Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Rams matchups to watch Thursday, 5:25 p.m., at Edward Jones Dome.
49ers CB Carlos Rogers vs. Rams WR Tavon Austin
Tale of the tape
Rogers (22): 6 foot, 192 pounds, ninth season, Auburn
Austin (11): 5 foot 8, 176 pounds, rookie, West Virginia
Through three games, rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin has not demonstrated his ability to be a game-changer on offense.
The speedster has been featured in the St. Louis Rams offense. But his team-best 18 receptions have gone for a measly average of 6.6 yards.
Still, Austin’s big-play ability is lurking just below the surface. Two of his receptions have gone for touchdowns, and he flashed his game-breaking elusiveness on an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown that was nullified by penalty last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford can be expected to continue to feed the ball to Austin, in hopes he can break a big one against the 49ers’ defense. Veteran cornerback Carlos Rogers will draw the assignment of covering Austin in the slot.
“(He’s) fast, quick,” Rogers said. “I see where they try to feature him a lot. He’s a slot guy a guy I’ll be matched up with a lot. Hopefully, I can get my hands on him and re-direct him and push him in the way I want him to go.”
Rogers has covered the slot receiver on 78 snaps this season and allowed nine receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, according to stats compiled by Pro Football Focus. On pass plays he’s been targeted the opposition’s passer rating is 105.4.
The 49ers showed some interest in Austin leading up to the draft. The Rams moved up from No. 16 to eighth overall in a trade with the Buffalo Bills pick to select him.
“We just felt he was someone who could really help us,” Fisher said. “We needed a dynamic playmaker, so we felt if we stayed where we were, we were probably not going to have a chance to draft him.
“It was not a competitive thing within the division, we just felt like we needed to go get this young player. And the future is ahead of him. He’s a outstanding player, an outstanding individual, we’re looking forward to watching him make a lot of plays for us.”