Why the 49ers will Beat the Los Angeles Rams Sunday Night

Grant Cohn

This is where I usually give five reasons the 49ers will win or lose their upcoming game.

Forget that.

This week, there’s just one reason they will beat the Rams -- they can run the ball and the Rams can’t stop it. The 49ers average 5 yards per carry, and the Rams allow 4.7 yards per carry.

The 49ers absolutely will win if they commit to their run game.

But they haven’t committed to it yet this season. They’ve lost their identity. They were a run-first team in 2019, and this season they’re a pass first team even though their offensive line can’t pass protect, their wide receivers are young and their quarterback is injured. Go figure.

Maybe Kyle Shanahan doesn't want to protect Jimmy Garoppolo anymore. Maybe Shanahan wants to expose him and move on. Who knows?

I’m guessing Kyle Shanahan will rediscover the 49ers run game this week -- the entire country will crush him if he forgets to use it again, this time on National T.V.

But can the 49ers stick to the run game? Will their defense play well enough to allow the offense to keep running the ball?

Hard to say. The Rams have an explosive offense that could score lots of points Sunday night against the 49ers. And if Rams score first, they’ll take the momentum and Shanahan might panic and go bombs-away as he did last week.

The 49ers can’t expect their defense to dominate the Rams offense -- the 49ers defense is too injured. The best place for the 49ers defense in this game will be on the bench. The 49ers have to win with their run game.

So if they win the opening kickoff, they should NOT defer as they almost always do. They should receive the opening kickoff, get the ball first, establish the run game, take an early lead and beat the vastly overrated Rams.

That’s what the 49ers will do on Sunday.

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