The Los Angeles Rams suffered a 30-23 loss to the rival San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. San Francisco is now 9-1 vs. L.A. since 2019, and it extended its regular-season win streak to 12. This was a fun matchup, but it ended in wild fashion, as Rams head coach Sean McVay kicked what appeared to be a meaningless field goal as time expired to lose by seven points instead of 10.
This field goal wasn’t totally meaningless, though, as the 49ers were listed as 7.5/8-point favorites during the week. With that made field goal, Rams backers won their bets, while 49ers bettors lost. On Monday, McVay explained his decision to kick that field goal, and interestingly enough, even brought up the gambling aspect in his answer.
“We were going to try to kick a field goal once we got into field goal position to then be able to kick an onside and try to give ourselves the real opportunity to win the game,” McVay said, via Pro Football Talk. By the time it got down to it, [I] didn’t anticipate that in-cut that we hit Puka [Nacua] running that long and just said, ‘Alright, go ahead and kick the field goal.’ [I] felt like it was an opportunity to be able to not leave Matthew [Stafford] susceptible to an unnecessary heave to the end zone and get an opportunity for our field goal operation. The initial goal was to try to get a two-for-one to where you end up getting into field goal range a little bit earlier with some of the play selections that we had and then ultimately be able to try to have an onside kick to then be able to go try to compete to tie or win the game. Apparently, [V.P. of communications] Artis [Twyman] told me there’s a lot of people in Vegas pissed off about that decision. I clearly was not aware of that stuff.”
With zero timeouts and the Rams offense at the 49ers’ 37-yard line with 22 seconds remaining, Matthew Stafford hit Puka Nacua inside the 49ers’ 30-yard line. Nacua ran to the 20-yard line, where he was finally tackled. The rookie wideout was a bit slow to get up, seemingly not realizing the situation, and then Stafford spiked the ball with four seconds left. Rams kicker Brett Maher then hit a 38-yard field goal as time expired.
McVay’s answer didn’t do much to answer the question. With four seconds left, it would be impossible to hit a field goal, recover an onside kick and then throw a Hail Mary. It’s clear the Rams’ plan was to attempt a two-for-one during which they’d convert the quick field goal and then attempt the onside kick. However, it didn’t work out that way.