Five reasons 49ers will bounce back to beat rival Rams in Week 4 clash

Five reasons 49ers will beat rival Rams in Week 4 clash originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Three weeks into the 2022 NFL season, and the sky isn't falling for the 49ers just yet.

Should San Francisco (1-2) be undefeated heading into its Week 4 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on "Monday Night Football" at Levi's Stadium? Sure. Is it cause for concern? Not yet.

After losing to a lowly Chicago Bears team in Week 1, beating a transitioning Seattle Seahawks squad in Week 2 and losing a heartbreaker to a disappointing Denver Broncos team in Week 3, the 49ers will face their toughest test yet against their NFC West arch rivals.

Here are five reasons why the 49ers will bounce back with a win over the Rams on Monday night.

Humiliation motivates

I believe the overwhelming consensus is that the 49ers' offense could not have looked worse against Denver last Sunday night. Just laughably bad. But that means it's only uphill from here.

So what will that ugly display of football and a week-plus of wound-licking lead to? Well, certainly a bruised ego at the very least. It remains to be seen to what extent, but the product on the field will be better. The offense will learn from some of their mistakes, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will have another week to re-familiarize himself with the same offense he's been in for four-and-a-half seasons and Kyle Shanahan will pull out all the tricks against his friend and rival Sean McVay.

The 49ers are extremely fortunate to have an elite defense because it means the offense doesn't have to put up monster numbers in order to win games. With Garoppolo likely to be under pressure quite a bit in this game, expect a run-heavy game script and a fairly safe passing attack that primarily will focus on getting "YAC Bros" Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk the ball in space as quickly as possible.

Misery loves company

Worried about the 49ers' offensive line with Trent Williams out? You can also take solace in the fact that Los Angeles will be short-handed up front on offense.

With center Brian Allen and left guard David Edwards ruled out for Monday's game, the Rams will have two new guards on the offensive line, with right guard Coleman Shelton sliding over to center.

Safe to say it's going to be a busy day for Garoppolo and Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, neither of which has been all that impressive so far this season.

In addition to the pressure the 49ers will bring off the edge in Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam, both Javon Kinlaw (knee) and Arik Armstead (foot) returned to practice on Saturday. If both play on Monday night, the 49ers will have a full arsenal of pass rushers to deploy against what could be a shaky Los Angeles offensive line.

Taking advantage of a one-dimensional offense

The 49ers are all-too-familiar with what the Rams can do through the air with All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp. After Los Angeles placed receiver Van Jefferson on Injured Reserve last week, the Rams' passing game mostly consists of Kupp, wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Tyler Higbee, a familiar face who has tormented the 49ers over the years.

On the ground, the Rams have been pretty terrible. Through three games, Los Angeles ranks among the bottom five in the league in yards rushing (217), attempts (64) and yards-per-carry (3.4). The highly-anticipated running back committee of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson hasn't been very impressive and now they face off against a 49ers defense that is stout against the run and has surrendered the fourth-fewest yards rushing (236) and at the second-lowest clip (2.8 YPC) in the league. Best of luck.

All the way (wide) back

Before the 49ers' crushing loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game last season, San Francisco had won six straight games against its division rival. One player who was a huge factor in most of those matchups was Samuel.

Samuel famously debuted his "wide back" role in San Francisco's 31-10 win over the Rams in Week 5 last season where he recorded five receptions for 97 yards receiving and a touchdown with five carries for 36 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.

When the two teams met again in Week 18, Samuel put up an eerily similar stat line. He caught four passes for 95 yards receiving and carried the ball eight times for 45 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.

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After Samuel had requested a trade in the offseason, his usage as a "wide back" was rumored to be one of the reasons for his frustrations with the team. That ultimately was not true and Samuel reprised his role in 2022. The 49ers would be smart to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.

Home cookin'

Levi's Stadium has started to develop a personality of its own over the last few years. It offers nowhere near the home-field advantage that other venues around the league do, but it gets the job done and should be rowdy for a prime-time matchup with a hated rival on Monday night.

If the 49ers get off to a hot start, the Faithful certainly will be rowdy. But, regardless, it should be a fun one.

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