Rams fall to 49ers yet again, despite Aaron Donald's best efforts

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Aaron Donald temporarily broke the Los Angeles Rams out of their slumber on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, but the Rams weren't able to finish things off after coming back to take the lead. The 49ers kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to grab a 23-20 win at SoFi Stadium.

It marked the fourth consecutive loss to the 49ers (5-6) for the Rams (7-4), and it knocked the Rams out of the NFC West lead. Things looked better early in the second half, as Donald sparked two quick touchdowns when he broke into the backfield and stripped Raheem Mostert at the Rams' 23-yard line. Troy Hill picked up the ball at the 20 for a scoop-and-score. Cam Akers then put the Rams ahead 20-17 on a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

But the 49ers, who led 17-3 at one point, slowly regained control of the game, tying it on a 44-yard field goal with 3:11 left and driving from their own 20 into field goal range. Then they broke Rams hearts yet again and gave them their first loss at SoFi Stadium.

Pivotal play: With the 49ers ahead 17-6 with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter, Donald forced running back Raheem Mostert to fumble at the 49ers' 23-yard line. Hill scooped up the ball and ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown to make it a one-possession game.

QB performance: It was déjà vu for quarterback Jared Goff, who struggled in a Week 6 loss to the 49ers and struggled again Sunday. Goff produced two first-half turnovers -- an interception and a fumble -- and was 11-of-16 for 107 yards. He didn't fare much better to start the second half, throwing an interception on the second play that defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw returned 27 yards for a touchdown to give the 49ers a 14-3 lead. Goff finished 19-of-31 for 198 yards and two interceptions. He was unable to lead the Rams to a go-ahead score late, setting the stage for the 49ers' game-winning kick.

Troubling trend: Turnovers. The Rams lost four turnovers Sunday, including Goff's two miscues and a fumble by veteran running back Malcolm Brown, his first turnover this season. Coach Sean McVay has emphasized the need to take better care of the football, but the Rams continue to rank among the most turnover-prone teams in the league after Sunday's performance. In the first quarter, Brown lost a fumble on the opening series, and Goff watched as cornerback Richard Sherman picked off an easy pass in the third series. With less than a minute to play in the first half, Goff scrambled 3 yards before defensive back Jimmie Ward wrapped him up and knocked the ball out. On the second play of the second half, Goff threw his second interception of the game, which marked his 14th turnover this season and his third game with multiple passes intercepted.

Promising trend: The defense continues to be a force and on Sunday forced three turnovers. Turnovers became a point of emphasis entering the second half of the season. The Rams lost the ball twice in the first quarter, but in both instances, the defense was able to quickly get it back. The first came when Donald tipped a Nick Mullens pass that rookie safety Jordan Fuller picked off -- Fuller's third interception in the past two games. The turnover was converted into the Rams' only three points in the first half. Later in the first quarter, defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day forced Jeff Wilson to fumble, which defensive end Morgan Fox recovered. Donald also broke a two-game streak without a tackle or sack, finishing Sunday with five tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.