Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports



The Los Angeles Rams have lost just four games this season and own the top-ranked scoring offense in the NFL. They are also the opponent the 49ers will face to close out the 2017 season. San Francisco is on a hot-streak of its own, having won four-straight with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm of the offense and five of it's last six. The 49ers are red-hot heading into their season finale and a Week 3 matchup between the two teams at Levi's Stadium was a nail-biter.

On Tuesday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with the media via a conference call and offered some analysis of the team's next opponent.

Quarterback Jared Goff


Last season, there was some debate whether or not Rams quarterback Jared Goff was worthy of the top-overall pick in 2016. This season, there is no debate. Goff has excelled under new head coach Sean McVay and thrown for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions through 15 starts within his offense.

"I think they've gotten [Goff] a little more balanced attack where they're doing very good running the ball, they're doing very good passing the ball," Shanahan said. "You've got to defend a lot of different people and stop a lot of different guys that can make plays. They started out good that way early this year, and he's just gotten more confidence as it's gone, as you see in a lot of these guys.

"But, the way they've started out this year, I think, helped give him a little bit of boost. Each week he's gotten better from that, and you can tell he's just playing with a lot of confidence. He's not hesitant to let it rip. He knows when to be aggressive. He knows when not to force it too.

"He's doing a much better job giving them some bigger plays, eliminating the turnovers, and really getting the ball into some of his playmaker's hands and letting them do a lot of the work."

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Running back Todd Gurley


Rams running back Todd Gurley has returned to form after a down 2016 season. He leads the league in rushing with 1,305 yards, has 13 rushing touchdowns, six touchdown receptions, and is a legitimate candidate for league MVP.

"[Gurley is] as big a challenge that there is for anyone," Shanahan said. "I thought he was one of the better guys I've ever studied coming out of college. He looked that way his first year, definitely. I know he had a little setback last year. But, this year he looks like that exact same guy.

"He's physical enough to run you over. He's a big guy, but he's got track-type speed, and he's very smooth at getting in the right holes. He's a very natural runner to where he always goes to the gap that people are out of position, and when he hits it, he so naturally can hit it at full speed that if guys aren't closing, what could normally be a six-yard run for someone else, for him, it's an 80-yard run, and he's to the house fast."

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald


On the defensive side of the football, the 49ers will have to find a way to stop Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who ranks ninth in the NFL with 11 sacks. Shanahan was asked how he plans to prepare his offense against someone of Donald's talent.

"Well, it's tough," Shanahan answered. "You've got to try to game plan it as much as you can. When you are an inside player, it's not the easiest to always help him and stuff unless you want to put your tight ends on some guys that are very tough to block by themselves also. So, he's going to have his. That's why he's one of the better players in the league.

"You've just got to make sure when he does, that you don't turn the ball over and you can find a way to counter him with a few plays that take advantage of the stuff he does best. But, he's a good player. You've got to understand that.

"He's going to have some good plays in the game. You've just got to make sure he doesn't completely change and dominate that game with turnovers."