The San Francisco 49ers have had a horrible run defense this season. I realize this is not breaking news. They have set the single season franchise record for rushing yards allowed in a single season, and they did it in 14 games. They have also given up 100 or more rushing yards to 11 running backs. It turns out, the NFL record is 12.
Here are the 100-yard rushers the 49ers have given up this season.
Week 2 at Panthers: Fozzy Whitaker, 100 yards
Week 3 at Seahawks: Christine Michael, 106 yards
Week 4 vs. Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, 138 yards
Week 5 vs. Cardinals: David Johnson, 157 yards
Week 6 at Bills: LeSean McCoy, 140 yards
Week 7 vs. Buccaneers: Jacquizz Rodgers, 154 yards
Week 9 vs. Saints: Mark Ingram, 158 yards
Week 11 vs. Patriots: LeGarrette Blount, 124 yards
Week 13 at Bears: Jordan Howard, 117 yards
Week 14 vs. Jets: Bilal Powell, 145 yards
Week 15: at Falcons: Devonta Freeman, 139 yards
The final two weeks of the season, the 49ers face Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams, and then Thomas Rawls and the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams are the only team lately the 49ers seem to be able to beat, and in Week 1, the 49ers defense shut down Gurley to the tune of 47 yards.
That’s great and all for the 49ers, but it is worth noting Gurley has struggled all season long. He is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, and his single game rushing high was 85 yards in Week 3 against the Bucs. Gurley averaged 4.8 yards per carry last season, and had five 100-yard performances.
Can the 49ers contain Gurley this week? I spoke with Sean Wilkinson from Turf Show Times to get his thoughts on Gurley and the Rams ground game. Here’s what he had to say.
To put it bluntly, the offensive line sucks. Greg Robinson has been a joke at LT and others have disappointed as well. While the Rams investment in the 2015 NFL Draft paid immediate dividends last season, Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown - similar to Gurley - haven't been able to repeat their rookie success this season.
It's also no secret that opposing defenses have stacked the box against Gurley. Neither Case Keenum nor Jared Goff have been able to keep defenses honest, compounding the problem for Gurley.
Until the Rams can move past Fisherball (hopefully this offseason) and install a competent NFL offense, these struggles are likely to continue - even against the 49ers league worst rush defense.