Pro Bowl left guard Mike Iupati was already out with a sprained MCL. Then early in Sunday’s game, Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley went down with a knee injury and just like that the San Francisco 49ers were fresh out of Pro Bowl offensive linemen.
The 49ers survived it on Sunday, beating the St. Louis Rams 23-13 with right guard Alex Boone sliding over to left tackle and backup Joe Looney replacing Boone at right guard. That was in addition to reserve Adam Snyder already starting in place of Iupati.
CSNBayArea.com reported Monday that Looney also had a sprained MCL and would miss a couple of games at a minimum.
Colin Kaepernick had his second straight strong day passing the ball, going 19-for-28 for 275 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked four times, bringing the season total to 30 times he’s gone down.
And San Francisco struggled mightily, again, to get a running game going. Frank Gore carried 15 times for just 42 yards and a touchdown and the 49ers finished with 83 yards on 30 attempts, a less-than-stellar 2.8 yards per carry.
The Seadderall … ahem … Seattle Seahawks invade Candlestick Park on Sunday, bringing with them a run defense that goes into tonight’s game against the New Orleans Saints ranked 16th in the NFL, allowing 112.9 rushing yards per game and tied for 18th allowing 4.2 yards per carry.
The Seahawks are tied for 12th in the league heading into tonight with 33 sacks and their pass defense is No. 1 in the NFL at 180.4 yards per game (before they face Drew Brees, of course).
It’s a difficult defense to face at full strength, something the 49ers simply have not been all season. Just when the receiving corps gets healthy, the offensive line starts breaking down.
Boone was a left tackle in college at Ohio State before moving to guard in the NFL, so he’s familiar with the job and did hold Rams defensive end Robert Quinn—second in the NFL with 13 sacks—without a quarterback sack on Sunday.
Looney is a bit of an unknown commodity. But he didn’t allow a quarterback pressure on Sunday, a positive sign.
The game Sunday is something of a last stand for San Francisco’s defense of its back-to-back NFC West titles. The 49ers, at 8-4, are 2½ games behind the 10-1 Seahawks before Seattle’s Monday night game and a third straight division title is something of a long shot, at best.
But the 49ers hold a one-game lead over the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles for the second wild-card spot in the NFC, so the game against the Seahawks is important for more than just divisional standings.