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Los Angeles Rams At San Francisco 49ers: Is This A Trap?

No, no, no. It’s revenge.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have a quick turnaround this week as they look to improve their record to 2-1 in San Francisco for Thursday Night Football against the 0-2 San Francisco 49ers. There is no more time for pouting after the Rams defense got plowed by the Washington rushing attack. There is no more time to talk about how good QB Jared Goff looked again against a much tougher defense. There is no more time to hand out feel good ribbons for waving down reporters after the game and admitting they made dumb penalties.

It’s time to kick the San Francisco 49ers’ asses.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like an insurmountable task for Sean McVay’s Rams. When fans looked at the schedule in the offseason, week 3 was immediately written down in ink as a win for the Rams. Two weeks into the season and I’d bet that many fans still feel good about that. No reason not to.

But is this a trap game?

San Francisco’s offense is led by QB Brian Hoyer and are last in the NFL in offensive yards while having scored a whopping 12 points. They still haven't scored a touchdown on the season. Not too frightening.

One man that is doing his part is RB Carlos Hyde. Hyde has faced two elite front seven defenses from Carolina and Seattle and has managed to rush for 169 yards at a 7.0 ypc clip. Only Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt has a higher YPC average than Hyde. Not something you’d like to hear after watching what Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine were able to do to the Rams.

How about San Francisco’s defense? Well in terms of points and yards allowed, they sit 10th best in the league. Cam Newton is a former MVP and Russell Wilson is one of the best escape artists in the NFL, but make no mistake, their offenses are at less than 100% right now. Game flow can skew these particular stats and San Francisco has played from behind for all but 4 minutes of the season. A “top 10” defense? That’s a stretch, but they aren’t to be taken lightly.

For the Rams, RB Todd Gurley just had a mini breakout as a rusher and a major breakout as a receiver, Jared Goff is continuing to erase 2016 from our minds, Gerald Everett and Sammy Watkins have caught every single pass thrown their way, and this is still a defense which has yet to get back normal Aaron Donald. This feels more like Rams vs. Colts than it does Rams vs. Washington, right?

So is this a trap game? No, there is nothing about this 49ers team that should catch the Rams by surprise. This is a revenge game. A game to prove to us and themselves what’s real and what’s fake.

A division rival stands in the way of getting on the right side of the Jeff Fisher Mendoza line. The same division rival that’s only two victories from 2016 came against these Rams. In their last 22 regular season games played, San Francisco has won three times...all against the Rams. It’s time for some retribution.

That alone is enough motivation but there’s other reasons to have and edge to them this week. This is revenge for letting Washington run all over their faces. Revenge for coming up short on the last drive of the game. A chance to shut up the masses and the ones that dubbed them SOSAR after they fell down 13-0 after an early 2nd quarter fumble.

We can frame this game to be about Sean McVay vs Kyle Shanahan and which one is building the better team or saying the cooler things. But for the Rams, this game is a players’ game and a chance to deliver on their self-identified need for improvement.

Considering the recent history, we’re not supposed to be viewing this particular opponent as a joke or a cakewalk victory but rather be embarrassed at the thought of losing to them again. And as a fan, I’d love for the Rams to play with that same feeling on Thursday night.