It looked like the Los Angeles Rams would cruise to victory in their Week 18 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
After all, the visitors didn’t score until the first half’s final seconds via a Robbie Gould field goal.
With their defense, the Rams could clinch their 13th win of the season.
However, the Niners turned things around in the second half and overtime.
Pretty embarrassing for Sean McVay, especially since he ended up losing his sixth straight to Kyle Shanahan pic.twitter.com/gQP5e8nZ3C
— Steve Berman (@BASportsGuy) January 10, 2022
Kyle Shanahan’s crew understood what was at stake with this triumph.
When it’s all said and done, San Francisco will return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
The Niners also swept the Rams this season, and McVay lost his sixth straight game to Shanahan.
More importantly, they proved that McVay is not invincible when leading after the first two quarters.
McVay’s Streak Is Over
Before the game against the 49ers, McVay and the Rams were 45-0 when leading after the first half.
That mark is an NFL record, beating Bill Belichick’s previous record of 42 consecutive games under such conditions.
Unfortunately, that streak became seriously under threat when the Niners scored 14 straight points to level the count at 17.
Sean McVay is no longer undefeated when leading at halftime. pic.twitter.com/JBDq2UqtCt
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 10, 2022
From that moment, the Niners looked rejuvenated and their defense started to dominate the usually-stable Rams’ offensive line.
Los Angeles ended up scoring just seven points the rest of the way, courtesy of a touchdown pass by Stafford to Cooper Kupp.
It looked to be the game’s deciding play for a while until Jimmy Garoppolo found Jennings for the tying touchdown.
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) January 10, 2022
The Rams had a chance to win the game in overtime, but the Niners clinched their postseason berth with an interception.
San Francisco wanted to win more, which manifested during their 24-7 run after the first half.
More importantly, McVay’s streak comes to an end.
The Fight Continues For Los Angeles
Luckily for the Rams, they are still going to the playoffs.
The division title is also theirs after the Arizona Cardinals suffered a setback versus the Seattle Seahawks.
With his streak over, McVay can use this result as a wake-up call before their rematch against Arizona during Super Wild Card Weekend.
NFC West Champs. More to do. pic.twitter.com/QBUkgrPxZb
— xz – Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 10, 2022
They cannot afford the same meltdown if they want to represent the NFC and play at home for Super Bowl LVI.
Given the playoffs knockout format, allowing the game to slip away again will end their season.
All the buildup they made before and during the season will go up in smoke when that happens.
Matthew Stafford: "It was a tough environment for us to communicate in, really the entire second half."
The Rams were at home.
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) January 10, 2022
In some ways, their defeat against the 49ers can become a blessing in disguise.
Now that they’ve tasted defeat despite having a comfortable lead, the Rams will do whatever it takes to avoid a repeat.