St. Louis – The St. Louis Rams expect to see healthy San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, for his first game this season. In his previous four games against the Rams he has 353 receiving yards and four touchdowns. A tear in his right Achilles tendon has sidelined him since May 21.
Rams defensive coordinator Tim Walton said he has prepared this week to try to limit Crabtree on third downs and other critical situations. All 14 49ers’ touchdown receptions this season have been made by either tight end Vernon Davis or wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
“They have two good players in Boldin and Davis that you have to be accounted for,” Walton said. “So it’s always tough when you have two instead of one to worry about.”
In the Rams and 49ers first game this season the San Francisco defensive line was often in the Rams backfield in the Rams 35-11 loss on Sept 26. He was hit eight times and threw both a touchdown and interception on 202 passing yards. The Rams running offense was held to 18 yards, a season low for St. Louis.
Running back Zac Stacy is expected to return for the Rams. He left last Sunday’s game against Chicago in the third quarter due to concussion-like symptoms. Backup RB Benny Cunningham carried the offense with 109 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer started to talk about Cunningham but first said ‘wow’.
“(Cunningham) has a great grasp of what we’re doing both from a run game and a pass protection standpoint,” Schottenheimer said. “That’s the biggest concern when you’re playing young backs normally is the backs in pass protection and all these young guys have a great feel for it. So, we don’t miss a beat with that and he’s doing a nice job.”
He said the philosophy the Rams are taking each game is to have the offensive touches, completions and number of runs, exceed 50. He said in his football experience, 50 or more usually equaled a win. In the Rams five wins, only twice have they totaled 50 or more offensive touches. The 5-6 Rams average just over 46 offensive touches per game.
Rams corner back Cortland Finnegan will not play this week again due to his unknown eye injury. Walton said his group of young corner backs is a very athletic combination. The remaining three corners on the roster Janoris Jenkings, Trumaine Johnson and Brandon McGee, rookie, have four years of NFL experience between them.
“They’re cleaning up mistakes that we had in the previous game,” Walton said. “That’s what you look for, continued improvement. They have fun together. We look to try to finish up real strong with those guys.