The Los Angeles Rams seek to avenge an earlier loss while attempting to remain unbeaten in their new home when they host the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West duel on Sunday afternoon.
Jimmy Garoppolo outgunned Jared Goff and the 49ers dominated time of possession when the defending NFC champs ran off to a 21-6 halftime lead and held on for a 24-16 home win over the Rams in Week 6.
Much has changed since, including the fact that Garoppolo has gone on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain. He threw three touchdown passes in the win, all to receivers who are currently injured (tight end George Kittle), trying to return from an injury (wide receiver Deebo Samuel), or attempting to get reinstated from the COVID-19 list (wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk).
Having lost three in a row and at risk of missing the playoffs one year after they represented the NFC in the Super Bowl against Kansas City, the 49ers (4-6) are coming off a much-needed bye last week.
It wasn't an ordinary bye. The 49ers were locked out of their practice facility all week as nine players had to go on the COVID-19 list.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan admitted earlier this week that his team could not have taken the field for a game had one been scheduled last Sunday.
"We knew we couldn't go any place since we had to get tested each day. It was just weird for guys not to be able to do anything for seven straight days," he noted. "I keep saying maybe it'll work for us because we did need some rest."
Among those who benefited from the time off were Samuel, top running back Raheem Mostert and standout cornerback Richard Sherman. Shanahan hopes to have all three on the field in Los Angeles.
He won't have Garoppolo. Nick Mullens replaced the starter during the club's 37-27 defeat at the hands of Seattle in Week 9 and has subsequently started losses to Green Bay and New Orleans.
While the 49ers were watching, the Rams (7-3) ran their winning streak to two games with a 27-24 win at Tampa Bay under the Monday night spotlight. Los Angeles had beaten Seattle the week before and currently stands tied with the Seahawks (7-3) atop the NFC West.
Defense has been key to the two impressive wins. The Rams recorded six sacks and two interceptions against Seattle's Russell Wilson before limiting Tampa Bay's Tom Brady to just 216 passing yards with two interceptions.
Goff threw for 376 yards and three TDs in his head-to-head with Brady.
"We can be as good as we want to be, honestly," Goff boasted after the win. "We have it all in front of us. We have some division games coming up -- some big ones -- but everything is there for us to take. We have to take it one week at a time and keep playing good ball."
The 49ers have won three straight in the rivalry, including 20-7 in October 2019 when the Rams hosted the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The team has since moved seven miles to the southwest to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, where the Rams have gone 4-0, beating Dallas, the New York Giants, Chicago and Seattle.
--Field Level Media