Monday Night Football Opens Season with Rams vs. 49ers

Thursday, September 08, 2016 Written by 
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Los Angeles Kicks Off 2016 Campaign at San Francisco The Rams kickoff their 50th season in Los Angeles on the road as they square off against NFC West foe, San Francisco 49ers. The Rams posted a 7-9 record during the 2015 campaign and finished third in the NFC West. The 49ers went 5-11 and finished fourth in the division a season ago. The Rams and 49ers split the 2015 series, as each team captured wins on their home field.


The Rams posted a 27-6 win over San Francisco at home a season ago behind a 133-yard showing from RB Todd Gurley in a Week 8 contest. San Francisco snapped the Rams three-game winning streak with a Week 17 overtime win, 19-16, to end the 2015 campaign at Levi’s stadium. The Rams franchise is 40-38 alltime in season openers, while Los Angeles Head Coach Jeff Fisher is 12-8 in his Week 1 match-ups. Fisher’s 12 wins in season openers is the second-highest total among active coaches, trailing only Bill Belichick, who has 14 Week 1 victories. The 49ers are the Rams most frequented opponent historically with San Francisco holding a 66-64-3 advantage over Los Angeles in a series dating back to the 1950 season.


Leading the Way Rams rookie RB Todd Gurley needed one game to get his feet under him in 2015. After that, he was among the most productive offensive players in the NFL in 2015. Gurley gained just nine yards on six carries in his NFL debut in Week 3. Then he took off and took the league by storm. With 1,106 rushing yards, Gurley led all rookies and ranked third among all players in 2015 in the category. His final total is the third highest by a rookie in franchise history. Gurley’s 10 rushing touchdowns tied for the fifth most in the NFL last season. All that came despite the fact that Gurley played in just 13 games. He missed the first two as he continued to recover from a knee injury suffered during his senior year of college, and he was inactive for Week 17 due to a toe injury. Finishing Moves Gurley was at his best when the Rams needed him most.


In the team’s Week 16 win at Seattle, Gurley rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Rams put away the Seahawks. He gained 42 yards and a touchdown in the final quarter of a Week 14 win over Detroit. In the Rams’ Week 4 win at Arizona, Gurley ran nine times for 106 yards in the fourth quarter with runs of 52, 30 and 20 yards. His 106 rushing yards were the most in the fourth quarter by a Rams player since Eric Dickerson’s 124 on Nov. 25, 1984. His total was the most by a Ram in any quarter since Marshall Faulk posted 143 in the first quarter of a contest on Nov. 11, 2001. Despite missing three weeks due to injuries, Gurley finished second among NFL running backs in fourth quarter rushing.


A Case for the Job Coach Fisher announced at his season-ending press conference that Case Keenum will enter the offseason as the team’s 2016 starting quarterback after posting a 3-2 record in 2015. Keenum completed 60.8 percent of his passes and threw four touch Week downs and just one interception. He was sacked just four times in five starts. Over his last seven starts, Keenum is 5-2. After the Rams dropped Keenum’s first start with the franchise—a Week 11 contest in Baltimore—the Texas native led the team to consecutive wins over Detroit, Tampa Bay and Seattle before falling to San Francisco in the finale. He started the final two games of the 2014 campaign for Houston and won both contests— home games over Baltimore and Jacksonville. Keenum was particularly impressive in the win over Tampa Bay as he recorded single-game career highs in completion percentage (82.4) and passer rating (158.0) while tossing a pair of touchdown passes, including a 60-yarder to WR Kenny Britt, under the play calling of then-interim offensive coordinator Rob Boras. A University of Houston alum, Keenum spent his first two NFL seasons with the team that shares his college town. He was released at the end of training camp last year and the Rams claimed him off waivers. He spent seven weeks on the team’s practice squad before injuries at the quarterback position opened the door for a return to the Texans to complete the 2014 season. The Rams traded a seventh-round pick to the Texans to re-acquire him during the 2015 offseason. In college, Keenum set NCAA records for career passing yards (18,312), touchdown passes (150) and completions (1,460).


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