Let’s begin with this box score. Now, the Los Angeles Rams offense has had its problems as of late, go watch the Philadelphia Eagles game they had a week ago if you need proof, but six points? Todd Gurley shut down? Is that possible? Of course, because of two words: Vic Fangio.
Boy I miss Vic Fangio. The whispered hero of the San Francisco 49ers during the Jim Harbaugh era has done nothing but get better. This is after his defenses with the 49ers were some of the best in the league (and in team history). The Harbaugh/Greg Roman offense is inept, it was Fangio’s defense who bailed everyone out. Then the 49ers decided to not hire him and picked
Adam Gase Jim Tomsula instead.
Now he’s an opponent. Giving him Khalil Mack did wonders and his defense has benefited. There isn’t much optimism here, but the 49ers can win this, though I say “can” loosely.
The 49ers will win if...
If the defense can generate turnovers. By a fantasy football standpoint, Mitchell Trubisky has been a darling for points, but when it comes down to it, he’s also capable of falling into a term I have started using called dial-a-turnovers. This is the time when that ability is most necessary. The 49ers have been unable to generate turnovers, but they will need some, a lot, and early. By early, I mean before the Bears cross midfield. They need field goals off these turnovers if they want any chance because that offense isn’t going to do much.
The 49ers will lose if...
If the offensive line can’t keep Nick Mullens upright. The 49ers offense isn’t the Rams offense, at least not yet. That makes it even more crucial they can fight off Mack and the rest of Fangio’s defense.
The best answer is to have some checkdowns available and quick throws to get off moments after the snap. The 49ers offensive line has improved, but there hasn’t been many lines capable of tangoing with Mack. The 49ers will need some turnovers to get things close, but if they can’t move the ball and protect Mullens for that brief amount of time, it’s going to be all over.
Why must we root against Fangio?