The last thing the San Francisco 49ers needed after two consecutive losses and hitting the road on a short week to take on the St. Louis Rams, a team that gave them a lot of trouble and they were unable to beat in two games last season.
The San Francisco 49ers were expected to challenge for the NFC title once again, but so far this season might be a little harder in terms of the challenge it presents to accomplish what they have during the first two years of the Jim Harbaugh campaign.
The season started with a 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers, with a yard total of 494. In the two weeks since, the 49ers have lost twice, while being outscored 56-10 by the Seahawks and the Colts, gaining only 461 yards in both games combined while turning the ball over 7 times.
Fingers are pointed at Colin Kaepernick, who is down to only Anquan Boldin in terms of receivers he feels like he can trust, as he’s completed less than 50% of his passes in the two defeats, not throwing a single touchdown pass. If Vernon Davis continues to sit out because of a hamstring injury, there will be no choice but to slightly abandon the passing game, especially with Frank Gore running well and the St. Louis Rams looking like they did against the Cowboys.
The Rams lost 31-7 in Dallas, allowing DeMarco Murray to run wild with 175 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. It was the first game this season in which the Rams weren’t even close, and puts them in a situation that means they can’t afford to lose for a third straight time and still hope to do something in the NFC West this season.
Stopping the run isn’t the only problem for the Rams, who once again find themselves in trouble when it comes to protecting Sam Bradford. He was sacked six times against the Cowboys, ending a streak of four consecutive games in which he wasn’t sacked at all. Bradford has done well at home against the 49ers, going 2-0 (including the 16-13 win from last season), and has yet to throw an interception against them in four career games.
A good sign for the Rams is more injuries piling up on the 49ers. Aldon Smith is off the team for now, while Patrick Willis and Nnamdi Asomugha are both doubtful for the game.
Prediction – If the 49ers only have Boldin as a target for Colin Kaepernick, things are going to look just as bad as they did against the Colts. The key will be playcalling and running the ball, which the Rams are vulnerable to. However, if all the doubtful players are actually injured, the 49ers continue to look very bad, and lose the game.