The St. Louis Rams will play the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in their season finale. For the Rams this game is about finally getting over the 7-9 hump that has plagued the team and finally finish the season as 8-8. Although this seems like an easy game against the struggling 49ers, this is the NFL, and as the Rams witnessed in Seattle, any given Sunday.
Here are the five 49ers the Rams need to be aware of.
DT Ian Williams
The Rams offensive line has played better in recent weeks, however this week will be an interesting test for the offense as they face one of this season's best nose tackles in the game. Williams who will become a free agent after this season currently has 64 tackles and has been mentioned by Pro Football Focus as one of the best run-plugging nose tackles that no one is talking about.
For a team like the Rams that need to run the ball, their offensive line will have to find a way to block Williams.
QB Blaine Gabbert
The 2015 NFL season has been a strange one, with backup quarterbacks having good seasons, however the strangest occurrences was that when Colin Kaepernick was benched for the season, there were murmurs that Blaine Gabbert could be the future of the 49ers.
Now that the initial shock has went away, it has become obvious that Gabbert is not the future franchise QB for the 49ers, but he has been a solid player. This season has been the best for the former 1st round pick, he has looked like he could start as a backup. In seven games he has thrown for 1,677 yards, completing 63% of his passes, throwing for 9 touchdowns and he has a TD on the ground as well. The Rams will need to pressure Gabbert who has been sacked 24 times in those seven games if they want to take him out of the game.
WR Torrey Smith
The 49ers brought Smith on the team to pair Anquan Boldin with a speedy receiver. So far that pairing has not done much, but both receivers have had solid seasons. With 602 yards on only 28 catches this season, it is hard to imagine that Smith has lost a step and that he is not the big play receiver that he was with the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith is the type of player that the Rams have had trouble with in the past. Smith is a splash player that more than likely will not make a big play this week, but if he does it would not be that big of a surprise.
LB NaVorro Bowman
Returning from a torn ACL and MCL is rough, returning after a whole season is tough. Bowman might not be the player that he once was before, but he still is a solid linebacker. The stats for Bowman so far: 146 tackles, two and a half sacks, and two pass deflections.
Bowman is a player that will attempt to help the 49ers defense slow down Todd Gurley. Bowman is currently the best run defending linebacker on the 49ers.
WR Anquan Boldin
The 35 year old receiver has 718 receiving yards with 68 receptions. Boldin has continued to be a contributor even on a team without a good starting QB. Boldin is a big slot receiver, this season he has been up and down, but that is to be expected. He has struggled to get open and although he still catches the ball well, he is not the player that he used to be. It will be interesting to watch Boldin versus Lamarcus Joyner in the slot since there is as size mismatch.