SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS PREVIEW: 49ers have to avoid going 0-3

AP Photo File: New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) rolls on his back after being sacked by San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jimmie Ward (25) Ward is suffering a hamstring injury but is expected to play Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams. This photo from an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Jeremy Harness

SANTA CLARA– Only two games into the season, the 49ers already have their backs against the wall.

 After a tough loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the 49ers have to turn around quickly and try and pick up their first victory Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium. To do it, they will face a Los Angeles Rams team that go into Thursday’s game with a 1-1 record after an emphatic win over Indianapolis in the season’s first week.

 The 49ers, on the other hand, are currently 0-2 and can ill afford to get off to an 0-3 start. On the positive side, however, the 49ers have had recent success against the Rams, as both of their victories last season came against Los Angeles.

 In the meantime, there are some injury concerns for the 49ers.

 Linebacker Reuben Foster is nursing a high right ankle sprain and will miss Thursday’s game, and there is no telling when he will return. However, there was a huge sign of encouragement that showed up on Wednesday when Foster was without the stabilizing boot that he had been wearing the past week and a half.

 Besides the absence of Foster, the 49ers are also hurting in the secondary. Eric Reid suffered a sprain of his posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s loss on Sunday at Seattle and is expected to miss at least one game because of it.

 Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and Jaquiski Tartt (neck) were also injured during Sunday’s game, but they were at least able to practice on Wednesday, although it was in a limited capacity. Both are expected to be able to play Thursday but are listed as questionable.

 On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers have a good thing going in the run game, as Carlos Hyde had a good deal of success running the ball against a usually-tough Seattle defense, and he should have more of that against a Rams defense that did not have a good showing in Sunday’s loss to Washington.

 However, the passing game certainly needs to improve, as quarterback Brian Hoyer acknowledged after Sunday’s game that his performance was less than stellar and needs to get better if the 49ers are going to have sustained success offensively.


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