5 ways 49ers make life miserable for Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Arden Key, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arden Key (98) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers must rely on four-man pressure vs. Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford, like many veteran quarterbacks, thrives against the blitz. According to Pro Football Focus, Stafford’s passer rating when blitzed this season is a notable 132.5.

Fortunately, San Francisco doesn’t blitz a lot (19.8 percent during the regular season, fourth lowest), and it’s been winning with a traditional four-man pass rush led by EDGE Nick Bosa and supplemented by reserve pass-rushers like Arden Key and Samson Ebukam.

For as hot as Stafford can get on the field, a good deal of pressure can equally thwart him into those mistakes mentioned earlier. Of note, PFF also mentioned how Stafford’s passer rating dropped from 112.4 when he wasn’t pressured to 81.6 when he was, and his completion percentage also drops from 73.1 down to 50.3.

That’s a substantial difference.

The 49ers sacked Stafford only twice back in Week 10, a time when both Key and Ebukam weren’t making much of an impact yet, but they sacked him five times in Week 18, and it was evident Stafford was getting worse and worse in the second half after the Rams jumped out to a 17-0 lead.

Not by coincidence, that’s when the Niners started to win a lot with their four-man pass rush.

The same will have to be applied in the NFC Championship game, too, although it’s hopefully going to take place much sooner in the game.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best quarterbacks in franchise history. dark