out why and how a team that marched through the regular season while dropping more than 30 points on almost everybody they faced stumbled about all night like a guy trying find his way to the bathroom out of a pitch-black bedroom.

Only six players on the Rams have ever spent time on a playoff roster, none of them named Goff or Gurley or Robert Woods or Sammy Watkins or Cooper Kupp or Aaron Donald. Their young core, one of the greenest in all of football, had never experienced a winning season before this one, let alone stepped onto a stage as big as the NFL postseason.
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