The San Francisco 49ers need a win this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams. The team has lost two consecutive games and has been destroyed by injuries on the defense. After losing 44-23 to the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers need to find the momentum they have been missing. This will be the second faceoff between the NFC West Rivals this year and both will push for a victory. Here are three players the 49ers need to step up in order to win.
49ers Need Talanoa Hufanga
49ers safety, Talanoa Hufanga has been a star for this San Francisco team so far this 2022 season. Despite how strong he and the defense have been, they played very poorly against the Chiefs last weekend. Hufanga is a key player that the 49ers need to step up before facing the Rams.
Despite getting a concussion in week six against the Atlanta Falcons, Hufanga has started every game this season. In just seven games, the second-year safety has three interceptions and one touchdown. His touchdown came from the pick-six against the LA Rams in week four. The more turnovers the better and it would be beneficial to the team if Hufanga can get another interception this week.
Hufanga also has six pass deflections, according to Pro Football Reference. This is a significant statistic for Hufanga to increase due to an extensive amount of injuries to San Francisco’s secondary. It will also help not allow opponents to gain too many yards. The safety also has 40 combined tackles, 29 solo, including five tackles for loss and one quarterback hit. The tackles for loss have been his best aid to this team and a significant factor as to why opposing teams have to punt so often. The 49ers need Hufanga to force multiple tackles for loss this weekend to help keep the Rams’ offense off the field
Last weekend, Hufanga forced an interception, thrown by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This built some initial momentum for the defense; however, that did not last long. According to ESPN, Hufanga had four total tackles, two solo, against the Chiefs and one pass deflection. As great of a season that Hufanga has had, he missed many tackles that lead to Kansas City gaining too many yards. It will be crucial for Hufanga to make those tackles that he missed last week, especially with a win against the Rams being what the 49ers need.
49ers Need Jimmy Garoppolo
Whether fans like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or not, he is the starter for the San Francisco 49ers. As long as Garoppolo does not give up any turnovers the 49ers should be okay against the Rams. It is important for the team that Garoppolo stays consistent this weekend against Los Angeles.
This season has been very up and down for Garoppolo. He started on the bench and came in week two with a win. He had a horrible safety against the Broncos and a costly interception against the Chiefs. It is the avoidable mistakes that have been so costly for San Francisco. The 49ers need to beat the Rams this weekend, and fixing the errors will greatly help the team.
According to Pro Football Reference, Garoppolo has completed 119 out of 185 pass attempts for 1,456 yards. He has only thrown four interceptions but they have been costly. There was one interception thrown while playing against the Atlanta Falcons that can be excused. It was the end of the first half when he took a shot downfield to try to get something last second. Garoppolo also only has nine touchdowns this season which will need to get better. With the addition of another star on the roster, there should be no reason for the 49ers not to score more points.
When the 49ers played against the Chiefs in week seven, Garoppolo completed 25 out of 37 passes for 303 yards according to ESPN. He threw one interception where he tried to force a pass to George Kittle, instead of either taking a sack or throwing the ball away. This week against the Rams, his decision-making will have to be better. What turned into a turnover could have been a scoring play on the next down, even if it is just a field goal.
49ers Need Christian McCaffrey
Star running back, Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on October 20th. He flew to Santa Clara on Friday the 21st and still played against the Chiefs the following Sunday. Who was the other team that attempted to make the trade for McCaffrey? The Los Angeles Rams. Head coach, Kyle Shanahan stated on Wednesday that McCaffrey will have the full playbook this weekend against the Rams.
So far McCaffrey has played all seven weeks this season. According to Pro Football Reference, McCaffrey totals 93 carries for 431 yards. He also has 35 receptions for 301 yards. This includes week seven with San Francisco. McCaffrey received many carries with the Carolina Panthers and it should be noted that he may not get as many touches with the 49ers. That could be a good thing for the team, and fantasy people, though. He will be the main running back, but there potentially will be fewer injuries.
The 49ers’ offensive weapons that Garoppolo has are now, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, and Kyle Juszczyk. This does not include Jeff WIlson Jr, who will still get reps at running back, and Elijah Mitchell when he returns from his injury. McCaffrey has been known to get injured every single year. While injuries are a huge issue on the 49ers, McCaffrey will most likely not be hit to the ground as many times as he was in Carolina. The 49ers need to utilize all their weapons and that will help them win more games.
According to ESPN, McCaffrey had only eight carries but for 38 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. His longest rush was for 12 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. McCaffrey also had two receptions for 24 yards. One play we have not seen often this season by the 49ers is a quick pass to the outside. Perhaps with McCaffrey, this will be shown more and the team can focus on yards after the catch. Only eight rushing attempts for being on the team for three days is understandable. Now being there an extended amount of time, McCaffrey is a player to watch while the 49ers need a win against the Rams this weekend
The San Francisco 49ers need a win this weekend and will face off against the LA Rams in SoFi Stadium this Sunday.
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