The perfect storm? An unavoidable disaster? An epic right of passage? However they guessed, the NFL schedulers seemed to have advanced knowledge of how this 2021 NFL season would play out, don’t they? The only NFC West game with relative meeting comes between the San Francisco 49ers and the LA Rams. The 49ers need to win to ensure a playoff berth. If the Niners lose and the New Orleans Saints win? The Saints bump the 49ers.
The LA Rams, although 12-4, need to win this one to retain their hold on the NFC second-seed berth in the upcoming playoffs. If they lose, and the Arizona Cardinals win, the Rams will fall all the way to the fifth-seed. While that will not mean more games, it will mean plenty of traveling. With their current seeding, the LA Rams will be able to play at home at SoFi stadium.
The last time that the LA Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers was Week 17 of the 2018 NFL Season. In that game, quarterback Jared Goff threw just 199 yards but found the endzone four times with no interceptions. Running back C.J. Anderson, a player just added to compete a week before, ran for 132 yards and a touchdown. 49ers backup quarterback Nick Mullens passed for 282 and found the endzone three times, but also found Rams defensive backs three times.
The LA Rams won that shootout by the score of 48 to 32, their 13th win in a season that would propel them through the playoffs, and find them competing in Super Bowl LIII.
For the next five games between these two powerhouse teams, the Rams would fall short of a victory to those 49ers. In 2019, the Rams rushing attack and offensive line would not stand up to the competition. In 2020, the Rams would abandon a very effective rushing attack, and the quarterback play nor the play of the secondary would hold up. Two seasons, and suddenly a four-game losing streak.
Rams repeat in 2021 round one
Everything was supposed to be different in 2021. The Rams had upgraded at quarterback. The offensive line was playing well. But in this contest, the Rams running game, offensive line, quarterback play, and secondary would come up short.
Five games played over the past three seasons. Five games lost. The losing streak to the 49ers has gone on long enough. Just mention the name of the San Francisco team, and Rams fans begin to fret.
Yes, the 49ers are a very good team. But over the course of their five-game dominance, this is a team that has compiled a 28-20 record. Over the same period of time, the LA Rams have gone 31-17. Now, those aggregate records include five wins amidst the 49ers’ victories and five losses among the LA Rams’ defeats. Removing those, the 49ers have gone 23-20 over the past three seasons to non-Rams opponents. The LA Rams have gone 31-12 over the same period to non-49ers opponents.
It’s time to end this nonsense.
Since the last meeting
Since their last confrontation, the San Francisco 49ers have gone 5-2 while the Rams have gone 5-1 (The LA Rams had a BYE week in Week 11). The 49ers’ opponents over the past seven games have amassed a combined record of 47-65. The LA Rams opponents over the past six games have amassed a combined record of 47-49. In whatever way you slice and dice this one, the Rams have just as much chance as the 49ers in this one.
The only thing left is to win the mental game. To want this one more.
Problems arise when the LA Rams brain trust has too much time to outthink things. They had two weeks to prepare for Super Bowl LIII, and the most proficient offense of the NFL could only must three points. But over the past five weeks, a short-handed and desperate LA Rams team showed incredible resolve and fortitude in stringing together five wins under the worst of conditions.
Adversity can be incredibly effective at forging a successful team.
Whether the LA Rams face Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance, they cannot go into this game doubting the outcome. Victory begins long before the opening kickoff. The Rams need to play this game knowing that they will emerge with their 13th victory, a win that will come at the expense of their NFC West rivals, the San Francisco 49ers.
The LA Rams propelled a final regular-season victory over the 49ers into a post-season campaign that carried them all the way to compete in Super Bowl LIII. Now, the LA Rams have that same opportunity to beat their NFC West rivals and use that momentum to carry them all the way to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI.
Only one thing stands in their way. That 49ers winning streak over the Rams. It’s time that the Rams end it.