The St. Louis Rams struck first in what could be a division-deciding matchup with the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, picking up a 42 yard field goal from Josh Brown on their first drive of the game. Sam Bradford was perfect, 5-for-5 for 41 yards to Steven Jackson and Brandon Gibson, but an offensive holding call on Rodger Saffold stopped the drive just in front of the red zone.
After Troy Smith and Vernon Davis connected for a 32-yard pass on the first play of the 49ers drive it looked like things could get high-scoring, but the Rams defense took it from there—Chris Long and James Laurinaitis harried Smith, combining for two sacks, and forcing a punt from inside the Rams’ own 40.
The Rams will look to establish the running game in subsequent drives—Jackson only had two rushes for three yards on their abbreviated first drive. But if Bradford can continue to show the accuracy he’s had since their October 31 victory over Carolina, he could prove to be the key.