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What to watch for in 49ers-Rams 'MNF' tilt

After a Sunday in which the Super Bowl champions were upset at home and the season's first tie was the highest-scoring one in NFL history, Monday night's game features a storied NFC West rivalry.

Here's what to watch for as the San Francisco 49ers travel to St. Louis to do battle with the Rams:

  1. Colin Kaepernick has been inconsistent of late with Vernon Davis (back) out and Michael Crabtree playing through a foot injury. Kap has his start tight end back for Monday night's game. Crabtree insists nothing is wrong with his foot despite catching just one pass for 16 yards versus the Chiefs in Week 5.
  1. With the passing game struggling to move the chains, the offense is going through Frank Gore -- just as it has for the past decade. The ageless Gore has rushed for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 2011. Even if the coaches plan to keep him on a pitch count, Gore has an attractive matchup against a Rams defense that ranks 31st against the run.
  1. Gregg Williams' St. Louis defense has been a head-scratcher through five weeks. After flirting with the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013, Robert Quinn was expected to headline the NFL's most imposing defensive line. Instead, the Rams are bringing up the rear with only one sack this year. Quinn has hit opposing quarterbacks a half-dozen times, but has yet to record a sack. Keep an eye on first-round defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was Williams' most impressive player in September.
  1. What does it say about the offensive coaching staff that Austin Davis was third on the depth chart after training camp? In four years as the starter, Bradford never threw for 300 yards in back-to-back games. Davis did it in his second and third career starts. Bradford has never generated a passer rating over 95.0 in three consecutive starts. Davis accomplished the feat in his first three starts. Davis doesn't have Bradford's golden arm, but that hasn't stopped him from relentlessly attacking down the field as effectively as any quarterback outside of Brian Hoyer.
  1. While Gore is carrying the 49ers offense, Zac Stacy is hearing Benny Cunningham's footsteps in the Rams' backfield. A change-of-pace back to date, Cunningham has shown a more impressive burst than Stacy this season. Stacy will play through a strained calf, which could mean a heavier workload than normal for Cunningham.
  1. With Davis under center for St. Louis, wide receiver Brian Quick is finally realizing the talent that got him drafted with the first pick of the second round three years ago. Quick has shown consistent playmaking ability for the first time in his career, topping 60 yards in every game this season and scoring three times in the past two weeks.
  1. Thanks to Perrish Cox and Antoine Bethea, the 49ers' secondary hasn't missed a beat with Tramaine Brock (toe) sidelined for over a month. Bethea has made plays with the best of the NFL's safeties, while Cox is limiting quarterbacks to a 28.6 passer rating on throws in his territory, per Pro Football Focus. Cox has played well enough to remain in the starting lineup once Brock returns.

We recap all the Week 6 action on a jaunty edition of the "Around The NFL Podcast." Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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