Rams lock up NFC's 6th seed after win over 49ers

Puka Nacua #17 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass breaking the "total receiving yards in a season for a rookie" record against Isaiah Oliver #26 of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo b (Getty Images)

Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score to lead the Los Angeles Rams to a 21-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a game filled with backups.

Wentz scored on a 12-yard run with 4:56 to play and then converted a 2-point conversion pass to Tutu Atwell to give the Rams (10-7) a 21-20 lead.

Los Angeles held on from there and clinched the sixth seed in the NFC and a trip to Detroit in the wild-card round next weekend.

The game had little meaning with the 49ers (12-5) having clinched the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye and the Rams clinching a playoff spot last week.

That led both teams to sit several starters, including both quarterbacks, with Brock Purdy getting the day off for San Francisco and Matthew Stafford for Los Angeles.

That provided an opportunity for former top-three picks Wentz and Sam Darnold to get their first starts of the season.

Darnold went 16 for 26 for 189 yards with a TD run and a TD pass to Ronnie Bell.

The biggest drama might have been Rams receiver Puka Nacua’s chase of the rookie records for catches and yards receiving. Nacua caught a 19-yard TD pass from Wentz in the first quarter to tie Bill Groman’s record of 1,473 yards that had stood since 1960.

He then broke the mark with a 7-yard catch on the opening drive of the third quarter. Nacua stayed in the game for one more play and caught a 6-yard pass to give him 105 catches — one more than the record set by Miami’s Jaylen Waddle in 2021.

Nacua’s day was done and he went to the sideline to get a hug from his mother.

The Rams scored on a TD pass from Wentz to Tyler Johnson. Brett Maher missed the extra point as Los Angeles’ kicking woes continued.

The Rams have missed a league-high 16 combined extra points and field goals this season. They waived Lucas Havrisik after he missed two extra points last week and brought back Maher, who missed six FGs and one PAT in seven games earlier this season. That didn’t seem to help the cause.

San Francisco had its own kicking woes with rookie Jake Moody missing a 38-yard field goal for his first miss of any kind since Week 7. Moody then missed his first extra point after 60 straight makes late in the first half.


  • Rams: S Jordan Fuller (ankle) and LB Troy Reeder (knee) left the game in the first half and didn’t return.
  • 49ers: DE Clelin Ferrell left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. ... The Niners had several injured players inactive and also didn’t play TE George Kittle (back spasms) and LB Dre Greenlaw (Achilles tendinitis) despite having them on the game-day roster.


  • Rams: Visit Detroit next weekend with former Lions QB Stafford facing former Rams QB Jared Goff.
  • 49ers: First-round bye and then a divisional-round game at home on Jan. 20 or 21.