SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In their two losses this season, the San Francisco 49ers' defense just needed a little help from the offense. On Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, it turns out what was really needed was a heaping helping of Deebo Samuel.
The Niners' previously struggling offense got the spark it needed from Samuel, who ignited the offense with a whirling dervish of a 57-yard touchdown catch and went on to a six-catch, 115-yard night. San Francisco's suffocating defense took care of the rest in a 24-9 victory that was the Niners' seventh straight against the Rams in the regular season. The victory pushed the 49ers to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 in the NFC West.
San Francisco 49ers Eye-popping Next Gen stat: Samuel's 57-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter included 51 yards after catch over expectation, per NFL Next Gen Stats. That's the second most on any pass play for the Niners since 2016, behind only the 83-yard catch he had to set up a score in a Week 8 win against the Chicago Bears in 2021. Samuel ran a total of 79.7 yards on the touchdown.
breakout performance: The Niners' second-year strong safety looked like an emerging star in the season's first three weeks with his fearless, attacking style and better-than-his-40-time coverage skills. But Hufanga made a big statement in front of a national audience Monday night, stepping in front of a short Matthew Stafford throw and juggling the ball a bit before securing it and racing 52 yards for the game-sealing touchdown. The Niners' defense is already star-studded, but it looks like they'll need room for one more.
Underrated statistic to know: The first-quarter field goal by Rams kicker Matt Gay marked the first points the 49ers have allowed on their first defensive possession this season. It was also the first points allowed by the 49ers in a first quarter this season. They were the last team to allow a first-quarter point.