ST. LOUIS — Three weeks after playing to a draw, the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers have a chance to settle things.
"We just took a couple of weeks off and we're going (again),'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "This is quarter No. 6."
The Rams ended up with a 24-24 tie with the 49ers after neither team scored in overtime on Nov. 11 at Candlestick Park.
"I think there's definitely a sense of some unfinished business going into this game,'' Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said.
The outcome this time won't count twice in the win-loss column, though Fisher would prefer that it did.
"We'll have to petition to the league for something like that,'' Fisher said. "But, that's our approach. There's two weeks in between, and here we go again."
San Francisco Jim Harbaugh wasn't buying into the notion that this game was the tie-breaker.
"That's an interesting way to look at it, and probably some people would think there's some merit to it,'' Harbaugh said. "I think it's just new business. That game is finished business and this game coming up is new business. We must prepare well this week. We must travel well.
"We must be ready to come in and play our best because we have great respect for what the Rams are capable of doing."
The Rams will be celebrating the franchise's 75th anniversary Sunday. They'll be wearing throwback jerseys to their Super Bowl championship season in 1999.
During halftime, the Rams will honor past greats, including Isaac Bruce, Ernie Conwell, Eric Dickerson, D'Marco Farr, Vince Ferragamo, Rosey Grier, Dennis Harrah, LeRoy Irvin, Mike Lansford, Todd Lyght, Tom Mack, Andy McCollum, Lawrence McCutcheon, Tom Nutten, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater, Adam Timmerman, Jeff Wilkins, Aeneas Williams and Jack Youngblood.
Fans will receive a 75th Anniversary commemorative print when they exit the game.
The Rams ended a five-game winless streak with a 31-17 road win over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. They forced a season-high four turnovers after failing to force a turnover for the previous five games.
"We have to keep it up,'' Fisher said. "We credited (backup quarterback) Kellen (Clemens) because he threw about a dozen picks last week on the practice field.
"But, you just have to keep going. If you want to look at the turnover thing, we're still not getting fumbles. We were fortunate to come up with the interceptions, but we still need to get on balls and knock them loose."
The Rams have recovered one fumble all season.
The 49ers will go with second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick even though Alex Smith has recovered from the concussion he sustained against the Rams.
Harbaugh said both Kaepernick and Smith deserve to be starters.
"Alex over a long period of time, and Colin over the last three games,'' Harbaugh said. "(We) feel like Colin has the hot hand right now and that's the way we'll proceed."
Kaepernick is 2-0 with a 110.9 quarterback rating as the starter.
The 49ers count heavily on a defense that ranks No. 2 in the NFL. They had five sacks and two interceptions returns for touchdowns in a 31-21 road win over the New Orleans Saints last week.
San Francisco has been especially stingy against the run as it has allowed only 144 rushing yards in its last two games.
Linebacker Patrick Willis keys the 49ers' run defense.
"I have the utmost respect for Patrick,'' said Rams running back Steven Jackson, who rushed for a season-high 139 yards against the Cardinals. "He's that person that year-in and year-out I use as my measuring stick on how I'm performing personally.''
Linebacker Aldon Smith, who has an NFL-leading 17 sacks, keys the 49ers' pass defense. Smith is on pace for 24 sacks this season, which would break Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22.5 sacks.
"Hopefully he doesn't dress, but I think that since he's probably going to dress, he's hard to slow down,'' Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said of trying to keep Smith away from Bradford. "He's hot. I think him and (defensive tackle Justin) Smith working in tandem together on the same side, they do a great job, but you can't fall asleep on the other side either.
"So, you try to know where he is. You have a plan for him, but again, great players are going to try to find a way to show up.''
It's safe to say that the 49ers won't be taking the Rams lightly after they were dominated statistically during the tie.
The Rams put up 458 yards compared to 341 yards for the 49ers.
"Experience kind of suggests that when you play games three weeks or four weeks apart, the second game is usually completely different than the first game,'' Fisher said. "They don't mirror each other at all. That's just the way it is. We had a productive day against them on offense. They're very, very talented on defense. We expect it to be a little bit harder this time around."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.