Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


49ers at Rams: 5 Keys to a Season Sweep

Oct 29, 2022 at 10:38 AM--


The 3-4 San Francisco 49ers travel to Southern California to face the 3-3 Los Angeles Rams. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is 7-0 against the Rams during the regular season. The 49ers will be without some key players, one of them being wide receiver Deebo Samuel, but the team is loaded with talent, and if it sticks to these five keys, San Francisco will sweep the Rams for the series and have complete control of the NFC west.



Fully UTILIZE CMC


Christian McCaffrey is acclimated to the team's playbook, and head coach Kyle Shanahan must use his special weapon to the fullest. The last time McCaffrey played against the Rams, he rushed for 69 yards on 13 attempts and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. As a receiver, McCaffrey had seven receptions on eight targets for 89 yards and averaged 12.7 yards per reception. McCaffrey lined up in the slot six times against the Rams in that game.

I expect Shanahan to follow suit and imitate McCaffrey's previous performance against the Rams in Week 6 of the 2022 season, before the Carolina Panthers traded the running back to the 49ers. McCaffrey is a threat against any team and Shanahan must fully utilize him to win this game.

WIN the Turnover Battle


On offense, the 49ers are ranked 28th in giveaways, according to ESPN. The team has six interceptions and six fumbles which puts them at the bottom of the league. A few more teams give up the ball more than the 49ers, and one of those teams is the Rams. The Rams are ranked 29th with 13 giveaways—eight interceptions, and five fumbles. The 49ers have been trailing in their last two games against the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, forcing them to throw the ball more. Throwing the ball more leads to more chances that passes get intercepted. The offense must limit the turnovers.

On the defensive side, the 49ers are ranked 16th, with six interceptions and three fumbles recovered, giving the team nine takeaways on the season. Safety Talanoa Hufanga's interception last week against the Chiefs helped set the game's tone and gave the offense another opportunity to score points. If the 49ers defense can force turnovers in this matchup, their chances of winning go up. Win the turnover battle, win the game.

Score TOUCHDOWNS


The 49ers have had ample opportunities in the red zone this season, which have resulted in points but no touchdowns. On the team's first drive against the Chiefs, the 49ers scored a field goal after a nine-play drive stalled on the Chiefs' 12-yard line. For those that love context, the final three plays of the drive: a pass to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for six yards, a pass to wide receiver Deebo Samuel for one yard, and an incomplete pass intended for Aiyuk. They settled for three points from kicker Robbie Gould and took a three-point lead.

The 49ers must find a way to score touchdowns in the red zone. Touchdowns won't only give the team more critical information, but they also give the team momentum, forcing the opposing squad to match the score. This week's mentality needs to be "touchdowns over field goals."

Be DISCIPLINED


The 49ers had ten penalties for 80 yards against the Chiefs, ranging from holding calls to lining up offsides twice. Yes, twice; 49ers DE Nick Bosa lined up offsides twice on back-to-back plays. When Shanahan mentioned it at the presser, you could feel his frustration. According to the Football Database, the 49ers are ranked eighth in team penalties, totaling 48 for 350 yards.

The 49ers must find a way to limit the mistakes and show they are the more competent and better-coached team out there on the field. Compared to their opponent on Sunday, the Rams are ranked last in penalties, with a total of 24 for 205 yards. The 49ers must find a way to be the more disciplined team to win this game.

CONTAIN Cooper Kupp


This may be an impossible task, but it's the most important key to victory. In the team's first meeting this season, Kupp had 122 yards against, at the time, the top defense In the league. The key to victory in that game was keeping Kupp from getting explosive plays and scoring touchdowns. The 49ers defense will be without cornerback Emmanuel Moseley in this game and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, but it will get back safety Jimmie Ward, who may be responsible for covering Kupp in the slot. In Week 4 against the 49ers, Kupp lined up there 33 times. So Jimmie Ward vs. Cooper Kupp is a key matchup of the game.

Records show that the 49ers know how to beat the Rams, except when it counts the most. The good thing for the 49ers, this upcoming game isn't a must-win game mathematically, but it's still a game the 49ers must win. It's not to the magnitude of the NFC Championship Game, and Garoppolo is healthy. The team has already defeated the Rams once this season. If the team wants to sweep, stick to these five keys to victory.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.



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