Since becoming head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, arguably the biggest rival for Sean McVay has been the San Francisco 49ers. Obviously it helps that they are in the same division, but McVay and the Rams have had their struggles against the 49ers, especially in San Francisco.
The Rams have lost three consecutive games at Levi Stadium and six straight regular season games overall to the 49ers heading into Monday night’s Week 4 showdown. But the Rams did win when it mattered most in last year’s NFC Championship game on their way to a Super Bowl Championship.
Nonetheless, the team still has yet to win in the Bay Area since 2018 and when asked about the struggles, McVay had a pretty simple response.
“I think the main thing is they’re a really good football team,” the Rams head coach noted. “They’ve done a good job. Which year do you want to talk about? We could talk about all those different games, but I think at the end of the day what it boils down to is they’ve played well, they’ve made the plays in crunch time. And I know you got to be able to ask those questions, but I think the ultimate thing that’s really important for us is each game is its own separate entity.
“They’ve always been a good, tough, physical team that has great players, great coaches in all three phases and that’s why we’ve always had such respect for these guys. I think there’s just a little bit different story. But we know that this game is going to be different than the other ones. We’ve got to be able to show up, play well in that three hour window, or three and a half hours, however long it takes. That’s what our focus and concentration will be solely focused on. No different than when we had to play them for the third time last year.”
And when they do take the field, the Rams will be seeing a familiar face in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. A broken ankle to starter Trey Lance has thrust Garoppolo back in the starting role and McVay had nothing but praise for the veteran.
“Yeah, number one, you never wish injuries on players, but you also just seeing it from an outside-in perspective, you hope (San Francisco 49ers QB) Trey Lance makes a full recovery,” McVay added. “But you also know that man, when he stayed on the roster, he’s such a really good football player that has definitely been outstanding for them. They’ve won a lot of games behind his guidance and leadership, and I think he’s a really good player.”
“I don’t think it’s like he’s only played good against the Rams and he is never played good against anybody else. I mean, just look at his career record when he’s started for the 49ers since he and (San Francisco 49ers FB) Kyle have been together in ’17. It’s a pretty good movie for those guys. So he’s a really good football player. I don’t know if you ever really get too far ahead of yourself, but if you would say that, ‘I’m shocked that Jimmy’s in this position.’ No, I’m not shocked. I feel terrible that Trey ended up hurting his ankle, but that is a part of football and fortunately for them, they had two big time starting caliber quarterbacks on their roster. Now that’s where Jimmy’s in a position to be able to lead their team. I know they have a lot of confidence in in swagger with him at the switch.”
The 49ers have indeed won a lot of games with Garoppolo at the helm, and after a disappointing loss last week, have hopes on getting back in the win column at the Rams’ expense. But with star tackle Trent Williams out, the Rams defensive line has the perfect opportunity to make life tough and McVay will undoubtedly plan to do just that.