ANAHEIM, CALIF., DEC. 16 -- The San Francisco 49ers, whose only loss this season came against the Los Angeles Rams, know what to expect in Monday night's rematch: anything and everything.
"They surprised us," 49ers Coach George Seifert said of the Rams' 28-17 victory Nov. 25 at Candlestick Park. "They did an excellent job of changing up their defense from what they had done. By the time we adjusted, we had turned the ball over too much."
Asked what the 49ers have prepared for this time, Seifert said: "Everything. I imagine it could be almost anything. We're trying to be as flexible as we can."
While providing the only blemish on the 49ers' 12-1 record, the victory was one of the Rams' few high points. The 49ers already have clinched the NFC West title; the Rams (5-8) have almost no chance of making the playoffs.
The 49ers are concentrating on cranking up their running game, which was ineffective earlier in the season. Roger Craig, slowed by an injury, seems to be regaining his form.
Craig ran for 97 yards on 21 carries as San Francisco rolled up 202 yards on 41 carries in last week's 20-17 overtime victory at Cincinnati.
"The 49ers ran the ball a lot last week," said Rams Coach John Robinson said. "A lot of people are trying to do what we did against them earlier, and the 49ers are responding. They will try to run the ball the rest of the season, I think.
"They are a team which just seems to be able to take it up another notch as the playoffs approach."
The 49ers certainly took it up another notch in last year's playoffs, which included a 30-3 victory over the Rams in the NFC title game.
While Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Craig are the stars, Robinson said he always has been impressed with the 49ers' defense.
"They have a great defensive team. I can't imagine why people don't talk about what they've done," Robinson said. "They're so much better than any defense I've dealt with over a period of time. In big games they play marvelous football."
The 49ers probably will be without safety Ronnie Lott, who suffered a knee injury against Cincinnati. He may need surgery.
Although the Rams handed the 49ers their only loss, Seifert said he doesn't think his players are concerned about that.
"I don't think the last loss has anything to do with it," he said. "Whoever we played this week would be important. We're in a tight race for home field in the playoffs. Added on is the fact it is the Rams, with whom we have a rivalry, and it's on Monday night.
"Both teams are going to be excited, doing all they can to win the game."