The Five Keys That Will Determine NFCCG vs. Ramus

The 49ers should be thrilled in this NFC Championship game.

No trivial matter for the Los Angeles Rams, but if practice goes right, the Niners should have their best game of the season on Sunday with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Yes, the Niners have won six straight games against the Rams. Yes, a trip to San Francisco in “Rams House” and domestic-territorial gains would be beneficial.

But Sunday will be the third match the 49ers have played against the Rams this season. The moment and opponent will be familiar, and that gives the Niners fewer things to worry about ahead of their biggest game of the year.

Just treat it like Week 10, or Week 18, and the Niners should have a great shot at winning.

That said, the Rams are a dangerous team. His appearance in the game is no fluke and if the 49ers don’t come right to South Los Angeles, they won’t be returning for the Big Game in a few weeks.

Obviously, with the familiarity of these two teams, there will be no surprises coming Sunday, but those two previous matchups and the last few games for each team – all diving into the numbers – here’s what got me going before round number 3. :

• The Rams are a great NFL team when it comes to disguised coverage and are well worth watching during the game. According to Pro Football Focus, rams only run what they show in a line of scrimmage 55 percent of the time. We saw Kyler Murray struggle with it in the Rams-Cardinals playoff game, and even Tom Brady was terrified of sleight of hand—until the Rams went 27-3 in defense and Brady was able to make a better diagnosis on the line. scrimmage.

You might be thinking “Dieter, it doesn’t look great for Jimmy Garoppolo” and let me tell you, on fiction, I agree. After all, Garoppolo doesn’t read the field well.

But the Niners have the antidote to the Rams’ defensive moves: No team runs more speed on offense in the NFL than San Francisco.

Credit to PFF great Eric Eager for pointing it out: On more than 70 percent of the Niners’ snaps — a full level or two above any other team in the league — Kyle Shanahan spins around on the chessboard. He forces the defendants to show their hands, lest they be horribly out of position.

Both of these concepts are simple, but the offense – if it only gets the players around pre-snap – has a notable advantage. The 49ers may not have a quarterback who can read the field like Brady before the snap, but they guarantee that their pre-snap homework is less daunting. (Tampa Bay used Motion on half of their snaps this season and was hardly using last weekend versus The Rams.)

Never tell anyone that this is not an offensive league.

• The 49ers’ offense over the Rams’ defense has another advantage: Los Angeles is lighter.

The 49ers led the NFC on an early down rush this season. The Rams had the fewest players in the box for the past two seasons, taking a ton of nickels (five defensive backs) and dimes (six defensive backs), all while going light on linebackers to turn on pass rushers. . field. They would often box six men, except for one linebacker on the field.

It helps prevent modern crimes — Kansas City, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and the Cardinals — but there’s nothing new about Shanahan’s attack.

Add to that the speed that the Niners employ, and it’s a simple issue for the Rams: they don’t have enough men.

Now, Aaron Donald and his underrated defensive line cohort Greg Gaines may make up for the Rams’ weight and personnel crunch—both will command a double-team on Sunday—but the issue for Los Angeles and the advantage for San Francisco still remain. Same: The numbers game favors the Niners.

• I had serious concerns about Kevon Williams before Saturday’s game with the Packers and I now have 11 Rams personnel (one back, one tight end, three wide receivers) along with Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham and Van Jefferson There is more. ) Group.

After watching the last few 49ers and Rams games, I took to Twitter to suggest that the Niners bench Williams for Deontay Johnson. A bold stance, to be sure.

Former 49ers safety and my KNBR cohort Donette Whitner had no such suggestion. He explained how Johnson hasn’t made up for that inner life with some videos from the Week 18 matchup.

But is Williams still on about it?

The Niners’ nickelback/slot cornerback (choose your own poisonous word: bad band or oxymoron) was once one of the NFL’s best and remains a force in the run game.

But since returning to the lineup for the wild card game against Dallas, he has been burned in face-to-face coverage. He didn’t look very good even in zone coverage.

Whitner was apt to point out to us back and forth that it’s impossible to know exactly what Williams’ work on every play is. I got it.

I noticed that sticking with slot receivers for the Niners’ opponents – and failing – was a common denominator of Williams.

And this week, those antagonists are excellent. Kupp is arguably the best wideout in the NFL today, and Beckham is one of the most talented players in professional sports. To be honest, I don’t know how you defend those people.

But don’t sleep on the sophistication outside of Jefferson, Florida, either. He has long strides and seriously deep pace with good hands to boot, scoring three touchdowns over 50 yards this season.

The Niners have their hands full of Kupp and Obj, but they can’t sleep on the baby.

• Expect another big game from Brandon Ayuk on Sunday, as the Rams have the same high security on most of their plays.

Best attack to look like? Crossing routes, deep ones – and Ayuk is the Niners’ best receiver at those routes (though Dibo Samuel gives him a run.)

Ayuk covered 107 yards in Week 18 with six catches, his best game of the season. Seeing as how the Rams didn’t show much adjustment between these two teams’ Week 10 and Week 18 games, I’d expect the Niners to rerun Ayuk early in the middle and often on Sundays.

• Want to know another advantage for the Niners, just to end things?

They do not do the work on defense that Rama wants them to do.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is in his first season in Los Angeles after being traded to the Detroit Lions, and he learned something from his Lions days, like how to handle pressure in his face.

This season, against Blitz, Stafford had an expected points add-on of 89.1 (a catch-all NFL advanced stat). This is a crazy number. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, this is the highest rating ever.

We saw the Rams repeatedly in the first two games of the season following the Cardinals and the Bucks Blitz Stafford. They couldn’t help themselves – they were blitz-happy in the regular season so they stuck with what they knew. And here are the Rams – a win from the Super Bowl.

But the 49ers don’t blitz. According to Pro Football Focus, he had the fourth-lowest blitz rate in the league during the season. And they certainly haven’t been getting much bang in the past few weeks, as the team’s four-man defensive line has found its top form.

Since Week 10, the Niners have blitzed less than 20 percent of the time, but have a top-five pressure and sack rate per PFF. They are the only team in the NFL to say all three of those things in that period.

This is the same formula that the Niners used to reach the Super Bowl in the 2019 season. Go home with four and have the seven players behind that line blanket the field in a zone defense.

Stafford – who has played the Niners twice during that stretch – has completed only 64 percent of his passes and has thrown four interceptions to go with four touchdowns in those two games.

An additional reason not to blitz Sunday: When the Niners blitz this postseason, it has left Williams on an island each. Dak Prescott takes advantage of a game-changing touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. Aaron Rodgers missed a potential game-win for the first time in the fourth quarter when he didn’t throw Alan Lazard, who had beaten Williams in the slot and stood open in the middle of the field.

Leave a Comment