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Rams Niners Preview
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Dec 4 2011 @ 3:33 am In St. Louis Rams | No Comments
The 2-9 St. Louis Rams will take on the 9-2 San Francisco 49ers this Sunday and they may have to do it without starting QB Sam Bradford who aggravated a high ankle sprain that kept him out of two games earlier in the season. Not that having Bradford will make much of a difference against the 49ers, the NFC West Division leaders but their chances are increased dramatically with him in the game.
Unfortunately even with Bradford the Rams chances don’t increase very much. With a win Sunday the 49ers will clinch their first NFC West Division crown since 2002. The Niners come into Sunday’s game with the top rushing defense in the entire league this year. With their success so far in 2011 they have been the talk of the NFL after a dismal 2010 when they went 6-10 under former head coach Mike Singletary.
Current head coach Jim Harbaugh has instilled a defensive mindset in his team that has propelled them to new heights this year. So far in 2011 San Francisco has not allowed a rushing touchdown while yielding only 75 yards per game on the ground. In fact Rams running back Steven Jackson is the last running back to gain more than 100 yards against San Francisco when he accomplished the feat in week 16 of last season.
The Rams should take that as a challenge and remove the shackles from their star running back Jackson and let him do what he do best and that is run the ball. During a three game stretch in which the Rams went 2-1 Jackson carried the ball an average of 27 times per game and gained 139 per contest. The Rams apparently were unhappy with his production, or at least one would think because they stopped giving him the ball. In the last two game Jackson has carried the ball on average 16 times and gained 53 yards per game. On the other hand the Rams may find a hole in San Francisco’s passing game as they are giving up 240 yards per game through the air. Hopefully Rams’ head coach Steve Spagnuolo will play it smart and take whatever the defense gives him.
The Rams’ defense is coming off a poor showing last week against the Arizona Cardinals in which they surrendered 228 yards (career high) to running back Beanie Wells. They won’t get to rest this week with Niners running back Frank Gore. Gore is fourth in the league in rushing with 909 yards and five touchdowns. He needs just 22 yards to eclipse Joe Perry’s total of 7,344 and become San Francisco’s all time leading rusher. The Rams are last in the league allowing 159 rushing yards per game.
Prior to last week’s game against Arizona the Rams were already out of the playoff picture. But with the loss to the Cardinals the Rams assured themselves of a another losing season. So, the remaining games are simply for pride. Let’s see if the Rams have any thing left in them to at least accomplish that much.
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