The last time the Los Angeles Rams played the San Francisco 49ers, the result was definitely not good. That game let the air out of the 2016 season before it even had a chance to get rolling. This week should be different.
Let’s take a look at some matchups to watch tonight as the Rams look to get above .500 and stay atop the NFC West. (too soon?)
Carlos Hyde vs Rams Run Defense
This one is about as obvious as it comes. Hyde is coming off of a 124 yard performance against a formidable Seahawks defense. The Rams defense on the other hand ranks 30th in the NFL in rush yards allowed through 2 games.
Hyde torched the Rams on that fateful Monday night last year for nearly 100 yards from scrimmage and a pair of TDs. In his other games against the Rams, he has been all but bottled up - averaging 23 yards per game and a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. The Rams defense hasn’t inspired much confidence over the course of the first two weeks, but they have a chance to turn it around in front of the NFL world in primetime.
Pierre Garcon vs Trumaine Johnson
Garcon is a 31 year old receiver who is likely past his prime and will have Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball. Johnson has played well so far in 2017, but just because Garcon is a bit long in the tooth doesn’t mean Tru won’t have to bring his A game.
I’ve always thought of Garcon as more of an elite #2 WR as he was behind Reggie Wayne with the Colts and DeSean Jackson with the Redskins. I expect Tru to largely keep Garcon in check and continue earning that massive payday that is inevitably coming to him.
DeForest Buckner vs Rodger Saffold
Buckner has doing his best Aaron Donald impersonation so far this season.
DeForest Buckner and Cameron Heyward have been dominant as interior pass rushers through two weeks pic.twitter.com/0FKVJGjVc2— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 21, 2017
The bad news for Buckner is that he is going to be playing directly opposite of Saffold: the man who (tries to) block Donald every day in practice. I think Buckner could have an impact play or 2, but expect Saffold’s veteran savvy to hold the 49ers upstart DT in check tonight.
Jared Goff vs 49ers Under-manned Secondary
Goff has silenced a lot of doubters in the first two weeks of the season. Sean McVay has clearly made huge strides with Goff. Save for a absolutely horrid interception at the end of the Rams week 2 loss, Goff has avoided the big mistake in 2017.
The 49ers will be without safety Eric Reid and their other safety, Jimmie Ward, is battling back from a hamstring injury. This has the makings of a coming out party for Goff.