Now that the Rams' 2020 schedule is officially out, it's time to resume our offseason opponent breakdowns on theRams.com. Up next is the San Francisco 49ers, who the Rams will travel to in Week 6 and host in Week 12.
Last season was a transformative one for the 49ers. It began with selecting future AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa No. 2 overall in the draft and ended with a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The defending NFC champions also finished with a 13-3 regular season record.
While San Francisco's defense deserves credit for the team's turnaround – it held opposing offenses to the second-fewest total yards per game – its run game also played an important role. The 49ers produced the No. 2 rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 144.1 yards per game on the ground.
A healthy Jimmy Garoppolo starting at quarterback also provided stability. After a season-ending torn ACL limited him to just three games in 2018, Garoppolo did not miss a single contest – regular season or postseason – in 2019.
There were several.
On defense, the 49ers traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts' first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in this year's draft. Bucker's 7.5 sacks were third-most on the team last season. On Day 1 of the draft, San Francisco then traded back one spot, sending the 13th overall pick and 244th overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 14th overall pick and 117th overall pick. The 14th overall pick was used to draft South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
On Day 3 of the draft, the 49ers traded Matt Breida – one of their three runnings backs who rushed for more than 500 yards last season – to the Miami Dolphins for the 153rd overall pick. They also dealt wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and a sixth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Day 3 also included acquiring seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick (156th overall) in this year's draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Pro Bowl left tackle and 13-year veteran Joe Staley retired, two days later, and San Francisco already had his replacement in tow.
Kyle Shanahan enters his fourth season as head coach of the 49ers. Including last year's playoff run, he has compiled a 25-26 overall record through his first three years with the franchise.
What to watch for
Impact of rookies on both teams' offenses
The 49ers had a dominant run game last season and added new, dynamic piece to their passing game for this season in former Arizona State wide receiver pick Brandon Aiyuk.
Meanwhile, the Rams had an explosive passing game last season and added new, dynamic pieces to both their passing game and run game for this season in former Florida State running back Cam Akers and former Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson.
It's difficult to predict what their roles will look like for their respective teams five months out, but all three were selected in the top 60 picks of this year's draft and figure to have at least some impact in the game.