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One reason why the 49ers will beat the Rams (and one reason they won’t)

5-0 to start the season

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

After 96% of you voted that the Niners will beat the Miami Dolphins, the San Francisco 49ers are 5-0 and will host the Rams for their third home game in a row. It feels like yesterday when the Rams went all-in on a roster with a star running back and a quarterback on a rookie contract. It feels like every move the Rams made was a swing and a miss. Even as they tried to improve their secondary by trading two first-round picks for Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles missed the playoffs.

With that said, can the Niners sweep Los Angeles for the second year in a row?

Reason for: Jared Goff making accurate throws

I still can’t get out of my head Goff throwing the ball and hitting Fred Warner in stride last season en route to the end zone. Since he was at Cal, Goff has been the same player. Sean McVay has down a fantastic job at limiting Goff’s deficiencies. A quarterback has to make plays at some point, and that’s not something Goff has done. Goff is the player people describe when they talk about Jimmy Garoppolo.

Goff tied for the fourth-most passes tipped at the line of scrimmage in 2019. He’s gets rid of the ball fast thanks to the Rams offensive line, and defenses know it. Judge a quarterback how he plays when the system doesn’t generate offense for him. When Goff has to go to his second read, the results are not pretty. You can thank an elongated delivery for the tipped passes, but Goff doesn’t process defenses quickly enough, and that’s why it’s hard to buy the Rams making the playoffs this year.

Pro Football Reference has a “bad throw” stat, and 20.2% of Goff’s throws were bad, which is good for the sixth-highest number. PFR also has an on-target stat, where Goff had the sixth-worst percentage at 71.6%. Goff wasn’t accurate, even though he was afforded the second-most time to throw in the pocket, per PFR. Goff is the type of quarterback the 49ers defense swarms. The question is, will McVay hide Goff enough with play-action and his scheme?

Reason against: Superstars on defense

The Rams have two of the top players in the NFL on defense. 2019 was another year of Aaron Donald being the most disruptive interior force in the NFL. Donald was in the top-3 for interior defensive linemen in sacks, QB hits, and “defeats.” There isn’t much to say about Donald that you don’t already know. He’s a game-wrecker, and the 49ers found that out on the first third down during their initial meeting in 2019 when Donald beat rookie Justin Skule for a sack. Donald is one of the few players where you have to have “all hands on deck” to account for him.

Jalen Ramsey didn’t allow more than in his last six starts with the Rams. What’s telling about Ramsey’s impact was that Los Angeles’s pass defense went from 14.6% to -13% with Ramsey in uniform. That’s an insane turn around in a short time. Ramsey’s interception on Jimmy Garoppolo last season was one of those plays where it’s tough to fault the quarterback. It was a star player making a play.

If the Rams win, it’ll be because of their star players.


Will the 49ers beat the Rams at home?

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  • 87%
    (303 votes)
  • 12%
    (44 votes)
347 votes total Vote Now