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Shanahan says winning the turnover battle is why the 49ers have had success against the Rams

Big plays have helped, too

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Kyle Shanahan hasn’t had much success in the NFC West. However, when it comes to the Rams, the 49ers head coach has reeled off five wins in a row and owns a 6-3 career record against Los Angeles. Against every other team in the division, Shanahan owns a 5-15 record.

On Wednesday, Shanahan was asked if there’s anything he could pinpoint why the Niners have been so successful against the Rams in the last few years:

“Not in particular. I think it’s two teams that respect each other a lot. We go hard. I would guess we’ve won the turnover battle the majority of the times, but each one is kind of its own game. And so I never really tied those together when we went into it and especially being this one right now, it really has no bearing on what’s happened in the past. It’s all about these four quarters.”

In the first matchup this season, Jimmie Ward returned an interception for a touchdown, added a 40-yard touchdown, and Ward added another interception while the offense didn’t turn the ball over.

Although Matthew Stafford hasn’t been shy about turning the ball over himself, Jared Goff was the quarterback in every other game. Nick Mullens threw an interception, but Goff threw two. Deebo had a heck of a game that included 11 receptions for 133 yards.

So far, the theme is “the best players make plays.” So what happened during the first matchup in 2020? George Kittle had a 44-yard touchdown pass, and the Rams didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.

The 49ers overcame a couple of turnovers in December of 2019 to beat the Rams 34-31 in one of the more entertaining games of the season, while the first game that year was more of a snoozer as San Francisco dominated from wire to wire to win 20-7.

The butt-kickings have been consistent between these two teams, no matter who is under center for either side. Fred Warner isn’t overlooking the Rams despite five wins in a row. On Wednesday, he said, “If we don’t come to play, they’re going to embarrass us.”

Jimmy Garoppolo said the team is confident, but “I would not say we’re cocky by any means. I think we’re confident in the right way to go on that field, and we’ve proved in the past, and we’ve just got to go do it again on Sunday.”

Knowing that the NFL schedule matches divisional opponents up at the end of each year with what’s at stake, the 49ers couldn’t have asked for a better matchup this season.