San Francisco

Niners Likely to Ride Hyde vs. the Rams

Rams have had trouble stopping opposing running backs, which could point to Hyde -- off to a good start -- getting plenty of carries in Thursday night game

When the 49ers take on the Rams Thursday night, expect to see Carlos Hyde carry the ball early and often.

While the Niners passing attack has been stuck in first gear and the offense as a whole has been disappointing – San Francisco has yet to score a touchdown – Hyde has been very good and the offensive line showed big improvement last week blocking for him with the insertion of Laken Tomlinson at left guard.

Plus, the Rams run defense has been porous. Through two games, Los Angeles ranks 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up and average of 152 yards per game. L.A. gave up 229 yards on the ground to Washington.

Hyde, meanwhile, is fourth in the NFL with 169 yards, averaging 7.0 yards per attempt. In last Sunday’s loss at Seattle, Hyde rushed for 124 yards on just 15 carries, breaking off one run for 61 yards.  Hyde also has been a big part of the passing game, too, with nine receptions for 51 yards.

Hyde, in his fourth season, could be on target for his best season as a 49er. His physical running style – he was among the NFL’s top backs in 2016 by gaining yardage almost 84 percent of the time after initial contact, and is averaging 3.13 yards after contact this season, fifth best in the league – gives the 49ers a potentially breakout performer in 2017.

Hyde believes he and his teammates will finally get the offense clicking Thursday night at the Levi’s Stadium.

“We’re going to get it Thursday,” Hyde said in an interview Wednesday on 95.7 The Game. “It’s been very frustrating going two games so far without a touchdown, but I think Thursday’s going to be the day we flip that switch and we start putting points on the board. I also feel that that’s going to be the time that we click. What I mean by that is the offense. Passing game, running game, everything is clicking and really showcasing what we’re capable of.”

Even if the 49ers offense does come alive, though, the San Francisco defense will have to do its job against a Rams offense that has been explosive, ranking tied for third in the NFL at 33 points per game.

The Rams are 3-point favorites for Thursday’s game, scheduled to kick off at 5:25 p.m.

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