Breaking down how the Rams (2-1) and the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) match up heading into their game at 5:15 p.m. PDT on Monday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The game will be shown on ABC and ESPN and streamed on ESPN+ and NFL+.
When Rams have the ball: The Rams’ offense remains in search of a breakthrough performance. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has passed for four touchdowns, with five interceptions, but Stafford did not commit a turnover in a 20-12 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. He also did not pass for a touchdown — the first time he has been shut out since joining the Rams last season. Starting left guard David Edwards is out because of a concussion, so Bobby Evans will step in for a line that will feature a fourth starting group in four games. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year, has 28 catches, three for touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown against the Cardinals. New addition Allen Robinson has yet to establish himself. He has only seven receptions and let a certain touchdown pass slip between his hands against Arizona. Running back Cam Akers appeared on the verge of a breakthrough game against the Cardinals until he fumbled at the goal line. End Nick Bosa has four sacks, and linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner are among the other top players for a 49ers defense that ranks second overall in the NFL. End Arik Armstead and tackle Javon Kinlaw are questionable because of injuries.
When 49ers have the ball: This will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s second start in place of the injured Trey Lance, and it can only get better for the ninth-year pro. Garoppolo accidentally stepped out of the end zone for a safety in last Sunday’s 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, but he has enjoyed success against the Rams, getting the ball out quickly to avoid a rush led by Aaron Donald. Versatile Deebo Samuel has hurt the Rams as a running back, receiver and passer. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr., fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle are other weapons along with wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings. The 49ers will be without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who suffered an ankle injury against Denver. Donald and inside linebackers Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones lead a front that must neutralize the 49ers’ rushing attack. Outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley probably will play more behind edge rusher Leonard Floyd. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is the key player in a secondary that will have safety Jordan Fuller returning. Rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick, who was in the concussion protocol after the game against Arizona, is set to make his second start.
When they kick: Rams defensive lineman Michael Hoecht blocked a punt against the Cardinals. Kicker Matt Gay has made all four of his field-goal attempts, and Riley Dixon has averaged 35.4 net yards per punt. Robbie Gould has made four of five field-goal attempts for the 49ers. Mitch Wishnowsky has averaged 43.3 net yards per punt.
Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams have not defeated the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium since 2018. Garoppolo still is playing into game shape, however. The Rams will end their struggles in Santa Clara.
RAMS 23, 49ERS 20