49ers vs. Rams: Why history repeats itself in NFC Championship game

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 3: Rams know this about 49ers

This is probably the most important reason history will repeat itself this Sunday: Los Angeles knows the reasons spelled out above.

Sean McVay knows that he just can’t seem to get past Kyle Shanahan. The Rams know they have lost six in a row to a team, that on paper, they have been superior to the past two years.

All of the pressure in this weekend’s matchup is on LA. Sure, the Niners want to go to another Super Bowl, but no one expected them to make it this far. For the Rams, though, they told everyone they would be here. They have made it clear they are in this to win Super Bowls or bust.

They literally could not have made it clearer:

The Rams have made moves in 2021 like trading for quarterback Matthew Stafford and EDGE Von Miller to win Super Bowls. They know this season will be seen as a failure for them if they don’t at least make it to another Super Bowl.

Heck, they declared that themselves in the above tweet.

Add in the fact that they haven’t won a game against San Francisco since before I graduated college, and their head coach knows the media will constantly describe him as Shanahan’s “little brother” if he loses this game, and the Rams are feeling the pressure this Sunday.

That type of pressure can lead to mistakes. And LA isn’t mistake-free.

Stafford is boom or bust, able to make elite plays but also throwing for 17 interceptions this season, most memorably, one to cornerback Ambry Thomas to seal a 49ers’ overtime win in Week 18.

The pressure of this game can get to Stafford, and make it hard to play a game of mistake-free football. It can get to McVay and lead to suboptimal play calls. Los Angeles is far more aware of its recent history against the Niners, and that will be in the back of the team’s mind all week and all game. All it takes is one slip-up because of that pressure to send San Francisco to a seven-game win streak over the Rams while adding another Super Bowl appearance.

The 49ers have dominated the Rams in recent memory, and it is not unreasonable to expect that to continue Sunday. Because of the history of teams playing for three times in a season, Shanahan’s and McVay’s history, and the fact the Rams will be well aware of both and the pressure it brings, the Niners have a good chance to continue their dominance in the NFC Championship game.

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