Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers


SAN FRANCISCO -- A few thoughts from the San Francisco 49ers' 23-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams:

What it means: The 49ers strenghened their hold on the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs and improved their record to 8-4. NFC West rival Arizona lost in Philadelphia, to drop to 7-5. The 49ers dominated, and it was their seventh victory of the season by double digits. They are now 6-0 against teams with losing records. The 49ers struggled against the Rams in 2012, going 0-1-1. This season, the 49ers beat the Rams by a combined score of 58-24.

Stock watch: 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree made his season debut, and his impact was immediately felt. Receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis got open more, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick looked comfortable and confident. It’s no coincidence.

Injuries continue: It wasn’t all great news for the 49ers. Standout left tackle Joe Staley left the game early with a right knee injury. It was quickly determined that he would not return to the game. Right guard Alex Boone moved to left tackle, and rookie Joe Looney took over for Boone. The team is already playing without standout guard Mike Iupati, who has a knee sprain.

What’s next: The 49ers host bitter NFC West rival Seattle. The Seahawks have a stranglehold on the NFC West, but this game is important for the 49ers, who have been blown out in the past two games against Seattle. Not only do the 49ers need to compile wins, but they also have to send the Seahawks a message in case they meet in the postseason.