Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers used NFC Championship Game defeat as motivation in 24-9 win vs. Rams

Oct 3, 2022 at 9:36 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers knocked off the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. The Niners have now won seven consecutive regular-season games against the Rams. However, that one playoff loss from last season provided a little extra motivation, helping the Bay Area team to a 24-9 win over their division rivals.

It wasn't just that heartbreaking defeat in the NFC Championship Game that pushed the 49ers to want to prove themselves in the primetime bout. The team entered Monday night's game with a 1-2 record, which included an embarrassing showing in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos. It was a sour taste that 49ers players were eager to get out of their mouths.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was asked if that Week 3 loss in Denver made this past week seem longer than usual.

"Hell yeah," Garoppolo responded with a laugh. "But you know, when you go through a tough week like that, it makes this feel a lot better at the end. We've been in this situation before. It's a rollercoaster this season. You've just got to ride the highs and lows and kind of stay right in the middle as much as you can. That's how you get success in the end."

While being 1-2 was motivation enough, the memory of last season's playoff loss lingered. It's no coincidence that head coach Kyle Shanahan had the 49ers watch that game as a team this past week. For many players, it was their first time revisiting the defeat.

"Just watching that film, you feel the emotions," Garoppolo said. "... Just watching the film, it's silent, but you can take yourself back to that spot and put yourself in that emotional state you were in. I think that's good for competitors; I really do. I think after last week, too, it gave us a little motivation."

Garoppolo wasn't the only one who was motivated by that loss.

"I'm not very good at watching the last game of the season," tight end George Kittle said in the 49ers locker room. "I think Kyle kind of talked about that. ... He watched it, but a lot of the guys don't.

"Just rewatching it this week definitely adds a little fuel to the fire. They're out there talking a little bit of smack about it, and you're like, 'Last year is last year. We're just going to do our best to give it to you this year.'"

When asked if the NFC Championship game loss gave the 49ers a little "extra juice" in Monday night's win, wide receiver Deebo Samuel responded, "Of course."

"We knew we fell short last year, and we've got to stack wins," he continued. "One of the things we was focused on all week long was getting back to moving the ball, running the ball, and converting on third down, and we was flying on all cylinders today."

We'll find out if the 49ers can ride this momentum into Week 5 when they face the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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