The 49ers are already facing tough odds to knock off the Rams on Monday Night Football, but defenders Aaron Donald and Von Miller make things worse.
The Los Angeles Rams have already made it clear multiple times they’re going “all in” on a bid to win the Super Bowl this season, highlighted by the recent signing of former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and, just before the NFL trade deadline, the trade for former Denver Broncos EDGE Von Miller.
Neither player was on the field for the Rams’ Week 9 bout, a home loss against the Tennessee Titans.
But that changes in Week 10 on Monday Night Football against the 3-5 San Francisco 49ers.
Beckham might be a problem, specifically for a banged-up Niners secondary that’ll likely be forced to start at least one of its two rookies, Ambry Thomas or Deommodore Lenoir.
Yet he’s not the player or part of a player tandem San Francisco should be concerned about.
Weak 49ers offensive line will have trouble with Von Miller, Aaron Donald
Week 10 will likely mark the debut Miller pairs up with his new defensive line teammate, perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, whom 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk highlighted as the NFL’s top defensive player going right now.
Donald, who already has six sacks and seven quarterback hits on the year, figures to line up all over Los Angeles’ defensive front.
With Miller likely able to play despite an ankle injury, there’s one key approach the Rams are likely to take, and that’s to load up on the strong side of the formation where the Niners are the weakest.
San Francisco just lost its starting right tackle, Mike McGlinchey, to a season-ending quad injury, meaning head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely field rookie swing tackle Jaylon Moore at the position, lining him up next to the player widely viewed as the team’s weakest link along its offensive line, right guard Daniel Brunskill.
Brunskill, for whatever reasons, has had some modest success against Donald in the past. But he’s already been credited with allowing two sacks and a team-high 18 quarterback pressures this season, accounting for a 60.0 overall Pro Football Focus grade thus far.
Moore, meanwhile, has only played 78 offensive snaps this season and boasts a slightly worse 59.9 overall PFF grade on the year, albeit a small sample size where he has yet to allow a sack but has surrendered three pressures.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Rams line both Donald and Miller up over these two 49ers blockers, and it probably will end up allowing for a lot of pressure on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the game.
The Niners and Rams kick off on Monday, Nov. 15 at 8:15 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium.