5 lessons 49ers can learn from Super Bowl champion Rams

Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Joe Burrow, Von Miller, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams
Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals evades a tackle by Von Miller #40 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

20. 51. 23. 56. Final

The 49ers fell one game short of making Super Bowl LVI, but there are some key takeaways the Niners can learn from the game as they prepare for 2022.

Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers would have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals if the Niners had properly handled their business in the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams, taking advantage of that suspect Cincy offensive line en route to knocking off quarterback Joe Burrow and securing the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy.

In fairness, though, San Francisco vastly overachieved in 2021 and into the playoffs this year, and even making it to the conference championship was an accolade in itself.

Instead, however, the 49ers have to watch the Rams/Bengals brag about their championship after pulling off a 23-20 victory in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday at SoFI Stadium, putting the finishing touch on the 2021-22 campaign and leaving Niners fans everywhere questioning, “what if?”

Fortunately, though, head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. can look at the Super Bowl and come away with some key learning points they’ll need to turn the 2022 season into one where San Francisco is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and no one else.

Here are those five key lessons the 49ers should have learned from Los Angeles/Cincinnati’s Super Bowl victory.

49ers Super Bowl lesson No. 5: An elite pass rush matters

Fortunately, the Niners are coming off a 2021 regular season in which they recorded 48 sacks, tied for fifth most in the league but still trailing the Rams’ NFL-best 50 sacks.

Sacks aren’t everything. But the Super Bowl revealed why any an offensive drive can be derailed by getting to the quarterback.

Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa, who led San Francisco with 15.5 sacks last year, is expected to be even more prolific in 2022, which is a good thing. Let LA managed to showcase its own formidable pass-rushing defensive front with Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd throughout much of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Pass-rushers have played vital roles in each of the last two Super Bowls, and Sunday’s contest was no different with Donald drawing the attention from the center, freeing up Miller for sack opportunities on Burrow.

From the 49ers’ vantage point, they’ll need to look hard at the complementary options behind Bosa on the depth chart, made even more apparent with the understanding defensive linemen Arden Key, Jordan Willis and even Dee Ford could be off the roster this offseason, leaving only Samson Ebukam as the “big name” opposite Bosa.

Sounds like an offseason priority the Niners have to figure that out, right?