The LA Rams know what 49ers will do. Now, can they stop them?
49ers commit to the run
In each of the past three wins over the Rams, the 49ers have averaged 38 rushing attempts per game and just 29 passing attempts. It’s not as though the 49ers have been remarkably successful at running the football. With all of that rushing, the 49ers have amassed a total of over three games of 390 yards on the ground, or 3.42 yards per rush.
It’s not the most effective way to move the chains. But the Niners’ offense knows that even if the Rams stop one running play, they will be vulnerable to give up the first down, even if the down and distance typically favor the defense. That’s because they know that Garoppolo will have time to throw.
So the 49ers can run often. If they do not move the chains on the ground, they will pass for it.
The 49ers know that it’s easy to frustrate and confound HC Sean McVay. By controlling the clock, the LA Rams are cattle-shooted into taking more risks on offense. Then, the defense that has studied the Rams’ offensive tendencies can jump routes and create damaging turnovers.
Turnovers kill winning streaks. Right now, the LA Rams are a paltry +3 in net turnovers, thanks to a bit of generosity on the part of quarterback Matthew Stafford. When it comes to the 49ers, the LA Rams have run at a -4 net turnover rate in the past three games. Much of the time, the margin of victory has come down to a damaging turnover that has either led to points for San Francisco, taking points off the board for the LA Rams, or both.
Time of Possession
In three games, the 49ers have possed the ball for 111:01 out of 180:00 minutes. That works out to 63 percent of the available time of possession is in the hands of the 49ers. On a per-game basis, that is nearly 38 minutes of a 60 minute game with the San Francisco offense moving the ball.
Can you see where the problems are with the LA Rams when they allow the 49ers to dictate the pace of the football game? Okay, so now that we know what the 49ers have done in the past three games to win, what can the LA Rams do to counter that strategy?