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San Francisco vs. St. Louis Rams: A Prospector's Guide

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Given the turmoil of the last couple days it's easy to forget the 49ers have a short week and wil be facing the St. Louis Rams this Sunday.  As bad as things have been for the 49ers, it's been equally, if not more, depressing for the Rams.

The San Francisco 49ers host the St. Louis Rams this weekend in what will be the 118th meeting between the two teams. The series dates back to 1950. San Francisco holds a 60-55-2 advantage over St. Louis.  San Francisco enters the game looking to snap a six-game losing streak after dropping a 29-24 game to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football last week. In that game, the 49ers marched down the field with 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, but were stopped short on third-and-two. on the final play of the game. QB Shaun Hill made his first start of the season and completed 19-of-40 passes for 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. WR Jason Hill caught a season-high seven passes for 84 yards, while TE Vernon Davis recorded his first touchdown catch of the season. RB Frank Gore totaled 105 yards (99 rushing, six receiving) and rookie WR Josh Morgan caught his second touchdown pass of the season on a 31-yard pass from Hill.

Gore enters this week’s game with 1,045 yards from scrimmage, which ranks third in the NFL. On defense, the 49ers have allowed only 3.0 yards per carry over the past four games, which ranks second in the NFL during the time span.

After the jump, we've got a recap of the last time these two met, along with some facts and stats about the teams...

At San Francisco, CA, November 18, 2007
Down 13-6 at the two-minute warning, the 49ers kicked a 46-yard field goal to close to 13-9 with 1:55 left to play and all three of its time outs remaining after Head Coach Mike Nolan elected to play for the win rather than a tie. The 49ers defense held the Rams to just two first downs and only 38 yard of offense in the entire second half to give Nolan confidence that the team would get the ball back and in possible position to get the win.

Nolan’s inclination proved to be correct despite a failed onsides kick. PK Joe Nedney attempted an onsides kick that was recovered by the Rams at the San Francisco 39-yard line. The 49ers defense stuffed Rams RB Steven Jackson for negative yards on three straight plays before forcing St. Louis to punt. The 49ers fielded the punt at the 11-yard line with 1:28 left to play. QB Trent Dilfer, who started the game in place of QB Alex Smith who was regulated to a backup role due to a sore forearm, completed four of fi ve passes for 68 yards to drive the team to the St. Louis 21-yard line with six seconds to play.  After stopping the clock with a spike, Dilfer’s pass attempt to WR Darrell Jackson in the end zone was intercepted by the Rams at the final buzzer to seal the 13-9 win and send the 49ers to their eighth-straight loss.

St. Louis opened the game with a nine-play, 79-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass from QB Marc Bulger to WR Torry Holt for a quick 7-0 first quarter lead.  CB Nate Clements took a handoff from WR Michael Lewis on a punt later in the first quarter and scrambled 41 yards on the reverse for a first down at the St. Louis 18-yard line to set up a 28-yard Nedney field goal for the 49ers first points of the game. The Rams took a 10-3 halftime lead after adding a second quarter field goal. The 49ers defense had four attempts to intercept the Rams in the first half. Three bounced in and out of the defenders hands, and one actual interception was negated by a penalty. 

After a scoreless third quarter, St. Louis PR Dante Hall had a 29-yard return to help position the Rams for a 35-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 13-3 Rams lead. San Francisco responded on the ensuing drive, moving to the St. Louis 20-yard line where a 38-yard field goal by Nedney made it a 13-6 game with a little over six minutes to play. Before settling for the field goal, the 49ers tried to the tie the game with two pass attempts to the end zone. TE Vernon Davis and Jackson dropped tough potential touchdown catches from Dilfer on consecutive plays. The 49ers defense, which registered six sacks, held the Rams on three-straight plays to set up the 49ers two-minute comeback attempt.

2008 Statistics

49ers (rank) Rams (rank)
21.7 (t-19th) Points Per Game 14.2 (30th)
313.3 (21st) Total Offense Per Game 256.0 (31st)
106.7 (19th) Rushing Yards Per Game 92.6 (26th)
206.7 (15th) Net Passing Yards Per Game 163.4 (29th)
28:50 (22nd) Possession Average 26:54 (22nd)
28.8 (30th) Opp. Points Per Game 31.3 (32nd)
334.6 (22nd) Opp. Total Offense Per Game 388.6 (30th)
104.7 (16th) Opp. Rushing YPG 161.1 (30th)
229.9 (23rd) Opp. Net Passing YPG 237.4 (t-26th)
-13 (32nd) Turnover Differential -4 (t-23rd)