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49ers Vs. Rams: A Prospector's Guide

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The San Francisco 49ers head out to St. Louis this weekend looking to wrap up the number two seed and get a much needed first round bye. Although this has nothing to do with much of anything with regards to the 2011 season, the all-time series is tied 61-61-2, so the 49ers can take the lead in the series with a victory.

As the 49ers prepare for the Rams, they are a bit short-handed at the skill positions, but thankfully still have a beast in the backfield with Frank Gore and his new personal escort, Bruce Miller. The Rams have struggled in numerous phases of the game on defense, with their rush defense being particularly suspect. I would imagine that part of the reason their rush defense is so much worse than their pass defense is that teams have taken leads and run out the clock. Hopefully the 49ers can run out the clock themselves this Sunday.

Although the 49ers offense has its share of question marks heading into this game, the defense is another question entirely. Even if the 49ers sit Patrick Willis, they retain a significant advantage over the Rams. Football Outsiders ranks the Rams 32nd in total offensive efficiency. Even with Steven Jackson having a fairly solid 2011, the Rams have not been able to punch the ball in with any sort of regularity, sitting in dead last points per game. If the 49ers lose this game, they just don't deserve that number two seed.

  • The 49ers lead the league with a plus-26 turnover ratio. They have registered the most takeaways (36) and the fewest turnovers (10) in the league this year. The +26 turnover ratio ranks t-3rd in the NFL since 1970.
  • Rookie LB Aldon Smith has registered 14.0 sacks this season, marking the most sacks by a rookie in franchise history (DT Charles Haley - 12.0 sacks in 1986). Smith's 14.0 lead all rookies and ranks t-5th in the NFL. With 1.0 sack, Smith will set the NFL rookie sack record.
  • The 49ers are allowing just 13.5 pts. per game this season, ranking 1st in the NFL. The 13.5 avg. pts. per game allowed is on pace to rank 1st in franchise history and is the fewest allowed in the NFL since the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 (12.6 pts. per game).
  • QB Alex Smith has a TD:INT ratio of 3.20 this season (16 TDs, 5 INTs), which ranks 4th in franchise history.


  • The 49ers have outscored their opponents 346-202. The +144 scoring differential ranks 3rd in the NFL. It also is the highest scoring differential by the 49ers since 1998 (+151).


  • The 49ers have started 34 drives in their opponents territory, ranking 1st in the NFL, and have scored 113 points on those drives, ranking 1st in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have allowed just 10 drives to start in their own territory, ranking 2nd in the NFL.


  • The 49ers average starting field position is at their own 33.4-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL. On the road, the 49ers have an avg. starting field position of their own 31.2-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL.


  • The 49ers rank 1st in the NFL with an opponents average starting field position of the 24.3-yard line.


  • In the last 8 games, the 49ers defense ranks 1st in the NFL, allowing just 21 plays of 20 yds.-or-more.


  • The 49ers have allowed just 202 points on the season, ranking 1st in the NFL for the fewest points allowed. Their 13.5 pts. per game allowed are on pace to be the best mark in franchise history.


  • The 49ers have allowed just 23 first downs on 3rd and less than 4 yds. (23 of 52 - 44.2 pct.), ranking 1st in the NFL.


  • The 49ers are the only team in the NFL not to allow a return of any kind for a TD this season.


  • The 49ers defense has allowed opponents to score on just 22.3 pct. of their possessions, ranking 1st in the NFL.


  • The 49ers have scored 41 points on their first possession of the 2nd half, ranking t-6th in the NFL and t-3rd in the NFC.


  • The 49ers have converted 8 of 13 (61.5 pct.) 4th down attempts this season, ranking 3rd in the NFL.

Matchups: 124
Series Record: Series tied 61-61-2
49ers Away Record vs. Rams: Series tied 30-30-1
First Meeting: 10/1/50, Rams win 35-14, at SF
Last Meeting: 12/4/11, 49ers win 26-0, at SF
Current Streak: Won 1
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 SF
Most Rams Points: 56 (11/9/58), 56-7, at LA
49ers Shutouts: 8 Times; Last, 26-0, at SF (12/4/11)
Rams Shutouts: None

2011 Statistics

49ERS (rank) RAMS (rank)
12-3 (1st NFCW) Record 2-13 (4th NFCW)
23.1 (15th) Points per game 11.1 (32nd)
310.2 (26th) Total Offense 281.7 (31st)
128.5 (7th) Rushing Offense 103.7 (23rd)
181.7 (29th) Passing Offense 178.0 (30th)
31:50 (4th) Possession Avg 28:20 (28th)
13.5 (1st) Points allowed/gm 24.9 (24th)
308.1 (4th) Total Defense 360.9 (21st)
75.1 (1st) Rushing Defense 154.5 (32nd)
233.0 (17th) Passing Defense 206.4 (6th)
38 (t-13th) Sacks 36 (16th)
21 (t-2nd) Interceptions 12 (t-22nd)
+26 (1st) Turnover Differential -3 (t-19th)