St. Louis and San Francisco look to end their early season struggles when the Rams visit the winless Niners.
St. Louis dropped to 1-2 with a 28-25 overtime loss to New Orleans last week, while San Francisco fell to 0-3 with a 34-0 defeat to unbeaten Seattle.
The Rams are 1-2 for the second straight season, but the Niners are winless after three games for just the second time since 1979.
St. Louis turned things around after its poor start in 2003 by winning 11 of its last 13 to finish first in the NFC West, and has a good chance to recover from this sub-par beginning.
San Francisco, however, could be in for a long season.
The Rams, as expected, have a strong offense led by Marc Bulger, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk. Bulger is third in the NFC with 915 passing yards, Bruce leads the NFL in catches (25) and yards (348), and Faulk is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has caught 15 passes.
St. Louis, however, has had problems with penalties and turnovers, and has been particularly vulnerable against the run.
The Rams are 30th in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 164.7 yards per game. They had 12 penalties for 85 yards against the Saints last week, including five false starts and four on special teams.
“I don’t think we are floundering,” guard Adam Timmerman said. “We are making mistakes, one here and one there and it adds up. All 11 guys have to function whether it is offense, defense or special teams to do a job. We are a team and we have to stick together right now.”
After leading the NFL with 46 takeaways last year, the Rams are the only team in the league that has not created a single turnover. Every other club has at least two.
“It’s frustrating because it is part of our identity and that is something that we took a lot of pride in last year,” strong safety Adam Archuleta said. “I don’t know exactly why, or why not it’s happening, but we need to figure it out.”
San Francisco needs to figure out what to do on offense.
The blanking by Seattle ended the Niners’ streak of 420 regular-season games without being shut out, dating to a 7-0 loss to Atlanta on Oct. 9, 1977.
San Francisco is in the bottom third of the NFL in total offense, and its quarterback hadn’t taken a snap in his professional career before this season.
”(I) just kept pressing, trying to do something, and that’s not the way the offense works,” Dorsey said. “There’s a lot of pride in this locker room, and to go out and perform like that, I can’t accept it of myself. I’ve got to get better.”
Rattay returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to start Sunday. He threw on the sidelines before the game in Seattle, and he believe his shoulder is improving every day.
He had no soreness Thursday and looked strong leading the offense in team drills.
“It felt great today,” Rattay said. “I feel 100 percent. I was fired up that it wasn’t sore and I felt like I was throwing a lot harder and had a lot of zip. The ball is popping out of there like it used to.”
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