Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch: Rams at 49ers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

7 Things to Watch: Rams at 49ers

Article excerpt

Post-Dispatch football writer Jim Thomas wraps up his 21st season of previewing St. Louis Rams games with a look at Sunday's Rams- 49ers contest:

'NINERS RUNNING ON EMPTY

Man, do the 49ers miss departed running back Frank Gore. The talented, but injury-prone Carlos Hyde made it through only seven games before a foot problem ended his season. Veteran Reggie Bush suffered a season-ending knee injury while stumbling out of bounds on the concrete edges of the Edward Jones Dome surface, in St. Louis, on Nov. 1. The 'Niners, who managed only 38 yards on 21 carries in that meeting with the Rams, will trot out some combination of former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne, retread DeJuan Harris, and rookie Kendall Gaskins.

ANQUAN THE GREAT

Anquan Boldin missed the first 49ers-Rams contest because of a hamstring injury but is to be on the field Sunday, one week after becoming the 13th player in NFL history with 1,000 career catches. He's as tough and physical as they come at wide receiver and even with his skills starting to diminish at age 35, the Rams can't afford to take him lightly. The 'Niners' other top wideout, former Raven Torrey Smith, told Bay Area reporters recently that his 2015 season has been "terrible." But his 602 yards receiving would lead the Rams, and his 21.5 yards per catch leads the league.

LIFE WITHOUT DAVIS

The day after the 27-6 loss to the Rams in what was Game 8 for the 49ers, the team traded veteran tight end Vernon Davis to Denver. Over the years, Davis has had some moments vs. the Rams, including five TD catches and a 118-yard game in 2011. So the Rams won't miss his big frame running down the seam or in the red zone. His replacement, third-year man Vance McDonald, is coming off one of the most productive games of his young career five catches for 61 yards and a TD vs. Detroit but is nothing special.

GABBERT AT QB

QB Blaine Gabbert, the pride of Parkway West High and the University of Missouri, makes his eighth start for the 49ers in place of Colin Kaepernick. …

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