It’s that time again, folks. It’s a Saturday night and I know you’re all just so excited at the prospect of watching your Rams duke it out with the NFC West division leading San Francisco 49ers. It’s their first meeting of the season – unfortunately for the Rams.
Honestly, when the season first started I had imagined the records of the two teams reversed. Never in a million years did I think Jim Harbaugh could turn the 49ers around as he has. The team has taken on their coach’s personality and have bought into the tough as nails Harbaugh Way. He’s basically taken the same players and have them functioning as a TEAM. That there folks is what a good coach does. It’s about how they come together as a team.
Most surprising is how QB Alex Smith has managed to control the offensive game of the 49ers. He’s operating with his seventh offensive coordinator in seven years. People had written Alex Smith off about three years ago but here he is leading his team to the second best record in the NFL. Just goes to show you, you just never know.
Do the Rams have any chance to beat the 49ers? Probably not. The best results we could realistically expect is to get through this game without placing more Rams players on the IR. It’s getting quite crowded, you know. At last count it was 13.
So perhaps it’s just coincidence (or fortuitous luck) on Sam Bradford‘s part to be suffering from a high ankle sprain. Because if I had any sympathy for Bradford (and had any gauge on how important #8 is to the franchise) I wouldn’t be playing him behind an O-line that couldn’t protect their QB from a rally squirrel attack.
Next man up is QB A.J. Feeley. Can he lead the Rams to another shocking win against a heavily favored opponent like he did with the Saints? Again, most likely not. Then again… You know the drill. In the wake of Feeley starting the Rams had to waive LB Ben Leber to make room for the emergency and now back up to Feeley, QB Tom Brandstater. Welcome back, Tom.
(Insert the obligatory “What a great free agent signing Leber was.” and the “Why in the world did the Rams let go QB Thaddeus Lewis and LB Jabara Williams?” rants.)
Week 13: Rams at 49ers
What the Rams offense needs to do:
Normally this would be part of the post where I’d write, “Protect Sam Bradford.” But with Bradford safely manning the clipboard on the sideline I think the offensive line can rest a bit easier. They have him listed as a GTD (game time decision) but I highly doubt he’ll be playing.
Haha, sorry Mr. Feeley. It’s just not going to be your day. You’re going to be chased by the Smith Brothers. Okay, they’re not really brothers but the Mizzou products DT Justin Smith and rookie LB Aldon Smith will be wreaking havoc. They can’t lose sight of LB Patrick Willis or CB Carlos Rogers either.
Feeley still has to try and get the ball out to WR’s Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Gibson, and to the returning Danario Alexander. They’ll need to spread out the 49er defense so Steven Jackson can get some running room.
This is also the spot where I’d say “run the rock” but the 49ers are number one in rush defense. But that doesn’t mean RB Steven Jackson won’t give it a legitimate go at it. What else can the Rams do in this case, right? He’ll have to fully turn on the Beast mode and we’ll see where that leads. I’m hoping he can get at least some running game going. Maybe looking at 70 yards rushing and one TD? Maybe I’m being too optimistic.
Speaking of beast mode… You know what Steven Jackson’s sweet tooth craves, don’t you? It’s been well documented that his sweet snack of choice is none other than – Skittles. Worked well for Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch so why not for Steven Jackson. Go get the man a Costco size bag of it, STAT!
What the Rams defense needs to do:
Make some plays! Okay, I’ll settle for just some solid tackling at this point. I fear the defense will have to come up with some points to keep this game respectable. But with DE Chris Long listed as probable with his own ankle injury it could be a long afternoon for the defense. Hope you guys worked on your cardiovascular endurance because you might be out there a very long time.
The Rams secondary will already be without SS Darian Stewart (concussion) so let’s pray they don’t lose anyone else back there.
49ers RB Frank Gore is averaging 82.6 yards/game coming into this game. Look for that average to take a big leap after Sunday. The Rams rushing D has been a great vehicle for opposing RB’s to boost their stats. Ask Cowboys’ RB DeMarco Murray (253 yards) and Cardinals’ RB Beanie Wells (228 yards).
That doesn’t mean you can ignore the passing game though. Alex Smith can still chuck a ball or two to WR’s Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards and his scary TE Vernon Davis.
What the Rams special teams need to do:
Contain return man Ted Ginn Jr. You saw what Cardinals’ return dude Patrick Peterson did to the Rams in two games. Ted Ginn Jr. is just as capable of breaking one as well.
Who will win:
The 49ers will win this game with a score of 28-10, win their tenth game to go 10-2, and with it clinch (yes, I said CLINCH) in the 13th week the NFC West division title.
Rams inch ever so close to that second pick in the draft falling to 2-10.