As head coaches, Shanahan (42) had the upper hand over McVay (36), but the Rams closed the talent gap this year by aggressively expanding their roster. General manager Les Snead swapped much of the team’s draft capital to acquire cornerback Jalen Ramsey in 2019, and then fullback Matthew Stafford and linebacker Von Miller this season. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. also joined halfway through the year as a free agent.
Although his 17 regular-season interceptions were tied for first in the league, Stafford also threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns, both top-three figures. Cooper Kupp led the league in yards (1,947), reception (145) and touchdowns (16), and Beckham turned into a reliable second option, giving the Rams the big play options McVay likes to use to defend. stretch.
Stafford, however, can be spurred on in error, and the 49ers’ defense has bottled the Rams for long periods in their two games this season. The front line of Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, in addition to Arden Key, is a mighty force. Key in particular was a surprise. Key signed as a free agent after three years with the Raiders, and had 6.5 bags, 17 quarterback shots and five tackles for a loss. Collectively this offseason, the defensive front helped keep two of the league’s best offenses – Dallas and Green Bay – at 27 points, and did so along the way in both cases.
Los Angeles ‘offensive line has allowed seven pockets in the last two games against San Francisco, and must protect Stafford from the passing rush so that receivers can exploit the 49ers’ secondary, a weak spot.
In contrast, San Francisco’s offense is based on exotic moves and play-action passes across the middle of the field, the latter of which is made possible by Jimmy Garoppolo’s quick release (in their last two meetings, Garoppolo’s throws were clocked as he left his right hand within 2.35 seconds, according to NFL NextGen Stats).