LA Rams beating the 49ers may depend entirely upon RB Cam Akers

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Cam Akers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The tale of two halves

Some wonder how the LA Rams could be up by a score that at one point in time was 17-0, and then lose that game in the second half by a score of 27-24 in overtime. So let’s revisit the difference in play calling?

In the first possession of the game, the LA Rams rushed eight times and passed four times. The point is not to record which was gaining more yards, simply the pattern of how the Rams distributed their play calling. That offensive drive led to a field goal. The offense had the football for 8:53 of game time. Rams 3  49ers 0

In their second possession, the LA Rams rushed four times and passed the football eight times. This drive claimed a bit less off the game clock, but the Rams scored a touchdown by the end of the drive. The offense had the ball for 6:25 of game time  Rams 10 49ers 0

On the third possession, PR extraordinaire Bradon Powell returned a punt 31 yards to the 49ers’ 19-yard line. In this offensive series, the LA Rams rushed once and passed twice. This drive needed just 1:30 to result in the LA Rams’ second touchdown. It appeared at this point in time that the rout was on.  Rams 17 49ers 0

Empty backfield shanahanigans

The momentum began to shift in this one after the LA Rams intercepted a Jimmy Garappolo pass at their own 21-yard line. The Rams rushed three times and passed three times.  But on a third down and one yard to go from their 42-yard line, the Rams opted to go with an empty backfield and pass.

That decision to go for a home run, the inevitable taking-our-shot that Kyle Shanahan knows will come, was quickly thwarted by the 49ers pass rush. Stafford got sacked for a nine-yard loss, the offense only claimed 3:05 off the clock, and the 49ers got the football back with 0:38 left on the game clock in the first half. The 49ers would score 10 points before the Rams would touch the football again.
Rams 17 49ers 0
38 seconds later?
Rams 17 49ers 3

The LA Rams were ahead by a score of 17 to 3. More importantly, the Rams’ offensive distribution of play-calling was 16 rushing plays and 17 passing plays.