The 49ers certainly can use the week of recuperation they earned by getting the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Healthy for most of the year, the 49ers were roughed up during a win last week in Seattle and had several more players limping after Sunday's win in St. Louis. That list includes starting defensive ends Ray McDonald and Justin Smith, fullback Bruce Miller and cornerback Chris Culliver.
Smith left the Seattle game in the first quarter but returned later in the first half. He sat out for a more extended period on Sunday in St. Louis before re-entering the game on the Rams' final offensive series. Jim Harbaugh indicated that Smith had tweaked his knee.
All of the players injured Sunday were walking - albeit some with limps - after the game, and none of the injuries appeared to be long term. They do, however, speak to the importance of getting the bye. Indeed, Patrick Willis said that Smith re-entered the game so that Smith, an 11-year veteran, could help assure the team of getting the week off.
The win over the Rams also gives a pair of receivers, Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams, more time to heal. Williams said Sunday that he was asymptomatic after his concussion last week and was confident he'd be cleared to practice soon.
One more benefit: The bye week gives the 49ers more time to decide whether Delanie Walker will be able to help them in the playoffs. If the 49ers had lost to the Rams, Walker's injury might have forced them to make a roster move before playing this coming weekend.
The 49ers' next game will be on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 1:30 p.m. They either will play the Saints, the Falcons or the Giants.
-- Matt Barrows