After making the Super Bowl and watching new quarterback Colin Kaepernick run all over opposing defenses last season, a 1-2 start to the 2013 NFL football season wasn’t what the San Francsco 49ers had in mind. Being blasted in Week 2 by the Seattle Seahawks was one thing, but to follow it with a Week 3 loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts added insult to injury. Tonight the 49ers head to St. Louis to try and turn it around, but you’ll want to catch the game on TV or watch ESPN Thursday Night Football online free live stream to see if they can actually pull it off.
All things considered, even Colin Kaepernick may want to sit this one out and watch ESPN Thursday Night Football online free live stream, although the Rams’ 26th-ranked defense may actually be just what the doctor ordered. On paper, Kaepernick seems to have started the 49ers season decently, going 53-94 for 689 yards and three touchdowns. The only problem is, 412 of those yards came in the 49ers’ NFL Week 1 victory, and he’s averaged just over a 47% completion percentage and 138.5 yards per game since that time.
Kickoff for tonight’s ESPN Thursday Night Football game is scheduled for 8:25 Eastern / 5:25pm Pacific. Catching the game live is best on TV, though you can also watch ESPN Thursday Night Football online free live stream at the links above or on the NFL Network’s site. It should be pretty apparent early on whether the 49ers and Rams will make a good game of it, or whether the game will delve into “winner of the losers” territory.
Neither team expected to be 1-2 going into their Week 4 game, although the 49ers are probably the most surprised. Just as surprising is how far Kaepernick has fallen on his deep throw attempts. Last season Kaepernick ranked third in completion percentage and yards per attempt on throws of 15+ yards. This season he ranks 28th in completion percentage and 26th in yards per attempt. Worse yet, Kaepernick has already thrown as many interceptions on those throws as he did through the entire 2012-13 season (two). If the Rams pressure the 49ers with a lot of blitzes, the 49ers offense could be in for a long night.
The quarterback story will be completely different on the other side of the ball when 49ers vs. Rams ESPN Thursday Night Football kicks off tonight at 8:25 Eastern. Rams QB Sam Bradford has led St.Louis to the NFL’s eighth-ranked passing game this season and gone 88-141 for 891 yards and 6 TDs. Statistically, he’s trounced the once-untouchable Kaepernick. That’s not a good news story for the San Francisco 49ers, who are still struggling with players unable to perform. First is a key injury to linebacker Patrick Willis, and there’s also the new absence of pass-rusher Aldon Smith, who remains out indefinitely at rehab following a DUI arrest. Smith had been particularly effective against the Rams, so Bradford should appreciate his absence from the field.
Regardless of QB performance, tonight’s game should be a slugfest if it follows the recent history between these two teams. As said on ESPN, “Over the course of 10 quarters, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more evenly matched teams. The Rams outscored San Francisco 40-37 and outgained them 751-680 in total yards. The teams were even in the turnover battle and the Rams held the ball for just 1 minute, 35 seconds more.”
Because of this parity, the odds aren’t universal in predicting who’s favored in tonight’s 49ers vs. Rams game. The 49ers are technically favored by a couple of points, flying in the face of the traditional point advantage oddsmakers give to the home team, but even ESPN analysts are split, with one predicting a 24-23 49ers victory and another expecting a 20-17 Rams win. Suffice it to say, you’ll want to watch ESPN Thursday Night Football online free live stream, catch the game on TV or watch the NFL Network online feed linked above. These are two motivated teams, and one of them will walk away with a 1-3 record. You’d better believe neither the 49ers nor Rams want that hanging over their head.