Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
We all witnessed the 49ers go through a historic gauntlet against three teams with a winning percentage of at least .800 and come away 2-1. We saw them dismantling the Green Bay Packers. We saw them go down to the wire and lose on a last-second field goal against the Ravens. And we saw them win in a shootout in the Superdome against the high-powered Saints offense. And then we saw them pretty much lay an egg against a subpar Falcons team that had trap game written all over it.
Yes, the 49ers clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. And yes, the 49ers are still 11-3. However, despite what they have accomplished they were a little pissed following Sunday’s game. And that’s good, because they have a couple tough matchups to finish out the season. We want a pissed-off and focused 49ers team entering the last two weeks of the season because if they win out, the number-one seed is theirs. That comes with a much-needed bye week to get everyone healthy, and the trip to Miami will have to go through Santa Clara.
However, that is still a couple weeks off and they mustfirsttake care of business against the Rams this Saturday in their last home game of the regular season. How are the 49ers going to beat the Rams before their ever-important showdown against the Seahawks?
First, their defense needs to get back to punishing opposing offenses. Despite all they have accomplished this season, remember that they were run all over by Lamar Jackson, but who hasn’t? They were also torched by Drew Brees, but thank God for the 48 points the offense scored. Against Atlanta they were picked apart by Julio Jones all by himself. They had no answers for the Falcons’ star wideout.
They will need to get back to suffocating the pocket and don’tlet Jared Goff get comfortable. Another thing they will have to contend with this go around is Todd Gurley. He was injured when these teams met earlier in the season, but he’s healthy for Saturday.
However, we witnessed the 49ers clamp down on Alvin Kamara when they faced the Saints, and Goff is not Brees. Take Gurley away and this Rams offense will sputter. That will be the 49ers’ main objective on defense:take Gurley out of the picture and suffocate the pocket.
On offense they need to have a better outing than they did against the Falcons. They scored 48 points in the Superdome but couldn’t score more than 22 at home this past Sunday. As amazing as George Kittle is, he can’t do it all. We saw that against the Falcons, and we saw that last season. Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan will need to get Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel, and Kendrick Bourne involved. And I know Shanahan likes to rotate his running backs but as wellas Raheem Mostert is playing, he needs to be on the field for the majority of the snaps.
Honestly, I feel sorry for the Rams…no I don’t.
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