Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Rams rivalry was quickly ingrained in QB Matthew Stafford

Sep 29, 2022 at 4:36 PM--

Quarterback Matthew Stafford is still relatively new to the Los Angeles Rams. He ended up with the Southern California squad after a trade from the Detroit Lions last year. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was interested but was ultimately beat out by Sean McVay and company.

While he has only been with the Rams for one full season, Stafford quickly realized he was now entrenched in a long-time rivalry, one that he may have underestimated before landing in Los Angeles. The rivalry was very apparent when 49ers fans took over the Rams' home field, SoFi Stadium, not just once last season but twice. First during Week 18, and then again in the NFC Championship Game.

But it's not just the 49ers fans showing up in superior numbers that has Stafford concerned whenever he faces the Bay Area squad.

"I think, obviously, they're really well-coached, both offensively and defensively," Stafford told Rich Eisen on Thursday. "They're really sound in what they do. They're a physical unit. They do a great job of running around and hitting on defense. I know the challenge for us, just like in every single game, it always starts up front.

"They want to run the football on offense. We've got to do a great job of stopping it. They want to penetrate at the defensive line spot, whether it's in the run game or the pass game. We've got to do a great job of being the more physical team on Monday night."

The 49ers always present a tough challenge for the Rams. The Niners narrowly lost that playoff matchup last season, costing Shanahan and company a return trip to the Super Bowl. Before that, San Francisco won its six previous matchups with Los Angeles.

"They're always a big-time challenge," Stafford continued. "They've got great players. I mean, you look across the board, both offensively and defensively, they've got great players, guys that make impacts on the game. It's always a battle. [I] enjoy going to battle against them.

"It's [a rivalry] that was new to me a little bit last year, just being the first time in a Rams uniform, but the rivalry has quickly been ingrained in me."


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