Steven Jackson is on the verge of becoming the Rams' all-time rushing leader.
For the record.Steven Jackson needs 140 yards rushing against San Diego to match Eric Dickerson for the Rams’ career rushing lead. He gained 84 yards in his only previous game against the Chargers. How great was Dickerson? When he rushed for 103 yards against San Diego at age 32, the effort actually reduced his career average against the Chargers. (Dickerson rushed for 138, 115, 169 and 30 yards in four previous games against the Chargers.) Jackson is a workhorse back, no question. He has five career games with at least 30 carries and averaged 132 yards in those games, gaining at least 108 in each of them. Dickerson? The Hall of Famer had 21 games with at least 30 carries. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder averaged 148.6 yards in those games and rushed for at least 107 in all but two of them.
Stepping up. Mark Clayton's season-ending injury hurts the Rams' offense, but it should give others additional opportunities. Danny Amendola's 12 receptions against Detroit tied for seventh-most in Rams history. Amendola was already a preferred third-down target for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. He is tied for the NFL lead with 11 receptions on third down. (Brandon Marshall and Roddy White are the only other wide receivers with as many.) Amendola has turned eight of those 11 receptions into first downs, most in the league among wide receivers. Tampa Bay Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow is the only other player in the league with as many. (He also has eight.)
Running into a wall. The Chicago Bears' Matt Forte is coming off a career-high 166-yard rushing performance against Carolina. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch sounds rejuvenated after the Seahawks rescued him from a dead-end job in Buffalo. Both backs face tough challenges Sunday. Seattle and Chicago rank right behind league-leading Pittsburgh in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. Seattle is allowing 2.75 yards per carry, second only to the Steelers. The Bears are allowing 3.48 yards per carry, which ranks fifth. Forte had 66 yards and a 3.1 average against Seattle last season. Lynch has never faced Chicago. He last topped 100 yards in 2008.
Trending downward. The 49ers have a 5-15 record in the past 20 games Alex Smith has started at quarterback. Smith lost his final five starts of 2007 (four after suffering a shoulder injury). He missed the 2008 season, then went 5-5 as a starter in 2009 and 0-5 to open this season. Smith has 25 touchdown passes with 29 interceptions during those past 20 starts. The 49ers' offense has made statistical progress recently, but they need to win a game. So does Smith.
Needing to get hot. The 49ers have not lost three in a row at home under coach Mike Singletary, but they're riding a two-game home slide into this game against Oakland. The team needs to get hot to make up lost ground, but the 49ers own only one three-game winning streak since the 2003 season. That came when San Francisco defeated Minnesota, Detroit and Seattle midway through the 2006 season. The 49ers have not won four in a row since a five-game streak in 2001.