Keys to the Game: San Francisco

Posted Sep 25, 2013

1. Containing Kaepernick

San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick’s ascension to Super Bowl starter can be traced to his first meeting with the Rams a year ago. While entering in relief of Alex Smith, Kaepernick threw for 117 yards and ran for another 84 in a 24-24 tie at Candlestick Park. One year removed from that game, as Kaepernick goes, so does the San Francisco offense. In the 49ers’ lone win of the season, the 49ers’ signal-caller passed for 412 yards in a 34-28 defeat of Green Bay. In the team’s two losses since, Kaepernick has been held to a total of 277 yards and four interceptions.

2. Ground and pound

After being held to 35 yards on the ground last week in Dallas, the Rams will again attempt to remove the shackles from their running game. Indianapolis had considerable success on the ground against the 49ers last week, as the Colts racked up 179 yards on 39 carries. Rams leading rusher Daryl Richardson rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries against San Francisco last year while seeing time in a reserve role. 

Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer outlined the need to find running room at his Tuesday press conference.

“Obviously, it’s very important,” Schottenheimer said. “I think you look at both games last year against them, we ran the ball pretty well. We were able to get some chunk runs early in the game, kind of help us with field position and that sets up a lot. It’s never an easy task against them. They are big and physical and the good thing is we’re going to know where they’re going to be. They’re not real complicated – never have been. They play with great fundamentals and technique, but we need to get the running game going.”

3. Protecting Sam

After a string of four consecutive games without allowing a sack, Rams QB Sam Bradford was taken down six times against Dallas. When keeping Bradford upright this season, the Rams are averaging 25.5 points and 325.5 passing yards per game.

4. Getting in range

For the first time this year and the fifth of his young career, Rams K Greg Zuerlein did not receive a field-goal attempt Sunday in Dallas. Zuerlein has connected on all five of his field-goal attempts this season, and played a key role in the Rams’ win against the 49ers last year. Zuerlein drilled the tying, 54-yard field goal near the end of regulation, and connected on the 53-yard game-winner in overtime.