How 49ers can beat the Rams

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — Beating the Rams would qualify as an extraordinary accomplishment for the 49ers. Make no mistake about it.

Sure, the 49ers are undefeated, and the Rams are 3-2. Plus, the Rams won’t have their star running back, Todd Gurley. He’ll be out with a quadriceps injury.

But the 49ers won’t have fullback Kyle Juszczyk, left tackle Joe Staley, right tackle Mike McGlinchey, slot receiver Trent Taylor and No. 1 cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, and maybe even their star tight end, George Kittle, who injured his groin Friday during practice. The 49ers list him as “questionable.”

The 49ers still have lots of talented players, especially on defense. But most of the 49ers never have played a game as big as this one. The Rams are an experienced team that has played in plenty of big games. And the Rams have home-field advantage. And they’ve had 10 days to prepare.

Here’s what the 49ers have to do to pull off a franchise-altering upset.

This article has 38 Comments

  1. Great points Grant. I love these pre-game write-ups; and contrary to popular belief I knew you weren’t going to Jinx us last week by picking us to beat the Brownies!

    This team is legit, yes we have our weaknesses, and yes we’re battling with starters out, but there’s something special brewing in Santa Clara! It won’t be the end of the world to fall to the defending NFC champions and Shanny’s protege at their home, but it will be sweet vindication and further validation when we beat the Lambs and tighten our grasp on the NFC West! This game is bigger for the Lambs than it is for us! Looking forward to another great outing from our guys!

    Go Niners!

  2. Should be a fun game. Looking forward to it. Gone are the days of dreading to play a rival, knowing in the back of your head that it will likely end badly.

    BTW, the Rams stadium is looking awesome. Too bad the Yorks couldn’t design a better showcase for the team and have to be shown up by rivals (Rams and Raiders).

    1. I feel you about dreading a game, just knowing we’re gonna lose. That’s why I love this squad. We are back to an exciting brand of football. I loved the Harbaugh squads, don’t get me wrong. But this 49era team has the feel of those powerhouse dynasty days when you just KNEW we were gonna win. This team could be something special.

  3. I don’t think we need to double Kupp when we’ve got the best slot CB in the NFL, K’Waun Williams. Offensively, we’re going into a gun fight with a machete. This game will show why Shanny is the best offensive mind in pro football, and McVay is merely an imposter….

  4. Good preview Grant. The Niners have a big one today. The Rams are going to try to limit our rushing attack and dare Jimmy G to beat them through the air. Jimmy will answer the bell and be equal to the task. Watch for Deebo Samuel to have a breakout game as the Niners win in a nail biting shootout.

  5. Underthrown? You’ve obviously mixed up his first and second interceptions, and yes, they were in zone coverages so Sherman was playing loose, which he stated after the game. He’s playing well, good to have him!

    GO NINERS !!!

  6. I think Shanny out schemes McVay….5-0 for Frisco….conversely JimmyP is gonna blow up and throw pics some game and we will lose…but is it this game????? No Shanny has a good scheme for this game…..Frisco 27 17 for the win

  7. Franchise altering win??? My God you need to relax, 5 Lombardis say hello in reference to a week 6 game that will likely have no impact come January

  8. This is a reply to David Alexander, who thinks my opinions are nothing to write home about. I just thought it would be more appropriate here, where Grant is discussing ways for how the Niners can beat the Rams.
    I wrote this about 3 years ago.
    10 Ways to Improve the Niner Offense.
    1. Run the no huddle with quick varied snaps. It saves time and adds more possible possessions per game. It eliminates delay of game penalties. The defense cannot anticipate the snap, and it prevents the defense from substituting.
    2. Consider time outs to be precious and saved for (Legitimate challenges and) the last 2 minutes (of each half). It’s OK to burn one when leading by 2 scores.
    3. Line up in simple, standard formations, and either run or pass out of it. The defense has to cover multiple options. Establish the running game, and then do play action, for long strikes down field.
    4. Put a man in motion to let Kaep (JG) read the defense’s reaction. Put a man in motion, and keep him in motion. Do not have him stop. The man in motion will not be able to be jammed at the line of scrimmage. The man in motion will be at full speed at the snap of the ball.(Imagine Breida at 20 MPH, accepting the football.)
    5. Take a page out of the Bill Walsh playbook, and script the first 15 plays. Set up plays by running a different but similar one first. predesignate plays according to down and distance. (Have a 4th down play. Predesignate plays to run in the hurry up offense.)
    6. Go for it on 4th and short (in the red zone).Do not settle for field goals. GB lost their last NFCC Game by settling for field goals on the one yard line. Be bold, and go for it.
    7. Devise plays that gets the ball into the playmaker’s hands, in space. Think screens, draws, swing passes, slants, (bubble screens, flea flickers).
    8. Do not run into the teeth of the defense. Hit them where they aint. (Attack weaknesses).
    9. Since the Niners plan to run the ball, line up the RB deep in the I, and let him build up a head of steam before getting to the line of scrimmage. Let him select which gap to run through.
    10. Practice and master the art of deception. Keep the defense guessing who has the ball.Invite the blitz, then run away from the blitzer,(or attack the area the blitzer vacated). Practice looking off the safety. Employ misdirection, counters, reverses, fake reverses, pump fakes and play action.
    It is interesting to note that Grant proposed many of these same things. Like minds think alike.


      1. Yes you do, since you posted after my 10 point plan. Sure, these are common sense suggestions, and I am not claiming to have thought of something entirely new. This is a copycat league. Even Belichick ‘borrowed’ from Fangio’s 6-1 defensive scheme to stop the Rams.

  9. Niners are playing with house money imo. If they lose, they aren’t going to get hyped up to hell in the media, and will still be 4-1. If they win, they’d be 2.5 games ahead of the Rams, and still have the Cards to come twice. It’s not a game they “should” win, but I have faith. I think the Niners will shock the Rams.

  10. Thanks a lot Seb. You just made me choke on my coffee and wreck the front of my PJ’s laughing at your 10 points. Have you ever thought about writing comedy? Hilarious stuff. Right up there with Coach’s usual 5 Overly Obvious things the Niners should do to Win the Game articles he spews out all too often. Too funny! Your correct. Like minds think alike! I read a previous piece you wrote yesterday or so and you mentioned Grant or referred to him 9 times in a rather short piece for you. Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant. My God man! Is there a man crush going on there or what? Holly Smolly! Just having fun with you Paul, don’t take the teasing too seriously and get your panties in an uproar! I know you revere Coach with undying devotion! Why, I haven’t figured out, but thats just me!
    Anywho! Todays game without 10 stupid suggestions. Keep in mind my preseason prognostication is 100% correct so far. I think it will continue, unfortunately, but that is ok. The NFL Gods do not like undefeated teams.(except if your NE) Though at full strength, the Niners are a better team at this point in the season than the Rams, the combination of a short week and critical injuries to key players will be too much to overcome. Too bad because they were really on a roll. I do have them winning the following three games to finish off the first half 7-1. Then it gets tough. I’ll stick with my 10-6.
    Juanhunglo says:
    April 21, 2019 at 9:37 pm
    SF at TB W
    SF at CIN W
    PITT at SF W
    CLE at SF W
    SF at LAR L
    SF at WAS W
    CAR at SF W
    SF at ARI W
    SEA at SF L
    ARI at SF W
    GB at SF L
    SF at BAL L
    SF at NO L
    ATL at SF W
    LAR at SF W
    SF at SEA L

    10-6 (Based on Jimmy G playing the entire season)

    Today, I’m taking the Niners +3 and the under (50 1/2)

    SF 24 LA 26

    I hope I’m wrong. I really do. I hope Seb and his usual 24-23 score that he has used in every game forever (puzzling lack of imagination or maybe he just doesn’t trust his ability to analyze a game) Quite Lazy I must say but that’s just me.

    Have a great day!! Go Niners!!

    1. No, no, Juan, I changed my mind since Mathews and Talib are out, and Gurley may also be out.
      I went closer to what Razor predicted. He said 28-20. I am now predicting 28-23.
      Yes I have been pretty consistent, and have made these suggestions for years. Glad to hear KS sound unpredictable, promising to shake things up. That sounds kinda deceptive! I am glad that KS is finally putting a man in motion. Why, it is almost as if he reads these posts! ;p
      GO NINERS !!!!!!

  11. Biggest concern I have is turnovers…. Seems every other game we like to turn the ball over in bunches so hopefully that pattern breaks today. On the other side even without Gurley the Rams have good depth at RB so hopefully the DL can holdup against a heavy dose of rushing, sweeps and screens which the Rams would be wise to do to limit Goff’s mistakes when under siege.

    Sorta expecting our first loss today considering the injuries on offense but will be ecstatic obviously if the Niners win.

  12. You could be right Sponge. I think the game will either be a close win by LA, which I have predicted, or a Niner blowout. I don’t see the Rams blowing out the Niners. The defense is even better than anticipated. I would imagine the Rams will stack the box and try to force Jimmy and our, let’s just face it, crappy receiving corps (besides Kittle who might not even play) try to beat them. It will be interesting to see if KS comes out passing to loosen that D up, or will he just stick to what has got them here, and come out running. Probably the latter considering the two freshmen tackles and the receivers at his disposal. For the sake of fun I’ll give you a blowout score though, based on Jimmy coming out firing and his receivers actually doing what they’re paid to do. Catch the friggin ball!!!!!! If they do!

    SF 38 LAR 13

    Oh to dream! :)

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