The St. Louis Rams left shorthanded after a second straight victory in Week 12 due to three players suffering concussions. Thankfully Chris Williams, Trumaine Johnson, and Zac Stacy have been cleared to play for Sunday’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. While Williams’ rating at LG this season has been poor at -10.6 according to profootballfocus.com, he is about the only player the Rams have at the position. The 49ers will be looking to take advantage of him with blitzes from the ILBs and the formidable Aldon Smith coming off of twists to attack the weakest point of the Rams’ O-line.
The Rams’ secondary will need all of the help they can get from Trumaine Johnson against Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Johnson has started most of the season after Cortland Finnegan‘s struggles and injuries forced him into the starting lineup. Brandon McGee took over for Johnson after he was injured trying to make a tackle taking the brunt of the force with his head. McGee struggled mightily picking up three penalties that could have put the Rams’ win in jeopardy. Johnson could only recall seeing the Rams head athletic trainer attending to him on the field and not the actual play itself, admitting that it was a scary moment for the second-year player. Johnson has been improving each week and making fewer mistakes. A healthy Johnson could prove to be a difference maker against the 49ers’ duo of strong receivers utilizing his ball skills to force a turnover. It is looking as though McGee will be out for the game on Sunday after suffering a foot injury.
Zac Stacy returned to practice late this week which is the norm for the Rams’ standout rookie. He has often returned to practice on Wednesdays this season. A lot of that has to do with his powerful running style that punishes any defender that gets in his way. If there was ever a player that the Rams offense needed, Stacy is it. Benny Cunningham did well picking up 109 yards last week in what was his breakout performance, but Stacy has proven himself to be the workhorse of the offense. With Stacy returning the Rams won’t have to use Isaiah Pead in the backfield which is a good thing for St. Louis as they have seemingly lost faith in the second-year RB. The Rams are going to need Stacy and Cunningham to do the grunt work for the offense and control the ball. Wearing down one of the most feared defenses in the league is the only way that St. Louis will survive this tough rematch from Week 4.