NFL Football

23
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
San Francisco 7 0 10 6 23
LA Rams 3 0 10 7 20
20
1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET21:05 GMT5:05 2:05 PM MST4:05 PM EST3:05 PM CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05 , November 29, 2020
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California  Weather: 72°, Clear  Attendance: 0

49ers-Rams Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams

  1. San Francisco has won three straight against the Rams, including a 24-16 win in Week 6 this season, after Los Angeles had won three of the previous four. Neither team has won four straight against the other since the 49ers won five straight from 2008 to 2010.
  2. The 49ers lost to the Saints, 27-13, in New Orleans in Week 10 before their bye last week. They've lost three straight for the first time since Weeks 10-13 of 2018, and the 13 points they scored were their fewest since a 9-0 win against Washington in Week 7 last season.
  3. The Rams topped the Buccaneers, 27-24, in Tampa on Monday Night. They had just one rushing first down (and 19 passing first downs). It was their first game with one or fewer rushing first downs since a Week 11 loss to Minnesota in 2017. They had lost eight of their last nine such games.
  4. Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk had seven catches on 14 targets for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. He has 34 targets, 23 catches, 293 yards and three touchdowns in his last four games -- he had 22 targets, 12 receptions, 153 yards and zero touchdowns in his first four.
  5. Cooper Kupp had 11 catches for 145 yards, and Robert Woods had 12 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. They became the first pair of Rams teammates to each catch at least 10 passes in the same game.
  6. The Rams have gained at least four yards on 58.0 percent of their first down plays, by far the best mark in the league (the Saints are in second at 55.3 percent). The 49ers have allowed opponents to gain at least four yards on 48.0 percent of first downs, which ranks 13th in the NFL.
Team Comparison

San Francisco
 
Los Angeles
23.8 Points 24.3
271.8 Pass Yds 282.3
112.0 Rush Yds 124.5
12 Takeaways 15
(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Rams returned from their bye week this month and promptly jumped into first place in the NFC West with impressive wins over conference elites Seattle and Tampa Bay.

The San Francisco 49ers stumbled through three straight injury-plagued losses to NFC contenders Seattle, Green Bay and New Orleans before their own bye last weekend. They're still without injured Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle, and they face a difficult climb back to playoff contention despite their still-generous allotment of healthy talent.

Although current form and future prospects clearly favor the Rams (7-3) when they host the Niners (4-6) on Sunday, that doesn't fill coach Sean McVay with the slightest bit of confidence.

Not after three straight losses to Kyle Shanahan and the team that succeeded the Rams as conference champions.

"It isn't like this isn't a great football team," McVay said of the Rams' first sub-.500 opponent in six weeks. "They're the reigning NFC champions, a couple plays away from being Super Bowl champions. I know too much about these guys and their coaches and their players to ever take anything for granted."

McVay's caution is well founded: Since McVay and Shanahan got their jobs in early 2017, Shanahan has won four of seven matchups, including 24-16 in Santa Clara last month that wasn't really close. The Niners racked up a whopping 291 yards in the first half against a defense that now ranks as the stingiest in the NFL, allowing 291.9 yards per game.

McVay has won 13 more regular-season games than Shanahan, who has a sub-.500 career record and just one playoff appearance. But in the games that count, his Niners regularly come up big.

"The Rams, they had our number when I first started out," Shanahan said of LA's three wins in the coaches' first four matchups in 2017-18. "They're playing as good as any team in the league right now. It's going to be a huge challenge this week."

San Francisco swept the two-game series last season with a dominating 20-7 victory in Los Angeles and a late comeback for a 34-31 win at home that eliminated the Rams from playoff contention despite their 9-7 finish. A victory Sunday would give San Francisco back-to-back season sweeps of the Rams for the first time since 2008-09.

"We were able to have success on defense going against them in the last couple outings," said 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, a Southern California native. "But I know they're trying to make a statement to get after us and make sure they're starting on the right foot come Sunday."

WELL RESTED

The Niners are coming off a much-needed bye week after being decimated by injuries. They could get some reinforcements on offense with leading rusher Raheem Mostert and No. 1 receiver Deebo Samuel both trying to return. Even the players who had been healthy needed a break.

"I feel like we needed it," Warner said. "It was kind of toward that midpoint of the season and now we're just really excited to get going again. Guys are fresh. We're hungry. We want to get back to being competitive and winning ballgames. We're excited about getting back to work this week."

GOFF'S GAME

Rams quarterback Jared Goff has a chance to atone for a rough 19-for-38, 198-yard performance against San Francisco. He went into the bye two weeks later with an awful four-turnover performance in Miami, but the childhood Niners fan has markedly improved his effectiveness over the past two weeks, passing for 678 yards in consecutive wins.

"We came into the year knowing every (NFC West) team got a little bit better, and every team is going to be good," Goff said. "These division games are the ones you need. These guys have taken care of us three in a row now. Hopefully we can buck that trend."

DEPLETED RAMS

The Rams are on a short, jumbled week of preparation after not getting home from their win over Tampa Bay until Tuesday morning. They also canceled practice Friday and held their team meetings virtually after two members of the organization received COVID-19 test results that required further testing.

Los Angeles has largely avoided major injury problems in McVay's tenure, but three key players are sidelined Sunday: left tackle Andrew Whitworth, leading tackler Micah Kiser, and starting safety Taylor Rapp.

Joe Noteboom filled in solidly for Whitworth last week despite minimal NFL experience at the position, but the Niners will attempt to test him. Kiser likely will be replaced by Troy Reeder as LA's middle linebacker, but the middle level of the defense already was its weakest spot.

ROLLING ROOKIES

The Niners are getting big contributions from their two first-round draft picks. No. 14 overall Javon Kinlaw is coming off his best game with 1 1/2 sacks against New Orleans and three tackles for a loss. No. 25 pick Brandon Aiyuk has 21 catches for 281 yards and two TDs in his past three games.

AD'S FLAGS

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald expressed his frustration this week with the lack of holding calls against opponents attempting to block him. The 2019 All-Pro hasn't made a tackle in two weeks, but he has 11 1/2 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 26 quarterback hits in 12 career games against the 49ers.

When Shanahan was asked if he'd seen any drop-off in Donald's play lately, the coach quickly quashed that idea: "Absolutely not. I wish, but no, I haven't. Been waiting a long time for that. Doesn't seem like it's happening."

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AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated November 27, 2020

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