The San Francisco 49ers will try to bounce back from back to back blowout losses as they travel to St. Louis and face the 1-2 St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. The 49ers are currently in unfamiliar territory as they enter the game with their first loosing record since Jim Harbaugh took over the team a couple of seasons ago.
The Rams pose a significant threat because they have always played their NFC West opponents tough and the 49ers even tougher. Last year the Rams had the best record in the division going 4-1-1 and beating San Francisco once and tying in the other matchup. Their lone threat on offense is quarterback Sam Bradford, who just hasn’t had that much help. Bradford has six touchdown passes and has a respectable quarterback rating of 88.7 but it won’t mean much if his offensive line can’t protect him. Last week against the Cowboys, Bradford was sacked 6 times, so putting pressure on the quarterback should be a point of emphasis for San Francisco.
Offensively, the 49ers have struggled to move the ball and score any points. In the past two games they have been outscored 56-10 and it’s turnovers and the inability of Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, and Anquan Boldin to make plays that has caused the offense to sputter. The team is hopeful that Vernon Davis will be back on the field and provide a spark and another weapon in the passing game. Frank Gore will also have to step up after reports came out that that wasn’t happy about the amount of touches he got last week. Demarco Murray of the Cowboys rushed for 175 yards last week against that Ram defense so look for Gore to have a good day on the ground as well.
Key Matchup: Receivers vs. Secondary
Both Colin Kaepernick and Sam Bradford will need their receivers to get open and make plays especially on third down in order to be successful. The 49ers receiver haven’t been able to do that with man to man coverage which has affected their running game as well.
Bottom Line: Must win
I know it’s early but for it would be a complete disaster for the 49ers to start the year 1-3 so this is a must win game. If they give the ball to Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter instead of putting the entire onus on Kap, then I see the 49ers grinding out a victory against a team that always plays them tough.
San Francisco 49ers: 17
St. Louis Rams:6