Biggest keys to Rams-49ers Thursday night matchup
Matt Maiocco's keys to the game
The 49ers continue their quest for the first victory of the Kyle Shanahan era on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams. Even Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly had success against the Rams.
In fact, in their past 22 games under Tomsula, Kelly and Shanahan, the 49ers are 3-0 against the Rams and 0-19 against every other team.
In order for the 49ers (0-2) to break through into the win column, here are some of the keys against the Rams (1-1).
Containing Aaron Donald
Donald is one of the top defensive linemen in the business. He was a holdout through training camp, in hopes of becoming paid like one of the top defensive linemen in the business.
Donald will match up against the interior of the 49ers’ offensive line: guards Brandon Fusco and Laken Tomlinson, and center Daniel Kilgore. The 49ers will have to be able to create some running lanes for Carlos Hyde to maintain much-needed balance on offense.
Pressure on Goff
Through two games, Jared Goff has appeared to benefit greatly from the arrival of Sean McVay as head coach. Goff is off to a good start, taking advantage of good protection, a strong running game with Todd Gurley, and improved weapons in the passing game.
The 49ers can disrupt the top overall pick of the 2016 draft with a solid pass rush and putting some hits on him. The 49ers might not have a dominant pass rusher, so they’ll need to see something from a number of different options, including Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch.
Will Hoyer answer the bell?
It was apparent from his first pass attempt on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks that 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer was off his game. As it turned out, he threw for just 99 yards to complete the worst back-to-back starts of his NFL career.
Hoyer did not fail to throw for more than 300 yards in his four full games last season. He has yet to break the 200-yard mark as the 49ers’ starter. He must spread the ball around to Pierre Garçon, Carlos Hyde, Kyle Juszczyk and the tight ends. And deep threat Marquise Goodwin must hold onto the ball because he should have some opportunities to get deep off play-action passes.