Game snapshot: 49ers vs. Rams
KICKOFF: Saturday, 12 noon, Central RECORDS: 49ers 2-12, Rams 5-9 SITE: Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: FOX, Curt Menefee, JC Pearson SERIES: 112th meeting. The Rams lead series 58-51-2. Since 1999, the Rams have won 10 of the 13 meetings, including six in a row at home. The 49ers defeated the Rams 28-25 in the season opener at Monster Park on Sept. 11 and are seeking their first series sweep since 1998. 2005 RANKINGS: 49ers: offense 32nd (27th rush, 32nd pass); defense 32nd (24th rush, 32nd pass). Rams: offense 9th (20th rush, 4th pass); defense 30th (29th rush, 27th pass) KEYS TO THE GAME: The 49ers can expect to face an aggressive Rams defense. That has helped St. Louis mask its deficiencies in the secondary in recent games, and the Rams also want to pressure rookie QB Alex Smith. Smith has yet to throw his first career touchdown pass, but rarely has much time to throw behind an offensive line starting two rookies. He needs help from fellow rookie RB Frank Gore, who is likely to get the start with Kevan Barlow struggling with a sore knee. But for San Francisco to have any real shot of winning on the road, it must play very good defense. The Rams have also been struggling with injuries along their offensive line and inconsistent quarterback play with QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) out. RB Steven Jackson has been limited in practice this week by a hip pointer, but is expected the play Sunday. He will likely share the load with Marshall Faulk, but eventually St. Louis will want to attack the league's lowest-rating pass defense. With both teams struggling to punch the ball into the end zone, turnovers and field position created by special teams will play a big role. FAST FACTS: 49ers: K Joe Nedney has accounted for all of the team's scoring in seven of 14 games this season. ... Have been out-gained through the air in 24 consecutive games. Rams: Have won the past six meetings at home by an average of 12.6 points. ... Faulk needs 64 rushing yards to pass Jim Brown (12,312) for eighth-most in NFL history. BY THE NUMBERS: 3-4 - Rams' record at home this season. Entering this year, the Rams were 39-9 at home since 1999. 24 Consecutive games in which the opposition has gained more net yards passing than the 49ers. 2,234 Yards through the air the 49ers have been outgained, 3,886-1,652. QUOTES TO NOTE --- "Could I imagine it? Yes. Did I want to imagine it? No. Is it a nightmare rather than a dream? Probably, but that's the way it is." - 49ers coach Mike Nolan when asked if he could have imagined his club having this much difficulty scoring points. --- "I think he's going to be spectacular. I really do. He's athletic. I think when he has a whole off-season in the weight room with power lifts and getting stronger, I think he's going to be a premier tackle. I really do. To do what he did, coming back from surgery, playing with a cast, going against Jevon Kearse, I was really proud of him." - Interim Rams coach Joe Vitt on RT Alex Barron.
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