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First Look: Rams travel to 49ers to kick off divisional play on Sunday Night Football

After sweeping the NFC East, the Rams (4-1) now shift their attention to the start of divisional play in primetime with a Sunday Night Football showdown at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. Kickoff from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. pacific time on NBC.

In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-49ers on Oct. 18, including notable 49ers additions, some of San Francisco's top statistical performers in Week 5 and key storylines:

Notable 49ers additions

  • Traded a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round pick to Washington for offensive tackle Trent Williams in April. A seven-time Pro Bowler with Washington, Williams appeared to be acquired as San Francisco's left tackle successor to Joe Staley, a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection who announced his retirement shortly after the trade was announced after 12 seasons holding down that spot. Williams has started at left tackle in every game for the 49ers so far.
  • Drafted former Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk 25th overall. One of two first round selections by the 49ers earlier this year, Aiyuk missed their season-opener against the Cardinals but added a dynamic athlete to their offense once he got healthy. He's tied for third on the team in targets and has the third-most receiving yards (153) behind wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (227) and tight end George Kittle (271).

Top Performers in Week 5

QB C.J. Beathard completed 9 of 18 pass attempts for 94 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers' 43-17 Week 5 loss to the Miami Dolphins, also losing a fumble. He replaced starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 7 of 17 passes for 77 yards with two interceptions and was benched at the start of the third quarter. It was Garoppolo's first game back from a high right ankle sprain which forced him to miss the previous two weeks.

RB Raheem Mostert, who sustained a knee injury Week 2, tallied 11 carries for 90 yards (both team-highs) plus three receptions for 29 yards in his return to action. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk accounted for the team's lone rushing touchdown.

Aiyuk and Kittle tied for the team lead in receiving yards with 44 each, but Kittle led the 49ers in catches (4) with Aiyuk coming in second (3). Bourne (two receptions for 30 yards) was on the receiving end of Beathard's touchdown.

Linebacker Fred Warner paced San Francisco's defense with 11 total tackles.

On special teams, kicker Robbie Gould made his lone field goal attempt (37 yards) and both of his extra point attempts.

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

The 49ers have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season on both offense and defense, no doubt playing a partial role in their perceived slow start.

However, Rams head coach Sean McVay isn't letting that perception influence his outlook on Sunday's game.

"This is the reigning NFC champs, reigning division champs," McVay said during his weekly Monday evening video conference, emphasizing that he anticipates Los Angeles will get San Francisco's best shot on Sunday no matter who is or isn't available.

Statistically, it's not difficult to see why.

Despite playing without their two best defensive linemen – Dee Ford, who is on injured reserve with a back injury, and Nick Bosa, who sustained a season-ending torn ACL in Week 2 – the 49ers have the No. 5 total defense in the NFL, allowing the 11th-fewest rushing yards and third-fewest passing yards so far. They were also top five in total defense and pass defense last year, and ranked 17th against the run.

While it's been a different story offensively – 21st in total offense this year after finishing fourth at the end of the 2019 regular season – the effectiveness of Kittle, Aiyuk, Garoppolo, Mostert and wide receiver Deebo Samuel as they continue to get healthy cannot be underestimated.

For further evidence the 49ers shouldn't be overlooked, besides the fact that this is a divisional game: The Rams have the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL, the 49ers No. 3; the Rams have the No. 10 rushing defense in the NFL, the 49ers No. 11.

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