No. 4: SF 49ers can deny LA Rams their run game
While the Rams have a prolific trio of pass-catching weapons — wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds, head coach Sean McVay’s offense is still predicated on establishing a good run game.
Not unlike what Kyle Shanahan has done in San Francisco. It’s almost as if both coaches come from the same coaching tree, right?
Out of their 328 total offensive plays called this year, the Rams have attempted 169 rushes (51.5 percent). On first downs, Los Angeles calls for a run 42.2 percent of the time — third most behind the Minnesota Vikings (43 percent) and the New England Patriots (43.3 percent).
Putting things into contrast, the Niners run on first downs 25 percent of the time through five weeks (28th).
Despite some notable defensive deficiencies, San Francisco is still doing a great job stopping opponents’ rushing games this season. Over that five-week span, the Niners have given up 537 total rush yards (10th best) and are allowing an average of 3.8 yards per attempt (seventh best).
Focusing on the Rams’ top running back, Darrell Henderson, and not letting him be a difference maker and X-factor should be the prime objective for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
Why? Well, for the next reason on this list.