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Blaine Gabbert Aims to Build 2016 Momentum against Hometown Team

Blaine Gabbert's family were once season-ticket holders of the St. Louis Rams.

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback and native of Ballwin, Mo. will make his second career start against his hometown team. It's the very same club he watched play for his first NFL football game at Old Busch Stadium in 1996.

So does the Week 17 season finale have any more meaning for Gabbert, who is 2-5 as San Francisco's starting quarterback this season?

"No, not at all," Gabbert told reporters on Wednesday in his weekly press conference. "It's another division game. It's a big game for both sides regardless of the situation that we put ourselves in up to this point. You want to end the year on a positive note, on a high note and go out and play good football."

Gabbert has set career highs in 2015 with an 86.1 quarterback rating and a 63.0 completion percentage.

The fifth-year pro said he's most encouraged by his ability to avoid costly mistakes.

"We haven't won a lot of games," Gabbert said, "but I feel like we've been playing pretty clean football, not making a lot of mental errors, not making a lot of critical errors. So from that standpoint, it's been pretty clean. But at the end of the day, I've got to do more to win games. I know that, we all know that, and that's what we are looking forward to do this week."

The Rams enter the regular season finale looking to win their eighth game of the year. For the 49ers, a win on Sunday would be the franchise's ninth consecutive victory in a regular-season finale at home.

Gabbert said a win over a talented St. Louis defense could springboard San Francisco into 2016.

"It's huge to build momentum going into the offseason program, momentum into next season," he said. "You want to end the year strong. You want to hang your hat on something positive and it's a big game for a lot of people. We're just focused on today, going out there, putting this game plan together, getting good work in practice and carrying that over to Sunday."

Gabbert led the 49ers offense on a pair of first-half scoring drives, putting up a season-high 17 points against the Detroit Lions last week. The second half of the game, however, told a different story. San Francisco's offense produced four first downs and no points in a 32-17 loss. San Francisco's signal-caller pointed to a small number of plays in the game that turned the tide in Detroit's favor.

"When you watch the film and kind of diagnose things, there's always usually three plays that stand out that determine the outcome of the football game," Gabbert said. "We've just got to make the plays when they come about."

The quarterback added that he wants to see a four-quarter performance against the Rams.

"We have an opportunity to do that this week," he said.

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