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Los Angeles Rams versus San Francisco 49ers: Matchups to watch revisited

The 49ers stifled the Rams’ offense, to the tune of 157 total yards. The Rams didn’t have any answer for the suffocating defense.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams dropped to 3-3 after another tough divisional loss in Week 6, this time to the San Francisco 49ers, improving their unbeaten record to 5-0. The Rams now sit at 3rd place in the NFC West, two games back from the second place Seattle Seahawks.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

WR Cooper Kupp versus CB K’Waun Williams

Last week’s matchup to watch:

If you weren’t informed about Cooper Kupp’s ACL tear, you’d have no idea he isn’t even a year removed from the injury. Kupp — who’s currently 4th in the league in receiving yards — has been unstoppable, reeling in 41 receptions for 505 yards and four touchdowns. Kupp will likely draw coverage from multiple 49ers defenders, but he’ll face K’Waun Williams most. Williams is having a tremendous season and will be relied upon a ton by Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh.

Cooper Kupp really didn’t stand much of a chance as quarterback Jared Goff was harassed all afternoon, totaling only 78 passing yards. Kupp totaled four receptions for 17 yards, proving to be a non-factor, much like every member of the passing attack. K’Waun Williams — and the entirety of the 49ers’ defense — were dominant in Week 6.

EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. versus OT’s Justin Skule/Sam Young

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Dante Fowler Jr. hasn’t registered a sack since Week 1 when he notched two, though this might be his best opportunity to get back on the stat sheet as the 49ers are missing both starting tackles. The replacements — Justin Skule at left tackle, Sam Young at right tackle — aren’t top quality, though Skule has been quite admirable in his two starts in 2019. The Rams’ pass rush have a chance to impact quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and it is crucial they do.

Dante Fowler Jr. had a chance to wreak havoc as the 49ers were starting two second-string offensive tackles, yet he registered one single tackle and no other stats. Fowler did not have a single sack, QB hit, or tackle for loss (TFL). The Rams’ edge rushers are severely lacking, particularly at finishing rushes which have a chance to end in QB hits or sacks.

Rams’ front seven versus 49ers’ rushing attack

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The 49ers’ offense is currently averaging 200 rushing yards per game, good for 1st in the league. The trio of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, and Raheem Mostert have proven to be lethal in the outside zone rushing attack Head Coach Kyle Shanahan deploys. The Rams’ front seven need to maintain discipline and remain in their gaps, because stopping the run has to be of the utmost priority.

The front seven of the Rams performed very well, allowing the 49ers — who were averaging 200 rushing yards per game — only 99 rushing yards, for an average of 2.4 yards-per-carry. The unit which was missing starting edge Clay Matthews, proved to be up to the task on Sunday, stifling the leagues best rushing attack.

S Taylor Rapp versus TE George Kittle

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Rookie safety Taylor Rapp looks to be a go for Sunday after recovering from an ankle injury. Unluckily for him, he’ll draw coverage against arguably the best tight end in football, George Kittle. Kittle is an absolutely ferocious blocker with elite speed at the position, making him an absolute handful for any defender. Rapp has to do whatever he can to contain Kittle, as the potent weapon can turn a small gain into a large one.

George Kittle once again proved to be a thorn in the Rams’ side, as he secured all eight of his targets, parlaying them into eight receptions for 103 yards. Kittle took turns beating multiple members of the Rams’ secondary, and also showed off one of his patented explosive run-and-catches.

Rams’ OL versus 49ers’ DL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The 49ers have arguably the best defensive line in football, which is comprised of multiple studs and first-round draft picks. Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, D.J. Jones, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Soloman Thomas are as formidable of a front as the Rams will see all year. The Rams’ offensive line hasn’t been very good in 2019, yet they’ll need to find a way to control this game. The game will likely be won and lost in the trenches, making this battle the most important of all.

The trenches turned out to be the largest mismatch in the contest, because the defensive line of the 49ers absolutely dominated in Week 6. The unit combined for four sacks, seven TFL’s, and countless other pressures. Jared Goff had no time to operate within the pocket as the offensive line was pushed back into his lap too often.