What’s worse than getting absolutely hammered 31-7 in a virtual no-show on both sides of the ball on a Sunday in the NFL? That’s right, getting to turn around and do it all over again in four short days against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
Such is the case for the St. Louis Rams who were utterly embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys in a Week 3 trouncing where the offense had a grand total of 18 yards at halftime. What made the outing even worse was that the defense was just as thoroughly dominated with Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray running wild with 26 carries for a ridiculous 175 yards on the ground.
So now the Rams are forced to regroup on a short week to play the 49ers who have to be steaming coming off of their second consecutive embarrassing defeat. Even though the Niners have scored just three and seven points in back-to-back games, respectively, the Rams know just how dynamic the 49ers offense is. Heck, just go back to Week 1 and ask the Green Bay Packers who were torched for 412 yards through the air by Colin Kaepernick and surrendered 494 yards in total to San Fran to start their season.
With an offense that has been anemic to start two consecutive weeks and a defense that can’t seem to stop anything, how can the Rams possibly matchup against the 49ers?
It all comes down to one word really: Familiarity.
That single word breeds contempt and a certain level of respect between these Week 4 opponents, but it also favors the Rams in this case considering their success against the Niners a year ago with a 1-0-1 record. While it could be argued that the Rams experienced the infancy of Kaepernick in their two meetings a year ago, it is important to remember that they were actually the reason for the now starting quarterback in San Fran getting the gig. The Rams knocked former starter Alex Smith out of the game with a concussion that opened up the door for Kaepernick to take the league by storm.
A struggling San Francisco team coached by Jim Harbaugh is sure to be hungry for a win on a two-game losing streak. The Rams have experienced a two-game skid of their own by a similarly lopsided margin as the 49ers have been outscored 56 to 10 in the past two games while coach Jeff Fisher‘s Rams have been drubbed by a total of 62 to 31. Neither team has been all that competitive in their past two games placing even more emphasis on their Week 4 in getting back to .500.
It may be a little too early to start throwing around the term “must-win”, but this game is a definite “must-improve” for both squads. The climb from 1-3 would be difficult to envision making the postseason in the cutthroat NFC. Look for these two struggling sides to give it their all on Thursday night to avoid testing that theory.