Well, here we go with our 3rd shot at Sean McVay. Our first victory over the Rams this year was the catalyst that ignited the team and spurred them on to this continuing run of winning football. The last victory, the demoralizing comeback, of course got us into the big dance. Really, our first playoff game. So, here we are in the NFC Championship game. Hard to believe after the rollercoaster season the team, and Jimmy G, had. As they say, it is better to finish strong rather than start strong, and the 3-5 start is a distant memory.
But what of the challenge of beating a team three times in a season? Not gonna look up the stats, but the 49ers clearly have a huge psychological advantage over the Rams. Seeing as the Niners and Kyle Shanahan are 6-0 in the last 6 meetings dating back to the last playoff run of 2019 over Sean McVay and the Rams leads me to think we are in their heads. Big time. Like Pete Carroll and Shanahan, the onus is squarely on McVay to turn the tide somehow.
Seeing as the 49ers are gonna look to establish the run early, I really would like to see us run misdirection plays to start the game. They are gonna play the run for all it is worth, and Shanny needs to throw some weird stuff at LA. Even play-action drag routes with Kittle/Jennings/Mitchell as you sent the other WRs deep. Come out with multiple WR formations on 1st down and spread the defense out. Run bunched formations and throw a jet sweep.
You know what would be a trip? Take a page from the Andy Reid Philadelphia Eagles and throw deep on the 1st play. With Deebo as the passer. I don’t know if Reid did it to anyone else, but every game against SF he would go deep on the 1st play. Home or road, rain or shine. Every time. They had DeSean Jackson, so it was pretty effective.
As this season has worn on, I really have to give Shanny grudging kudos as he HAS made in-game adjustments to get the team rolling. In-season adjustments as well. Using Deebo as a runner has been a very large part of the winning streak we are on.
On defense, moving AA strictly as an inside run-stuffer (along with DJ Jones) has shored up the D line. Moving Bosa all over the line has helped his effectiveness as well. The other huge improvement is the defensive secondary. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, the back end of the defense has been a huge liability. But with the emergence of Thomas Ambry and regaining Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams, the secondary has markedly improved over the early disaster games that were the Indy and Seattle games.