The loss of Gurley doesn’t tilt the scales in favor of the 49ers either. This season was supposed to be so sweet too. Even if the 49ers weren’t going to make it to the playoffs, at least we could have hoped for some semblance of a football game.
Instead, the 49ers are looked at as a team the Rams can take their recent frustrations out on to keep themselves in a battle with the Chicago Bears for the playoffs. Kyle Shanahan deserves credit, as the 49ers will no doubt come out fighting and playing hard no matter how bleak the situation is. It’s one more game for the draft pick.
The 49ers will win if...
Turnovers. The loss of Gurley isn’t going to matter much. Especially when C.J. Anderson is now gashing defenses. However, the 49ers’ run defense is not the Arizona Cardinals’ run defense (the said defense Anderson gashed) and the 49ers’ woes have been more concerned with the secondary. If they shut down Anderson, they need turnovers. While he didn’t throw a pick against the Cardinals, Jared Goff did throw four of them against the Bears in Week 14, and that’s sandwiched between a pick a piece in Week 13 and 15. If the 49ers can generate some sort of turnovers, that may give them field position to kick field goals and maybe, maybe a chance at winning. This would require them to have good field position on turnovers, or deal with that Rams defense that has allowed an average of 312 yards of total offense to opposing teams the the last four weeks.
The good news is, the Rams have a secondary that has been a bit surprising with play as of late. Safety Lamarcus Joyner won’t be in the game due to injury and cornerbacks Marcus Peters/Aqib Talib aren’t near as scary as one may assume. Again, turnovers. Attack the secondary with success. Ball game?
The 49ers will lose if...
Last time the 49ers played the Rams, seven sacks were allowed. Which is far too many, even for a young offensive line that is the 49ers. Despite the 94.1 passer rating opponents are granted against the Rams, the 49ers’ offensive line will need to hold up. That passer rating doesn’t really sit well at all and the Rams may as well turn around and have the same performance they had at Levi’s field again.
The good news is, Nick Mullens doesn’t hold the ball near as long as C.J. Beathard does. The bad news is, he still has to play Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and the Rams defensive line. If the line turns in that performance they did when the Rams came to Santa Clara, they aren’t getting out of a wet paper bag. If Mullens is going to attack the secondary he’ll need time.
The Rams will get sacks, but seven sacks is going to not bode well.
So that’s it. See you next season.