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Preview: San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

Al Sacco
Dec 21, 2016 at 2:27 PM


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It's almost over. There's no other way to even look at it. Everything that could have gone wrong for the San Francisco 49ers (1-13) this season has. They've been decimated by injuries, there's no solution at the quarterback position, the offense can't move the ball with any consistency, and the defense is all-time bad. Also, it appears that we're headed towards major changes in the front office, which means there could be a coaching change for the fourth season in a row. The Niners are a mess and may be at the lowest point in the history of the franchise. They'll try and salvage something over the next two weeks, and may actually have a shot this week against the reeling Los Angeles Rams (4-10).

Recent History


It seems like years ago now, but the 49ers 28-0 Week 1 win over the Rams was definitely the highlight of their season. What has ended up being one of the worst defenses of all time held Los Angeles to 185 total yards, and forced two turnovers. The game also gave us the high point on offense, as the Niners haven't scored four touchdowns or 28 points since. RB Carlos Hyde paced the attack with 88 yards on the ground and two scores, and WR Jeremy Kerley added seven grabs for 61 yards. For a San Francisco receiver, that's pretty good.

Players to Watch


Probably the saddest part about this season for the Niners is that there aren't many players you're looking forward to watching develop week-to-week. If there's one person on the roster you should be excited about, though, it's rookie DL DeForest Buckner. Sure, he still sometimes plays with his pad level too high, but overall he's really developing into a solid player. Buckner is tied for the team lead in sacks with 5.0 and has recorded 69 tackles so far. With continued development and more help around him, Buckner has the makings of a Pro Bowler.

After exploding onto the scene as a rookie in 2015, RB Todd Gurley's had a rough sophomore campaign. The second-year back has only eclipsed 4.0 yards per carry in 2 games all season and is averaging 3.2 yards per tote this year. The 49ers have given up 11 100-yard rushers this season, so if Gurley's ever going to get on track it will be this week. It could be tough sledding though as rookie QB Jared Goff is in the concussion protocol. If he can't go, QB Sean Mannion will make his first career start.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


Stats to Know


If you've been reading this preview weekly, you'd know that I often include how bad the defense has been statistically because, well, the numbers are unbelievably horrible. On the season the Niners are giving up an average of 31 points, 424 total yards, and 176 rushing yards per game. They are obviously last in the NFL in all three of those categories. But if you take out the game against the Rams in Week 1, those averages go to 33, 458 and 185 respectively. Since the first game was an aberration, the latter numbers are more indicative of how putrid this unit has really been.

Game Changing Factor


DE Arik Armstead, ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, TE Blake Bell, ILB NaVorro Bowman, ILB Nick Bellore, CB Chris Davis. WR Bruce Ellington, C Daniel Kilgore, TE Vance McDonald, WR Quinton Patton, S Eric Reid, WR Eric Rogers, CB Jimmie Ward, NT Ian Williams. These are the notable players who are currently on injured reserve for the 49ers, making an already thin roster non-competitive. While the Rams have struggled as well, it will be tough for San Francisco to overcome these injuries as they have a roster loaded with guys who probably won't even be in the league much longer.


News from the Week


As mentioned above, the 49ers have a massive number of players on injured reserve. Four of those players were placed on injured reserve on Monday and Tuesday. They are Bellore, Bell, Patton, and Ward.

The 49ers also signed Armstrong to a two-year extension, keeping him with the team through the 2018 season.

The team claimed LB Carl Bradford off waivers on Monday and signed TE Jim Drayto a one-year deal.

With Patton gone for the team and Torrey Smith (both starters) still in the concussion protocol, the 49ers activated WR DeAndre Smelter from the practice squad.

Fan favorite and preseason standout, OLB Marcus Rush, was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars from the 49ers' practice squad.

By the Numbers


In franchise history, the 49ers have never finished a season with less than two wins. They have two games left to make sure that doesn't happen this season.

With just 50 yards against the Rams, RB Carlos Hyde can become the 11th player in 49ers franchise history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season.

San Francisco's last win against the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum came on October 11, 1976 when the 49ers defeated the Rams 16-0.

Since Week 10, the 49ers offense has rushed for 894 yards, which is the second-most in the NFL over that time span (Buf - 895).

The 49ers have converted 84.6% of their 3rd-and-1 attempts this season, which is the second-best in the NFL (Ari - 88.2).

Matchup Information


Kickoff: Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 1:25 p.m. PT

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California

All-Time Matchup: 49ers lead series 67-64-3

Last Meeting: 9/12/16, 49ers win 28-0, at SF

Current Streak: Won 2

Betting: The Rams are 3.5-point favorites

NFL Fan Picks: 69% pick the Rams to win according to Yahoo! Sports

49ers Fan Picks: Within our Pick 'em Contest, 59% believe the Rams will win

49ers Schedule: View full schedule

Rams News: Rams news at Problitz.com

Follow Game Online: NFL.com's Game Center

Discuss: Niner Talk forum

Follow Us: Facebook, Twitter, Google+

Television and Radio


The game will be televised on FOX (Check 506 Sports to see if it is local).

Play-By-Play: Chris Myers
Color Analyst: Ronde Barber
Sideline Reporter: Jennifer Hale

KGO 810 AM and The Bone 107.7 FM (Other markets) will carry the radio broadcast with Ted Robinson doing the play-by-play and Tim Ryan as the color analyst. ESPN Deportes and KKSF 910 AM will carry the Spanish broadcast.

San Francisco 49ers Injuries


Doubtful
CB Dontae Johnson (groin), T Joe Staley (hamstring)

Questionable
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee, ribs), C Marcus Martin (ankle)

Los Angeles Rams Injuries


Doubtful
SS Maurice Alexander (concussion), DB Lamarcus Joyner (ankle), WR Michael Thomas (hip)

Questionable
WR Bradley Marquez (knee)

Game Averages (Rank)


49ers Rams
18.9 (26th)
Offense Pts
14.1 (32nd)
311.0 (29th)
Offense Yds
278.8 (32nd)
176.2 (32nd)
Offense Pass
200.1 (29th)
134.8 (4th)
Offense Rush
78.6 (31st)
31.0 (32nd)
Defense Pts Allowed
23.4 (20th)
424.9 (32nd)
Defense Yds Allowed
337.5 (11th)
248.6 (18th)
Defense Pass Allowed
229.9 (9th)
176.3 (32nd)
Defense Rush Allowed
107.6 (19th)

Individual Statistics


Team Leaders
Passing Comp Yds TD INT
Colin Kaepernick, SF 55.5 1760 13 3
Case Keenum, LA 60.9 2201 9 11
Rushing Car Yds Avg TD
Carlos Hyde, SF 204 950 4.7 6
Todd Gurley, LA 241 778 3.2 5
Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD
Jeremy Kerley, SF 53 544 10.3 3
Kenny Britt, LA 67 987 14.7 5
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