The Rams and 49ers struggled to consistently move the ball early in Sunday night's NFC Championship, and now the home team will be without a key starter for the remainder of the do-or-die contest. Los Angeles saw both running back Cam Akers and tight end Tyler Higbee leave the field with separate injuries during the first half of action, and both players were quickly ruled questionable to return. Akers has since returned, trading snaps with Sony Michel in the backfield. Higbee, who needed help to reach the sideline and locker room after suffering a knee injury, however, has been ruled out.
Michel briefly took over as the Rams' top running back with Akers sidelined, but the tight end spot is even more dire. After Higbee, the Rams only have reserve Kendall Blanton active at the position, with backups Brycen Hopkins and Johnny Mundt both injured. Quarterback Matthew Stafford leaned on star wide receiver Cooper Kupp to get the Rams on the board first, putting L.A. up 7-0 halfway through the second quarter. A Deebo Samuel score tied the game at 7 and the Niners currently hold a 10-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Rams are looking to beat their rival 49ers for the first time this season, as well as the first time in their last seven meetings. The winner of Sunday night's NFC Championship will advance to Super Bowl LVI to play the Bengals.
Now they will be tasked with beating their rival shorthanded.