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San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams: A Prospector's Guide

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The Prospector's Guide returns after last weekend's brutal loss to the Vikings.  The 49ers stand 2-1 and seem to slowly be reaching a legitimate level of respect around the league.  Of course, all of that would come crashing down like a house of cards if they let the 0-3 St. Louis Rams pull out the upset at Candlestick.  I realize the 49ers will be without Frank Gore, but this is still a must-win for the 49ers.  No excuses will be tolerated.

The 49ers host the St. Louis Rams this weekend in what will be the 120th meeting between the two teams, dating back to 1950. St. Louis holds a 60-57-2 advantage over San Francisco in the series. The 49ers have won six out of the last eight games against the Rams, which includes both contests in 2008.

Last week, the 49ers suffered their first loss of the season after the Vikings scored a last-minute touchdown to put them ahead, 27-24, with 0:02 remaining in the contest. In that game, TE Vernon Davis recorded career-highs with 96 receiving yards and two touchdowns. QB Shaun Hill finished the game with a 94.6 passer rating, completing 15 of 25 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns.

San Francisco’s defense has posted at least one interception in each game this year, while the team’s run defense ranks 1st in the NFC and 4th overall. The 49ers are one of three teams to have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. San Francisco currently has a four-game win streak when playing at home.

49ers-Rams Connections
Front Office

• Rams general manager Billy Devaney served as a pro personnel assistant with the 49ers from 2001-03.
• Rams quality control/offense Andy Sugarman served on the 49ers coaching staff from 1998-2002.
• Rams director of player personnel Mike Williams spent nine seasons (2000- 2008) with the 49ers pro personnel department.

Players
FORMER RAMS - WR Isaac Bruce played for the Rams from 1994-2007, totaling 942 catches for 14,109 yds. and 84 TDs in 197 games. He appeared in 4 Pro Bowls (1996, 1999-2001), was an All-Pro (1999) and won a Super Bowl (XXXIV) while with the Rams ... CB Dre’ Bly recorded 14 INTs while playing for the St. Louis Rams from 1999-2002 ... Jimmy Raye was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams from 1983-84.

FORMER 49ERS - TE Billy Bajema was a 7th round pick for the 49ers in 2005 and played for San Francisco from 2005-08 ... LB Larry Grant was a 7th round pick by the 49ers in 2008 and spent time on the 49ers practice squad last year.

ROLLING TIDES – 49ers RB Glen Coffee played at Alabama with Rams RB Kenneth Darby for two seasons (2005-06).

CARDINAL KIN - 49er C Eric Heitmann was a teammate of LB Chris Draft at Stanford.

LET’S GO HOOS- 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks played at Virginia with DE Chris Long.

WHO LET THE "DAWGZ" OUT - 49ers DT Demetric Evans was a teammate of Rams LB Will Witherspoon and TE Randy McMichael at the University of Georgia.

TROJAN TIES - 49ers G Chilo Rachal and Rams LB Larry Grant were teammates at the University of Southern California.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 119
Series Record
: Rams lead series 60-57-2
49ers Home Record vs. Rams
: Rams lead series 31-28-1
First Meeting
: 10/1/50, Rams win, 35-14, at Los Angeles
Last Meeting
: 12/21/08, 49ers win, 27-7, at San Francisco
Current Streak
: Won 2
Longest 49ers Win Streak
: 17 (12/17/90-12/27/98)
Longest Rams Win Streak
: 10 (11/29/70-9/28/75)
Most 49ers Points:
48 (12/27/87): 48-0, at San Francisco
Most Rams Points
: 56 (11/9/58), 56-7, at Los Angeles
49ers Shutouts
: 6 Times; Last; 34-0, 49ers win, at San Francisco
Rams Shutouts
: None

SAN FRANCISCO 17, ST. LOUIS 16
At St. Louis, MO, December 21, 2008

The San Francisco 49ers offense clicked just in time to erase a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a late-game rally that produced two touchdowns in the final five minutes for a 17-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Future Hall of Fame WR Isaac Bruce reached a pair of milestones during both of the 49ers late-game touchdowns. Bruce entered the game needing six receptions to become the fifth player in NFL history with 1,000 catches and 60 yards to move past Tim Brown into second place on the NFL’s all-time receiving list.

The game marked Bruce’s first visit back to St. Louis following his 14 seasons with the Rams. Bruce caught his 1,000 pass on a three-yard touchdown reception from QB Shaun Hill with 4:08 left to play to close the Rams lead to 16-10. After stopping the Rams on three plays, the 49ers got the ball back and Bruce passed Brown on an eight-yard pass two plays before Hill threw a 48-yard game-winning touchdown pass to WR Josh Morgan with 1:31 to play. St. Louis moved to the San Francisco 48-yard line on the ensuing drive, but CB Tarell Brown intercepted QB Mar Bulger with 22 seconds to play to secure the victory for the 49ers.

After taking a 3-0 lead behind a 48-yard field goal by PK Joe Nedney in the first quarter, the second quarter was proved disastrous for the 49ers. Hill threw two interceptions and TE Vernon Davis fumbled as the Rams scored 13 points for a 13-3 halftime lead. Hill committed the 49ers fourth turnover of the afternoon in the third quarter with his third interception and entered the final quarter with only eight completions on 19 attempts for 89 yards. The third interception was converted into a Rams field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 16-3 advantage. Hill rallied in the fourth quarter by completing 10-of-15 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns to erase the 10-point deficit and give the 49ers a series sweep of St. Louis. The Rams out gained the 49ers (343-273) and held the ball for over 38 minutes but could not stop the 49ers two-minute offense in the fourth quarter.

2009 Statistics

49ERS (rank) RAMS (rank)
2-1 (1st NFCW) Record 0-3 (4th NFCW)
22.3 (10th) Points per game 8.0 (32nd)
276.0 (t-28th) Total Offense 276.0 (t-28th)
111.7 (16th) Rushing Offense 117.3 (13th)
164.3 (27th) Passing Offense 158.7 (29th)
31:20 (10th) Possession Avg 27:27 (25th)
17.7 (t-9th) Points allowed/gm 24.3 (26th)
319.7 (13th) Total Defense 403.3 (29th)
66.7 (4th) Rushing Defense 148.0 (27th)
253.0 (24th) Passing Defense 255.3 (25th)
6 (t-11th) Sacks 3 (t-25th)
49.5 (5th) Punting Avg (Gross) 49.7 (4th)
+2 (t-9th) Turnover Differential -1 (t-16th)