The San Francisco 49ers' usually volatile offense was quiet most of the game.
Until the Los Angeles Rams threatened late.After Los Angeles pulled within 13-10 on Tony Zendejas' 35-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, Steve Young and the 49ers reeled off two long touchdown drives to put the Rams away 27-10.
"This is just another way to win," said Young, who threw for only 167 yards and scrambled three times for 16 yards as the 49ers (9-2) beat the Rams (4-7) for the sixth consecutive time at Anaheim Stadium dating to 1986.
"If people keep playing us in the nickel, we'll take 10 yards a shot," Young said. "The difference now is, we've got a guy who can pop it."
Ricky Watters "popped it" for 163 yards in 26 carries and scored twice on 3-yard runs against the Rams.
Although he didn't throw for a lot of yards, Young hooked up with Jerry Rice on the big play of the game, a 42-yard touchdown pass for a 20-10 lead with 6:36 left to play.
Rice, well-covered by Anthony Newman, went up high over the defender, juggled the ball briefly, then controlled it and fought his way the final few yards into the end zone.
The touchdown was the 99th of Rice's career, leaving him one away from Steve Largent's NFL record.
The 49ers' defense stopped the Rams cold on their next possession, then San Francisco went 61 yards to seal the victory, with Watters scoring a second time from 3 yards out.
Watters, a rookie who sat out last year with injuries, came up with his best rushing day as a pro despite having a bad case of flu the previous day.
"I feel good now," Watters said. "Yesterday I didn't think I would be able to play. And I really didn't think I would have the kind of game I had today."
"Watters broke a lot of tackles," Rams coach Chuck Knox said. "We had a lot of hits on him, but he just kept coming."
The 49ers' defense held Jim Everett to 158 yards on 13-of-29 passing.
"We had a chance to beat those guys," Everett said. "We were in the ball game until the end."
The Rams' touchdown came after Larry Kelm recovered a fumble by Young on the San Francisco 45 early in the second half. Henry Ellard slipped behind the 49ers' secondary and Everett hit him for a 31-yard touchdown.
Rice, who had four catches for 93 yards, did set a team record by catching at least one pass in 106 consecutive games. Dwight Clark had catches in 105 straight.