5 top takeaways from 49ers’ Week 17 loss to Rams

Rams RB Todd Gurley initially hurt after season opener

Rams RB Todd Gurley initially hurt after season opener

Los Angeles (12-3) can clinch a first-round postseason bye with a win over the 49ers or a loss by the Chicago Bears, but will have to do it without the centerpiece of its offense. But it is important for us to get him back to full speed. San Francisco went winless on the road for the first time since 1979, Bill Walsh's first season in charge.

While they will get the higher seed that remains after Wildcard Weekend, it will be curious to see how another week off either helps them, or possible does what the bye week did, which seems to have stalled their momentum.

The Rams have already faced the Bears and Seahawks in the regular season, winning both games against Seattle, 33-31 on the road on October 7 and 36-31 at home on November 11, and losing 15-6 at Chicago on December 9. Even if Gurley is limited this week as a precaution, McVay is confident the National Football League leader with 21 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns this season would be available when the Rams try to win their first playoff game in Los Angeles since defeating the Cowboys 20-0 on January 4, 1986.

Gurley was having an incredible regular season before missing the last two games.

Gurley's knee also was an issue after a season-opening victory over the Oakland Raiders, when Gurley rushed for 108 yards and caught three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.

At that point in the contest he was 9 yards shy of the NFL's single-season mark for receiving yards by a tight end that had been set, not even an hour earlier, by Kansas City's Travis Kelce.

The Niners were determined to get the record, targeting Kittle 14 times - including six times in the fourth quarter of a blowout. He said he could have played, but wasn't sure how effective he would have been.

"My position coach and some other guys were giving me little updates", Kittle said.

"I think he understands his body better than anybody else", McVay said.

Rams: LT Andrew Whitworth injured his knee in the second quarter. McVay is cautiously optimistic Whitworth's injury is no more than a bruise.

Rookie Joseph Noteboom replaced Whitworth, and one play later he had a key role in a scoring play. The Rams rested Gurley and safety Lamarcus Joyner.

-S Blake Countess missed Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers because he is in concussion protocol.

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