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Rams to Finish Season at San Francisco

Posted Jan 2, 2016

St. Louis will look to end the season 8-8 with a victory over the 49ers on Sunday in Santa Clara.

After a week of preparation on the West Coast, the Rams will look to win their fourth straight game in Sunday's season finale at San Francisco.

A victory will put the team at .500 for the first time since 2006. It’s not necessarily what head coach Jeff Fisher had in mind for the 2015 campaign, but keeping the winning streak alive will be a statement moving into 2016.

“We’re certainly not satisfied with being 8-8, but we don’t have any options right now,” Fisher said. “Probably more importantly, to be able to finish the year with four straight wins, would give us momentum into the offseason.”

The current streak has featured a heavy dose of rookie running back Toddy Gurley and some solid play from quarterback Case Keenum, who is 3-1 since becoming the starter. He continues to settle in during each outing, providing some much needed stability at the position.

“I grade myself in wins and losses and how we did that game,” Keenum said. “Obviously, I want to play well. I want to lead the team. I want to be the best quarterback I can be, and I think that's putting the team with the best possible chance to win. When you're doing that, I think that's being successful."

San Francisco is 4-11 and seeking to avoid its fourth straight loss. The 49ers also opted to switch quarterbacks mid-season, handing the job over to Blaine Gabbert, who has put up some decent numbers. However, the team hasn’t been able to win back-to-back games all year.

“He goes about his business just in a terrific manner, and you can set your watch to Blaine Gabbert coming in this building somewhere around 10 until six every morning with a cup of coffee,” 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula said. “He's going right to the film room. He's done that every day he's been here and he's prepared every single day like he's starting. His interaction with his teammates, it's just something you really like to watch and something you like to be around.”

Like many NFL teams at this point in the season, the 49ers have had to work their way through some key injuries, losing running backs Reggie Bush and Carlos Hyde. According to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, this hasn’t stopped San Francisco from continuing to pound the football.

“They still do, and they do a great job of that,” Williams said. “You take a look at those guys when their offensive linemen get off the bus, you say, ‘well, there’s some football players there.’ They’re big, strong men and we’ve got to play well in the run game. We did a pretty good job here this past weekend, and it’s got to carry over into this weekend, too.”

Offensively the Rams will likely be without Gurley due to a foot injury suffered in Seattle last weekend. Fisher said doesn’t he want to risk a lengthier rehab period for the rookie heading into the offseason. With Gurley officially listed as doubtful, Tre Mason will carry the load at tailback against a defense that’s given up 19 rushing touchdowns -- most in the league. They also surrender an average of four yards per carry on the season, so the Rams and their eighth-ranked rushing attack will likely continue to chip away on the ground.

With the injuries the Rams have endured on the offensive line and defensively this year, winning the last four games would no doubt be something to hang their hat on. Both Fisher and Williams noted how proud they are of the team for staying focused on finishing the year in a strong fashion.

“Our guys have done a great job all week long, and I haven’t had to really worry about how focused they’ve been in the meetings,” Williams said. “They’ve really practiced well. You can see the tempo of the practices and the communication of the practices and you also see that these guys like being around each other. That’s the fun part of it because it is a real tight-knit fraternity. It’s not easy what they do. It’s not easy what I do, but we do have fun doing it together because we’re all on the same page.”