News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 Preview: 49ers at Rams

Dec 24, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) smiles on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers visit the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.

PFFELO Ranking: 24

Coverage by: David Neumann

Matchup: San Francisco 49ers offense vs. Los Angeles Rams defense

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo on deep passes — Jimmy G has carved up opposing defenses up in the short and intermediate areas since taking over as San Francisco’s starting quarterback. On passes traveling 19 yards or less in the air since Week 13, Garoppolo has completed 74.8 percent of his passes (fourth) and averaged 8.9 yards per attempt (first). Perhaps the one thing we have yet to see Garoppolo do over the past four games, however, is to connect on deep throws. When targeting players 20 yards or more downfield, only three of 14 attempts have found their intended target, with two of those completions coming against busted coverages that left players wide open downfield. San Francisco did find some success on deep passes against this Rams defense back in Week 3, completing two of three attempts for 109 yards.
  • WR Marquise Goodwin vs. CB Trumaine Johnson — Goodwin has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Garoppolo’s ascendance over the past month. Pre-Garoppolo, the speedy wideout was used almost exclusively as a deep threat and averaged 1.65 yards per route run, ranking 35th out of 89 qualifying receivers. Goodwin’s game has seemingly evolved with Garoppolo at the helm and he’s up a full yard per route, averaging 2.66 yards per route run over the past four games, the sixth-best figure during that span. Johnson, who should be lining up across from Goodwin for much of this game, has also been playing well of late. During the past three games, Johnson has allowed a lowly 43.8 percent catch rate into his coverage (14th of 128 defenders with at least 10 targets during that span) while breaking up four passes and keeping receivers out of the end zone.
  • 49ers interior linemen vs. DI Ethan Westbrooks — Westbrooks will attempt to fill the void left by Aaron Donald, who will finish his season with 91 total quarterback pressures, 25 more than any other interior defender. Westbrooks has 15 total QB pressures this year on just 154 pass-rush snaps, and he'll attempt for more against a 49ers interior offensive line that has allowed 96 pressures this season, tied for the seventh-most. Had Donald suited up in Week 17, he would have been pushing to become just the second player in the PFF Era to accumulate 100 pressures.

DI Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams

PFFELO Ranking: 6

Coverage by: Mike Cahill

Matchup: Los Angeles Rams offense vs. San Francisco 49ers defense

T Darrell WIlliams Los Angeles Rams

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