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The Pressure is on the Rams, Not the 49ers

Chris Beno
Jan 25, 2022 at 7:30 PM--

This season has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for the San Francisco 49ers and their fans. Who would've thought after starting the season 3-5, that the 49ers would fight their way into the NFC Championship game?

Prior to the start of the season many people predicted the 49ers to be strong contenders for a deep playoff run. I even placed a bet that they would win the Super Bowl. Which would make me $500 richer, so let's go!

But as the regular season went on, and the 49ers played some of the most inconsistent football in recent memory, people began to write them off. People were calling for members of the front office and coaches to be fired. Even some star players like George Kittle, Fred Warner and Arik Armstead were thrown out there as possibly trade casualties in an absolute impending rebuild.

There was a stretch where everyone kind of lost their minds. Most of the criticisms were very much valid at the time. The team was struggling. The team opted to keep going to an underperforming Jimmy Garoppolo after using three first round picks on his replacement who was never going to take over this season.

But then something happened within the organization and inside the locker room, that really up until now flew under the radar, especially to the national media. The 49ers got good. The 49ers got tough.

In fact, since Week 8, the 49ers finished the season with the best record in football during that stretch at 7-2. Two playoff games later they're at 9-2 since Week 8. Winning cures all. The bickering has… well it's slowed down.

To think that this team was one loss away from missing the playoffs completely is even more wild. Go back to week 18 against the LA Rams, down 17 points. To come back in a must win game, against a division rival and win 27-24 on the road tells you everything you need to know about this 49ers squad.

It also tells you a lot about the Rams, who when push comes to shove, tend to turtle up. They're fine against some of those finesse teams, but once they get punched in the mouth it's over. They don't have the mental toughness to overcome physicality.

In the 3rd quarter of the NFC Divisional round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Rams had a 27-3 lead. They fumbled the ball three times in the second half and let the Buccaneers back into that game. Tampa Bay tied that game with 1:43 left. Lucky for the Rams, they made a couple big throws to get into field goal range to win it, because if they didn't Tom Brady would have.

The Rams have played the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Those two teams combined for only 32 rushing attempts. The 49ers will rush it 32 times in one game. They weren't ready for that type of grind the other two matchups this season when the 49ers ran the ball 44 times in week 10 and 31 times week 18. In all five of the Rams regular season losses, the opposing teams have averaged 34.6 rushing attempts. In the games where the Rams won, the opposing team only 22.75 rushing attempts. Or 21.78 attempts if you include their two playoff games.

The Rams just don't like physicality.

Based on how this season has played out, I don't believe the pressure is on the 49ers to win it all. They've been counted out since Week 7. They've owned the underdog role through two road playoff wins. If the Packers were to beat them last week, the season would still feel like a success.

The 49ers didn't make big moves this off-season or at the trade deadline that scream we're here to win it all. The Rams did.

The Rams sold the farm to trade for Matthew Stafford. The Rams traded more assets for Von Miller. The Rams fit Odell Beckham into their salary cap when they signed him after being released by the Cleveland Browns. The Rams are how we all manage our teams in Madden. Trade it all to get the best players. The Rams are desperate.

The Rams have also lost six games in a row to the 49ers. The pressure to win, is 100% on them. Don't be worried about how difficult it is to beat a team three times in one season. Since the NFL merger in 1970, there have been 21 instances that teams have faced each other three times in a season. Teams have won those three matchups 14 of the 21 times. That's a 66% success rate.

Beating a team three times in one season is all mental. And the 49ers live in the Rams head rent free. Some might think they're due one since dropping six in a row to the 49ers, but I say that just adds to it. Just wait until the 49ers Faithful fill SoFi Stadium, a.k.a Levi's South on Sunday. We'll find out how tough the Rams really are.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focused on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I didn't realize it was something I wanted to pursue as a career, but am now focused on doing just that. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles people put out there.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Bill Bruneau
    Angelinos are going for the money, loyalty be damned. Just check StubHub and there are a lot of tickets for sale. In the nose-bleed sections for the most part and going for $600 a pop but hopefully enough of the Faithful have the $$ to take over the stadium again.
    Jan 26, 2022 at 3:33 PM
  • George Fernandez
    Great & Insightful Take on the Championship Game Sunday
    Jan 26, 2022 at 8:30 AM


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