By Kevin McGuire
The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers each get a short week to try and brush off a loss from Sunday as they prepare for an NFC West battle on Thursday night by the bay. The Rams appear to be improving with their offense in 2017, while the 49ers are in a serious struggle to reach the end zone. Can San Francisco end their touchdown drought to start the year and get a win in division play? Or will the Rams get out of northern California with a winning record?
Do the Rams have the best offense in the NFC West?
So far, the answer is yes. The Rams have already put 66 points on the scoreboard in the first two games of the season. The rest of the NFC West has combined for 72 points. The 49ers have contributed just 12 points to that total, with kicker Robbie Gould doing the honors with four field goals. The 49ers offense was expected to be a long way from being competitive, but not being able to score a touchdown until Week 3 at the earliest is proof this offense is in desperate need of players in skill positions. The Rams put up 46 points in their season opener against the Colts and scored 20 points on Sunday against Washington. It took the Rams until Week 5 to hit at least 66 points scored last season.
Rams optimistic about Aaron Donald
As expected, the Rams activated Aaron Donald from the exempt list before last week’s game against Washington. Though he played limited snaps following a preseason hold-out, Rams head coach Sean McVay has suggested Donald should be good to go for a heavier workload on Thursday night. If Donald is at full speed, he can be disruptive on the line of scrimmage and slow down any attempt to run the football the 49ers may try with Carlos Hyde.
49ers without safety Eric Reid
The 49ers were given some good and bad news about safety Eric Reid following Sunday’s game against Seattle. On the one hand, Reid will not require surgery on his injured left knee. On the other hand, he will need time to get his knee in game shape, and that means he will be out of action for Thursday night. It is unknown how much time Reid will miss, but his absence will make defending the pass more difficult for San Francisco against Jared Goff and the Rams. The 49ers will continue using Jimmie Ward in Reid’s absence.
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, a first-round draft pick, is working his way back from an ankle injury as well.