When the LA Rams faced the San Francisco 49ers in Game 4, the LA Rams were without offensive center Brian Allen, offensive guard David Edwards, defensive back Troy Hill, defensive back Cobie Durant, defensive back David Long Jr., and wide receiver Van Jefferson. Both tight end Brycen Hopkins and DL Bobby Brown III were serving NFL-imposed suspensions. So the argument that the Rams faced a decimated 49ers team is a bit misinformed. The Rams were very short-handed in Game 4.
The Rams interior offensive line struggled mightily against the 49ers’ defensive front. The 49ers blitzed and stunted to get pressure on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford thoughout the entire game, and it succeeded. The Rams did not move the pocket, run misdirection plays, or simply run the football and catch 49ers defenders out of position.
Before beating the LA Rams, the San Francisco 49ers were 1-2. Since defeating the LA Rams, the 49ers are 1-3. And yet, when it comes to regular season games, the San Francisco 49ers have a seven-game winning streak against the Rams.
A mysterious, unexplainable streak that has gone on so long that the best recourse for Rams fans is to look past the 49ers game and hope for a win the following week.
Rams healing restores several areas of concern
But the Rams may have a shot in this one. With the Rams’ offensive line getting starting center Brian Allen back, the Rams’ offensive line will likely consist of Alaric Jackson, Bobby Evans, Brian Allen, Oday Aboushi, and Rob Havenstein. Evans and Jackson held up well against a formidable Carolina Panthers defensive front. While the Panthers’ offense has struggled, the Panthers’ defense has been very stout. Now, restore Brian Allen to the mix and the Rams’ offensive line may be at its best since opening day.
While the Rams’ rushing offense showed some signs in Game 6, the true spotlight for this one will be on LA Rams WR Van Jefferson. Jefferson was the only receiver who played the entire season with Cooper Kupp, and as a result, he became a huge weapon for the Rams. Not only did he allow the Rams to stretch defenses, but he afford Stafford a vital target in his pass routes that allowed the Rams’ offense to sustain drives.
On the defensive side of the football, the Rams will get DB Troy Hill, DB Cobie Durant, DB Jordan Fuller, and even DB David Long Jr. back to face the 49ers. Even without quarterback pressure and with a decimated secondary, the LA Rams’ defense held the 49ers’ offense to 22 runs for 88 yards and one touchdown, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to 16 of 27 passing for 239 yards and one touchdown, and just 17 points. QB Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six that allowed the 49ers to end the game with 24 points.
Will the Rams do better this time? Well, with the team’s secondary getting four defensive backs active for this game, the evidence suggests yes. The Rams’ pass defense struggled to cover Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, allowing 10 of 11 passes to find their mark for 152 yards and one touchdown. With so many defensive backs returning, the Rams should be able to put up more of a fight in this one.
Will it be enough to win the game? I’m not foolish enough to predict a victory against a team that that has proven to have the Rams number in the past seven regular season games.
But if the Rams prepare correctly and carefully, this team should have more than enough horsepower to get a win.