49ers can extend troubles Matthew Stafford is having with Rams

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

Fox. 3-3. 51. 49ers -1.5. 4:25 p.m. ET. 3-4. 42. Sunday, Oct. 30

The Rams are potentially dealing with a declining Matthew Stafford, and the 49ers would love nothing more than to turn Week 8 into another messy outing.

Yes, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams essentially own the last laugh over the San Francisco 49ers, having defeated the Niners in the NFC Championship game and ultimately winning the Super Bowl last February.

But the tables have turned on that season, and the 3-3 Rams aren’t quite establishing themselves as a dynasty that’ll “run it back” with regards to pulling off another Super Bowl title.

LA has a number of different problems, yet Stafford is certainly high up on the list of issues head coach Sean McVay is dealing with right now.

Sure, the veteran signal-caller dealt with elbow tendinitis heading into the regular season, but that doesn’t alone account for some of the woes he’s faced. In fact, many of the issues have stemmed from Los Angeles’ roster itself, namely a lack of offensive weaponry behind All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp and a makeshift, porous offensive line that Pro Football Focus recently ranked next to last in the entire league heading into the Rams’ Week 8 matchup against the Niners.

Speaking of that matchup, San Francisco would love nothing more than to ensure Stafford’s struggles continue.

49ers watching Matthew Stafford struggle in Year 2 with Rams

Stafford proved to be a key difference in LA’s Super Bowl win. This year, however, the 34 year old is still completing over 71 percent of his passes but has tossed only six touchdowns against eight interceptions.

On top of that, he’s also been sacked a whopping 22 times over six games, and one can recall how the 49ers managed seven of those sacks the last time these two teams played each other back in Week 4.

Our colleague and friend, Bret Stuter at FanSided’s Ramblin’ Fan, pointed out how Stafford is part of a large array of veteran quarterbacks who are struggling this year, describing the following:

"So how bad did [Colts QB] Matt Ryan play? Let’s compare the two quarterbacks, Matt Ryan (7 games) and Matthew Stafford (6 games):Name                            Comp  ATT   Yards    Comp%   YPA      TD    INTs   Sks-SYLMatt Ryan                    203     297   2008      68.4      6.76       9       9       24-184Matthew Stafford      160     225   1576      71.1      7.00       6       8       22-152Now, consider that the Indianapolis Colts have decided to sit Matt Ryan, who arguably is having a season that is comparable to that of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. The LA Rams stand at 3-3, while the Indianapolis Colts stand at 3-3-1."

Unlike Indy, Los Angeles isn’t going to bench Stafford. Not yet.

But the situation Stafford finds himself in probably needs to be rectified soon if the Rams hope to get back into the Super Bowl.

The problem, however, is the 49ers will sell out to ensure those struggles continue.

Matthew Stafford’s troubles play right into what 49ers want to do vs. Rams

Remember those seven sacks back in Week 4? Well, EDGE Nick Bosa had two of them, and he was a menace versus LA’s offensive line.

Yes, the Niners’ defensive line is banged up right now, currently missing defensive tackles Arik Armstead (foot) and Javon Kinlaw (knee). Yet it’s still a net plus over Los Angeles’ offensive line, meaning the sack opportunities are still going to be there on Sunday.

Additionally, San Francisco has a plan in place to contain Stafford’s favorite weapon, Kupp, by deploying its most experienced defensive back, Jimmie Ward, in coverage over the slot.

Related Story: Week 8 vs. Rams presents 49ers with perfect chance to bounce back

Kupp did damage against the 49ers way back in Week 4 to the tune of 14 receptions and 122 yards, but the overall impact was minimal in contrast to the actual stats. And that was before Ward returned from a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve.

If Ward and the rest of the Niners secondary can merely keep Kupp from taking over the game, it’ll only increase Stafford’s liability as an offensive playmaker.

And, as long as Stafford’s yearlong issues continue, San Francisco won’t mind whatsoever.

This NFC West matchup kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 4:25 p.m. ET from SoFI Stadium.

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