What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Although it is not really a particularly deep philosophical question, it is a classic paradox. An irresistible force can move any object. An immovable object cannot be moved. Hmm. Makes a person think.
Perhaps a more fitting question heading into Sunday’s matchup with the 49ers would be; What happens when a conservatively-moving-force (force might be an overstatement) meets an immovable object? Of course I am referring to the St. Louis Rams offense going up against the San Francisco 49ers defense, particularly their daunted run defense.
Let us take a closer look at the “force” and object in question
First is a comparison the offense and defense for the Rams and the 49ers.
Next is a comparison of the Rams offense and the 49ers defense
This game did not seem as daunting when the schedule came out last spring. The 49ers were coming off a 6-10 campaign in 2010 that got coach Mike Singletary fired 15 games into what was San Francisco’s eighth straight non-winning season. Heck, if anything most of us expected the schedule to get easier as the season moved on. Especially heading into division play.
But heading into December, the 49ers are in the thick of the playoff race. San Francisco, in fact, is planning to make Sunday’s game against the visiting Rams a clinching party in Candlestick Park. A 49ers victory gives them their first NFC West title since 2002, so there will be no letting up on their old West Coast rivals. Increasing the level of difficulty for the Rams is that the 49ers will be well-rested, with a couple of extra days off following their loss in the Harbaugh Bowl last Thursday.
After scoring more than 16 points for only the second time this season, the Rams are next-to-last in points scored in the NFL with 140, just two more than Jacksonville. And they are 29th in total offense, which ranks teams according to yards gained.
The 49ers are ranked seventh in total defense and first in scoring defense. So if the Rams are having trouble moving the ball and scoring against the likes of the Cardinals and Seahawks, how are they going to gain a first down against San Francisco?