“They got our number … but they have no mental control over us”

The Rams are one Week 18 victory away from winning the NFC West title for the first time since reaching the Super Bowl.

On Their Way: The San Francisco 49ers, a team Los Angeles hasn’t beaten since 2019.

San Francisco is a perfect 5-0 record in its most recent clashes with LA, statistically dominating by a scoring differential of nearly 10 points per game and possessing an average possession advantage of 11 minutes.

In their first meeting this season, San Francisco picked up a surprise victory that started a turnaround for the 49ers, convincingly beating the Rams 31-10. Even with Aaron Donald’s presence – and last season the NFL’s No.1 defense – Jimmy Garoppolo has had five straight wins against the Rams. He’s tied for the third-longest quarterback winning streak against the Rams since the league merged in 1970, according to NFL Research.

That’s a lot of history against the Rams. But a win gives Los Angeles a triumph the franchise has coveted since falling to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

“Since I’ve been here they’ve had our number,” Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey said Thursday, via the team’s transcript. “It’s frustrating, but they don’t have any mind control over us, nothing like that if that’s what you ask. It’s just the way the games have gone. But we go out there confident Sunday. We don’t go there thinking, ‘Ah, man, we’ve lost so many games.’ It’s not our state of mind at all. We’re definitely going to go there confident. ”

The Rams have every right to be confident. After going 0-3 in November, Los Angeles is a perfect 5-0 in December and January. The Rams are reviving the defensive form that propelled Los Angeles to the divisional round last season, allowing just 16.4 points per game during their winning streak. The Rams have a plus-one turnover differential and an eight-plus sack differential in their last five games.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris attributed the time spent on the training ground to Los Angeles’ defensive turnaround over the past five weeks.

“You have better technique, you have better efficiency, you have smaller meetings, you have more time together,” Morris explained Thursday. “It’s more of a visual learning. More learning with the guys and more learning between them. And those things come into play throughout the attrition of the season. And it has worked well for us.”

The Rams will need it to train again this weekend to secure the division crown and a home playoff game at SoFi Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LVI. Otherwise, the door will be left open for the Cardinals to mount a late charge to claim the NFC West throne.


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