The St. Louis Rams come to town Sunday, fresh from shellacking Indianapolis 38-8 and Chicago 42-21. Goodness. These fellows don’t seem to be the same team the 49ers mauled 35-11 back in September.
The biggest change has been the emergence of Rams rookie Tavon Austin. In his past two games, Austin has touchdowns of 98, 81, 65 and 57 yards. A punt return, two pass plays, and a running play. It would behoove our boys to keep an eye on this speedy little squirt.
Technically, the Rams are a losing team (5-6), so the 49ers should beat them. But they were a losing team last year, too, and the Niners couldn’t beat them at home or in the away game. And, if the Rams beat the 49ers, they won’t technically be a losing team any more, which means the Niners would have lost another game against a team with a non-losing record, which has been the motif this year, so a loss could seem inevitable if you wanted to get a Black Friday sort of spirit running amok in your soul.
It’s pretty for sure almost a certainty that Michael Crabtree will return to action Sunday. This will at last enable us to eliminate one of the three theories of why the team’s offense has been a turkey this year. There’s the Roman Sucks theory, which posits that OC Greg Roman called good plays his first two years, but has called bad plays this year. Then there’s the Kaepernick Sucks theory, which posits that QB Colin Kaepernick played good last year, but has played bad this year. And finally, there’s the Our Horses Are Missing theory, which blames the poor offense on not having our Number One and Number Two wide receivers this year.
I’m a Horse guy on this one, probably from growing up where there weren’t any and overrating how wonderful life would be if there were some. There’s also a slim chance that this has actually been the problem, and not just a figment of my imagination. Seeing what happened to Indianapolis after their numero uno, Reggie Wayne, went down really put the nail in the head for me on this theory.
WR number two, Mario Manningham, returned to duty a couple of games ago, and it seemed that the offense perked up a little, along with the play calling and the quarterback effectiveness. The perk wasn’t big enough to be definitive, though.
But, when Crabtree takes the field Sunday, all bets are off on the Horse Theory. The offense is either going to look solid or still look relatively similar to a backyard turd. I.E., either Roman and Kaepernick remain on the theory griddle, or everything is beautiful — in its own way. Got horses, got play caller, got QB, vrooooooooommm!
At any rate, there’s five games left in the season. The 49ers need to go about 4-1 to guarantee a spot in the playoffs and give us blogalunatics the illusion the team can challenge for the big prize come January. 3-2 might get us in, if one of the wins is against Arizona, but it also wouldn’t inspire much confidence the team will be the last one standing come February.
Okay, I’m all pumped up for Sunday. Even if the game is against the mere dickwad Rams. Go Niners! Gallop down the home stretch like champions!