Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


49ers vs. Rams: 5 X-factors for San Francisco in Week 6

Oct 13, 2019 at 9:33 AM0


The San Francisco 49ers look to stay undefeated as they visit the 3-2 Los Angeles Rams in Week 6. To keep their perfect record intact, the Niners will need these five X-factors to go in their favor.


Week 6 figures to be the toughest challenge the San Francisco 49ers have faced this season, as they prepare for a road contest on a short week against their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.

The Niners enter this contest shorthanded, missing starting offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon with various injuries. Tight end George Kittle is banged up with a groin injury, too.

Yet the 3-2 Rams aren't entering this contest with a clean slate of health, either. Running back Todd Gurley (quad) isn't expected to play, while cornerback Aqib Talib (ribs) has already been ruled out. And overall, Los Angeles isn't exactly steamrolling opponents this season like it was a year ago.

That said, the 49ers' chances to stay undefeated on the year hinge on some vital X-factors for this contest.

No. 5: Daniel Brunskill, Justin Skule anchoring 49ers offensive line


San Francisco has gotten by for two games without Staley, thanks largely to some solid play from rookie tackle Justin Skule, who has held up well enough in Weeks 3 and 5. With McGlinchey out, though, the Niners will hope for similar results from reserve lineman Daniel Brunskill, who'll make his first NFL-level start after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons back in 2017.

Run blocking, which has been the 49ers' forte this season, is going to be a key aspect to maintain. Yet so is pass protection, considering the Rams field one of the better outside pass-rushers in the league, EDGE Dante Fowler, who is tied for fourth among all edge rushers with 30 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

No. 4: 49ers pass rush vs. Rams offensive line


The Niners can be a bit concerned about the productivity of their offensive line entering this contest, but the Rams need to be concerned about theirs, too.

San Francisco's pass rush, especially EDGE Nick Bosa, was on full display in the team's Week 5 Monday Night Football showdown against the Cleveland Browns. And this aspect of coordinator Robert Saleh's defense has turned what was a lackluster unit into one of the league's top defenses, especially against the pass.

PFF's Jeff Deeney told you what you need to know about this particular matchup:


If this trend continues into Week 6, the 49ers defense could be in position to carry the day, even if the Rams are still a top-10 offense.

No. 3: Containing the Rams' Cooper Kupp


Los Angeles hasn't gotten the kind of rushing results it was once known for, largely due to the injuries and inconsistency from Gurley this season. As a result, the Rams are airing it out on the season. Their 222 pass attempts are tops in the league entering Week 6.

The primary stat beneficiary of this has been third-year wide receiver Cooper Kupp, whose 41 receptions rank second among all pass catchers, while his 505 receiving yards rank fourth amid the same group.

Kupp is a versatile weapon lining up within the slot, frequently. Yet San Francisco has a serviceable cover man to guard him, nickel cornerback K'Waun Williams, who is PFF's top-graded corner so far this season, posting an impressive 87.0 overall grade.

Look for this matchup to be vital to the game's outcome.

No. 2: How 49ers offense gets by without Kyle Juszczyk


Removing Juszczyk from the equation, as he'll be out with a knee injury for a few weeks, hurts both the 49ers passing and rushing offense in a lot of ways.

San Francisco enters the contest averaging 200 rush yards per game this season, far and away tops in the NFL. Lead blocks from Juszczyk have been a key reason why:


Juszczyk's role is too complicated to merely replace him with another running back, or drop down another depth tight end to stand in the role. So one might expect head coach Kyle Shanahan to use more 11-personnel formations -- three wide receivers, one running back and a tight end -- instead of the oft-used 21-personnel groupings.

How much this impacts San Francisco's offense could be a crucial determining factor for this game.

No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo carrying the offensive output


While the 49ers ground game has carried the offensive load for nearly all of 2019, Juszczyk's absence and the shortage of two starting tackles means the pass game will have to be more of a factor in Week 6.

This means more from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whose 920 pass yards rank 27th out of all qualifiers this season. Granted, there's a bye week for Garoppolo mixed in there. But considering his 230 pass-yards-per-game average ranks 20th overall, one can see why the quarterback needs to have a bit more output in Los Angeles.

On a positive note, the Rams are surrendering an average of 6.6 yards per pass play this season, which is 18th in the league. And they'll be without one of their top sack specialists, EDGE Clay Matthews, who's missing time with a broken jaw.

Still, Garoppolo and the passing game will need to play a much bigger role than they have so far this season.

The 49ers and Rams kick off on Oct. 13 at 4:05 p.m. ET from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



'Just more competition': 49ers' Fred Warner excited to face Rams' Matthew Stafford

By David Bonilla
Jul 25, 2021

Kyle Shanahan would have liked to look into the possibility of adding Matthew Stafford this offseason. He was shocked by how quickly the deal between the Detroit Lions and the Las Angeles Rams went down. As a result, Shanahan never got a chance to get his team into the mix. "I was trying to get involved in it," Shanahan shared earlier this month, sharing that he thought he had more time to do so. But it was too late. The trade was on its way to being completed. Now, Stafford is in the NFC West, and the San Francisco 49ers will have to face the veteran quarterback twice a season. News of the trade was shocking to many, especially those within



Baldinger expects Trey Lance 'to be on the field' for 49ers in Week 1

By David Bonilla
Jul 22, 2021

Having a veteran quarterback looking over his shoulder at a high-selection rookie passer is the recipe for a compelling NFL storyline. That will be one of the most talked-about storylines coming out of Santa Clara starting next week when the San Francisco 49ers report to training camp. The plan is to have Jimmy Garoppolo start Week 1 and, assuming he remains healthy, for as long as possible throughout the season. The 49ers traded up to select Lance at No. 3 overall, though, surrendering future draft capital to do so. So now, everyone is trying to figure out when we might see Lance get on the football field for some regular-season action. Brian Baldinger doesn't think fans will have to wait long. No, he is not predicting a Week 1 start. However, the NFL Network



49ers training camp practice schedule and media availability - Week 1

By Site Staff
Jul 26, 2021

Training camp is about to kick off and the San Francisco 49ers will hold four consecutive days of practice starting on Wednesday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will open the week by speaking to reporters on Tuesday, followed by select players. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel are also scheduled to speak during the week. The 49ers will make the press conferences available at 49ers.com, and on the team's official mobile app and YouTube page. Below



49ers' Nick Bosa on track to play Week 1; DeMeco Ryans talks plans for Fred Warner, Samson Ebukam

By David Bonilla
Jul 29, 2021

It's been a long journey back for San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa. He suffered a devastating knee injury during Week 2 of last season and admitted the road to recovery was often "really rough" on him mentally. Bosa was entering his second NFL season and coming off an impressive campaign that earned him NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The injury derailed everything. Luckily, he had the support of his family, including his brother, Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa. "Once you get past the initial pain of [the injury], then there's really no other option but to come back better," Bosa told reporters after Thursday's practice. The coaching staff has limited Bosa during training camp practices. The defender is vital to the


Featured

More by Peter Panacy

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone