Rams, Minus Several Starters, To Face 49ers

By City News Service

  The Los Angeles Rams will face the San Francisco 49ers today at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with quarterback Jared Goff and at least four other starters being given the day off by coach Sean McVay.

Running back Todd Gurley and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, both Pro Bowl selections, center John Sullivan and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth also won’t play in the regular-season finale for both teams, McVay said, to avoid the possibility of injuries and to give them rest in advance of next weekend’s wild-card round playoff game.

When asked how much Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods – the team’s three leading receivers behind Gurley – would play, McVay responded, “I don’t think you’ll expect to see them too much.”

Running back Todd Gurley will be among L.A. Rams starting players sitting out today's game. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Running back Todd Gurley will be among L.A. Rams starting players sitting out today’s game. (Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Goff said he agreed “with the decision on our coaching staff’s part to get some guys rest and get some guys healthy.”

Sean Mannion will start in place of Goff. The start will be the first of his three-season NFL career, where he has thrown 16 passes, completing 11.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity for him,” offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said. “The expectation level that we have (is) no different than when Jared’s in. Expect good things.”

The Rams (11-4) are assured of either being seeded third or fourth in the NFC for the playoffs. The third and fourth seeds both play home games in the wild card round and road games in the divisional round. The only way for either the third or fourth seed to be the host team for the NFC championship game would be for both the top two teams lose in the divisional round.

The 49ers (5-10) have won all four of their games since Jimmy Garoppolo became their starting quarterback on Dec. 3.

“We won his first game in there in Chicago and I think it gave the guys some energy and some confidence and we’ve gotten a little better each week since then,” said San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan, whose team lost to the Rams, 41-39, on Sept. 21

“I think our team has gotten healthier too than we were at the mid-point of the year, so that was good timing. Jimmy has played great, but the guys around him have been playing as good in this last month as they have all year.”

The Rams will wear their royal blue and gold throwback uniforms. An online fan vote in May selected this game over those played Sept. 10 against the Indianapolis Colts, Oct. 8 against the Seattle Seahawks and Nov. 26 game against the New Orleans Saints to wear the uniforms worn by the team from 1973-99.

NFL rules limit teams to wearing throwback uniforms to two home games per season. The Rams also wore the uniforms in the 16-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Oct. 8. They are 1-2 since returning to Southern California in 2016 when wearing throwback uniforms.

The Rams have designated the game as their Live United game in support of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Rams announced a partnership earlier this year to tackle education challenges and poverty in Los Angeles County.

Rams guard Rodger Saffold will be recognized during the pregame ceremony as the Rams nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award which recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.

All team nominees receive a $50,000 donation to their charity of choice and an additional $50,000 donation in their name to expand Character Playbook.

Saffold will present a check for $50,000 to Extra Life, a fundraising and gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Saffold will also present a $50,000 check to United Way of Greater Los Angeles to expand the Character Playbook online educational curriculum that teaches students the skills to cultivate character and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles President & CEO Elise Buik will light the Coliseum’s cauldron, joined by 20 United Way representatives and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Eric Dickerson.

Half of the proceeds of the 50/50 Raffle will benefit United Way of Greater Los Angeles and its efforts to tackle poverty.

“LA Fire Relief” T-shirts co-designed by Rams punter Johnny Hekker and United Way of Greater Los Angeles will be on sale at the team stores located near gates 19 and 28. All proceeds will benefit United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Southern California Wildfire Relief Fund.

Jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips will perform the national anthem.

There will be a pregame flyover by the Condor Squadron’s World War II AT-6 Texan aircraft that were used to train pilots in the art of combat flight.

Former Rams receiver Henry Ellard will be honored during the first timeout of the second quarter as the team’s Alumnus of the Game. Ellard played for the Rams from 1983-93 and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

The 350-member Los Angeles Unified School District All District Honor Marching Band will perform at halftime.

The Rams will pay tribute to Army veteran Daniel Rodriguez, who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, then played for Clemson and four preseasongames with the then-St. Louis-based Rams in 2015.

Rodriguez was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Spencer Mar Guilburt will create a mural on the north side of the Peristyle Arch before the game.






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December 31, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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