SAN FRANCISCO (8-2-1) At ST. LOUIS (4-6-1)Sunday, 1 p.m., FOXOPENING LINE - 49ers by 7RECORD VS. SPREAD - San Francisco 7-4; St. Louis 7-4SERIES RECORD - 49ers lead 62-61-3AP PRO32 RANKING - 49ers No. 2; Rams No. 22LAST MEETING - Rams 24, 49ers 24 (tie), Nov. 11LAST WEEK - 49ers beat Saints 31-21; Rams beat Cardinals 31-17STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - First meeting of season ended in NFL's first tie since 2008. 49ers 7-1-1 in last nine meetings with lone loss in St. Louis in 2010. ... 49ers 10-3 on road since 2011 under coach Jim Harbaugh, tied with Texans for NFL's best in that span, and lead NFL allowing 14.1 points per game. ... 49ers have NFL's top rushing offense, averaging 163 yards. ... Rams 3-0-1 vs. NFC West opponents and guaranteed of first winning record in division since 2004. ... Harbaugh 2-0-1 vs. Rams. ... Frank Gore is 49ers all-time leading rusher with 8,539 yards and Steven Jackson is Rams' all-time leading rusher with 9,817 yards. ... 49ers WR Michael Crabtree has TD catch in five consecutive games against Rams. ... Gore has 12 TDs vs. Rams, tied with Lenny Moore for most in NFL. ... DE Aldon Smith has 30 12 career sacks and needs one to pass Hall of Famer Reggie White for most in first two seasons in NFL. Smith has 12 sacks in last five games. ... Rams QB Sam Bradford has completed 71 percent of passes with four TDs and no interceptions in three starts vs. 49ers, and 3-0-1 in last four division starts. ... Jackson rushed for 101 yards and TD in last meeting and since 2006 has NFL-best 10,721 yards from scrimmage. Jackson had season-best 139 yards rushing last week. ... Rookie WR Chris Givens had five catches for 115 yards and TD last week and has catch for 35-plus yards in six of last seven games. ... Last week, CB Janoris Jenkins became fourth rookie in NFL history with two interception returns for TDs in game.
The 49ers were willing to be patient in securing their next head coach.
Depending on the outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they could be required to wait another two weeks.
The other five organizations with vacancies after the regular season have filled their head-coach positions with four assistants from teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom the Denver Broncos hired after his team was bounced in the AFC wild-card round.
Early in the 49ers’ search to replace Chip Kelly, the top targets appeared to be Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinators for two of the top-three scoring teams in the NFL.
The coach-general manager team of McDaniels and New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was the runaway favorite to be the package deal, according to sources close to the 49ers’ coaching search.
But when Caserio chose to remain as Bill Belichick’s top personnel lieutenant – just has he has in the past when other opportunities presented themselves – the job became less attractive to McDaniels, according to those sources. McDaniels announced on Monday he would remain with the Patriots for at least another year.
With McDaniels out of the picture, Shanahan became the clear favorite over Seattle assistant Tom Cable. And once Cable publicly stepped aside due to suspicions he was only being used to secure a commitment from Shanahan, only one candidate remained for the job.
Since the middle of this week, Shanahan has been the presumptive coach of the 49ers. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator two years ago when he was officially hired just hours after the Super Bowl. He knows he drill. And this week he announced to the Falcons staff that Shanahan would be the next coach of the 49ers, according to the NFL Network.
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, the 49ers will be allowed to interview Shanahan next week – most likely, Tuesday in Atlanta. Shanahan will be involved in the process to hire the next general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the favorite. The 49ers expect the general manager position to be filled early in the week.
If the Falcons lose, the 49ers would be able to hire Shanahan on their own time frame. It would not be expected to take long.
But if the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until after Feb. 5, when the Super Bowl will be played in Houston, to hire Shanahan.
There is an advantage to being forced to wait. In the long term, the 49ers could benefit from their next head coach gaining the experience of a Super Bowl week and calling a game on the biggest stage in all of sports.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has agreed to become defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers, the club announced Saturday.
The 49ers were reportedly in pursuit of Bradley to join the staff of presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan. Bradley spent four seasons as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator prior to landing the Jacksonville job in 2013. The Jaguars were 14-48 during Bradley's tenure.
Bradley was also reportedly the top candidate for Washington’s defensive coordinator position. The Chargers announced their plan to hire Bradley to join Anthony Lynn’s staff.
Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, confirmed this week he intends to take part in a second interview with the 49ers early next week after the NFC Championship game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He remains as the only candidate for the 49ers' opening, which became open when Chip Kelly was fired after the team's 2-14 season.
The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. Shanahan is expected to be involved in the process to hire the 49ers’ general manager, who replaces fired Trent Baalke. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the front-runner. He is scheduled for a second interview, likely on Tuesday in Atlanta.
Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the only other individual the 49ers interviewed who remains “in play” for the GM job, according to sources.