49ers must clean up these 3 vital stats in Week 8 vs. Rams
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers have a chance for another ‘get right’ game against the Rams in Week 8, but they also need to shore up these three stat areas this Sunday.
For whatever reason, the San Francisco 49ers seemingly always have to play the Los Angeles Rams in the wake of a skid of some kind.
Last season, the Niners needed a win over LA to get over a 3-5 start to the season. Then, earlier this year, San Francisco dominated Los Angeles in Week 4 after getting out to a sluggish 1-2 start.
Now, at 3-4 and riding a two-game losing streak, guess who’s on the docket for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.?
Shanahan’s team needs to improve in a number of different areas, and simply scoring more points would be an excellent start. Averaging a mere 20.7 points per game, currently ranked 20th in the league entering Week 8, isn’t anywhere close to enough when considering the 49ers boast All-Pro offensive weapons in tight end George Kittle, left tackle Trent Williams, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and now running back Christian McCaffrey.
Yet that overarching stat is ultimately influenced by a number of other key factors the Niners will want to “get right” when they visit their NFC West rivals at SoFI Stadium this Sunday.
Let’s look at what San Francisco should clean up in Week 8.
Stat No. 1: 49ers must find pay dirt in the red zone
The 2021 49ers were one of the NFL’s best in red-zone touchdown percentage, ranking in the top five with a 64.4 conversion percentage.
Boasting even more weaponry now, one would figure Shanahan’s offense should execute better in this particular area of the field, but the numbers have said otherwise.
Through seven games, the Niners are very much a “mid” team, as the kids say, converting just 54.6 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns, which places them in a tie for 15th.
Those numbers were certainly skewed by San Francisco settling for three field goals against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Week 7 loss at Levi’s Stadium, but the aggressive playcalling Shanahan needs to deliver down near the goal line needs a notable uptick.
For what it’s worth, though, Los Angeles owns the NFL’s second-best red-zone defense with opponents converting drives into touchdowns here just 33.3 percent of the time.