Mon, 25 Jan 2021

First Look: Rams resume divisional play hosting 49ers in Week 12

Los Angeles Rams
25 Nov 2020, 17:24 GMT+10

Stu Jackson

Following their final East Coast road trip of the regular season, the Los Angeles Rams (7-3, 1-1) return home to host the San Francisco 49ers (4-6, 1-2) and resume NFC West play, seeking to remain undefeated at SoFi Stadium. Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. pacific time on FOX.

In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-49ers on Nov. 29, including notable 49ers additions, some of San Francisco's top statistical performers in Week 10 and key storylines:

Notable 49ers additions

Elevated RB Austin Walter from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Nov. 11. While 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is hopeful Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman will be available this week, Walter theoretically would be the next man up as the third running back in the rotation should one of them not be able to play with JaMycal Hasty - who rushed nine times for 37 yards in Week 6 against the Rams - on injured reserve with a broken collarbone. The 24-year-old Walter most recently was with the XFL's Dallas Renegades, where he primarily made an impact on special teams. Signed TE Jordan Reed on Aug. 9. At the time Reed signed, George Kittle was established as San Francisco's No. 1 tight end. Nearly three months later, small fractures in Kittle's left foot landed him on injured reserve, effectively elevating Reed into the No. 1 role for the time being. While Reed has only managed to play in five of the 49ers' first 10 games, his six catches for 62 yards against the Saints in Week 10 and and 8 for 50 and two touchdowns against the Jets in Week 2 prove he's still capable of contributing despite his injury history dating back to his time with the Washington Football Team.

Top performers in Week 10 (49ers had a Week 11 bye)

With Jimmy Garoppolo on IR, QB Nick Mullens made his second straight start and completed 24 of 38 pass attempts for 247 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the 49ers' 27-13 loss to the Saints.

RB Jerick McKinnon led San Francisco's backfield with 18 carries for 33 yards.

WR Brandon Aiyuk was Mullen's favorite target, catching seven of 14 targets for 75 yards and one touchdown - all team-highs.

LB Dre Greenlaw paced the 49ers defense with 11 total tackles, while DL Javon Kinlaw added 1.5 sacks.

On special teams, K Robbie Gould made both of his field goal attempts (long of 40) and his lone extra point attempt.

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

This is a different 49ers team than the one the Rams faced six weeks ago, as some of these notes may have illustrated.

Already hit hard by by injuries on defense heading into the first matchup earlier this season, the 49ers offense is dealing with its fair share. Besides Kittle, who had a team-high seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (high ankle sprain), who completed 23 of 33 pass attempts for 268 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, is also on injured reserve, and the running back position continued to deal with injuries.

At the same time, reinforcements could be on the way to help overcome the absences of key contributors like Kittle, Garoppolo and others, with Shanahan reportedly also hopeful cornerback Richard Sherman will return this week. And despite the perceived slow start through the first five weeks, Rams head coach Sean McVay knew better than to think past performances would be reflective of how their Week 6 game - especially a divisional one - would play out.

That's the same mentality Los Angeles should have going into this game, because short-handed or not, San Francisco will still have plenty of motivation to win an NFC West game and deny L.A. a chance at a three-game win streak - what would be its longest of the season.

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