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Stingy defense leads Niners to blowout win

It was over when ...

49ers LB Patrick Willis returns an interception for a TD vs. the Rams.
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

49ers linebacker Patrick Willis intercepted a pass by Rams QB Kyle Boller and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, giving San Francisco a 21-0 lead with 5:31 left in the third quarter.

Game ball

In pitching the shutout, the Niners allowed 177 total yards, had five sacks and scored two defensive touchdowns, including DE Ray McDonald's 11-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter.

Key stat

The Rams committed 10 penalties for 73 yards. Not only did that put the St. Louis offense in less-than-ideal situations, it also allowed the 49ers defense to pick up steam.


This was the first shutout for the 49ers since Jan. 6, 2002, when they beat the Saints 38-0. ... The Niners shut out their NFC West rivals for the first time since Sept. 8, 1996 (34-0). ... This is the second time this season the Rams have been blanked. They lost the season-opener 28-0 to Seattle. ... Filling in for injured RB Frank Gore, rookie Glen Coffee rushed 24 times for 74 yards. He also had 32 yards receiving.


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