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Shanahan beat McVay to hit McCaffrey’s trade


About four minutes into his weekly conference call with local writers, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay was asked about the 49ers’ acquisition of running back Christian McCaffrey.

“Oh (expletive) they have another great player,” McVay said Monday before gaining momentum with his response.

The Rams, defending Super Bowl champions, come off a week off when they host the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium. Last time out they beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. It was McCaffrey’s last game with the Panthers as he gained 69 yards on 13 carries and caught seven passes for 87 more.

McCaffrey was on the trading block and the Rams liked what they saw, just like the 49ers did when they beat Carolina 37-15 on Oct. 9. run even more than the 49ers.

The 49ers were there first, and general manager John Lynch made no secret of the fact that worry about McCaffrey going to the Rams was almost as motivating as bringing him to South Bay to help the Niners.

The fact that the Rams have been doling out draft capital to acquire big-name players in recent years — Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. among them — has accelerated the 49ers’ pursuit.

It’s an open secret that the 49ers were interested in trading for Stafford to replace Jimmy Garoppolo, only for the Rams to sneak in and trade Jared Goff and a slew of draft picks.

“It’s a small company, but it’s a company that has a very competitive group of people,” McVay said. “Sometimes certain moves are made because the No. 1 benefits your team, but it also tries not to strengthen others. I think that’s a good approach. I don’t think we were the first to do that. »

As for McCaffrey on Sunday, McVay can expect a much heavier workload against the Rams than the 21 snaps he got with almost no practice time in a 44-23 loss to the Kansas Chiefs. City.

“I’ve always had respect for his game and his versatility,” McVay said. “I think that’s your first inclination and you know what a great job Kyle and his team are doing at maximizing and utilizing versatile offensive weapons.”

A preview of Sunday’s matchup between two championship contenders who underperformed at the start of Week 8:

GAME ESSENTIALS: 49ers (3-4) vs. Rams (3-3) at SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. (Fox). ODDS: 49ers (-1.5)

Talanoa Hufanga completes a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Rams on Oct. 3. Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

THREE REASONS FOR THE 49ERS’ OPTIMISM

Aries Dominance

The 49ers have won the last seven regular season games against the Rams. McVay has no regular season win over Shanahan. The Rams won the bigger game on Jan. 30, qualifying for the Super Bowl with a 20-17 triumph.

Even in that game, the 49ers had a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter and were intercepted by Jaquaski Tartt to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

Being humiliated by the bosses

That could be a good thing, especially when it comes to defense. Giving up 529 yards and 44 points is something the 49ers defense didn’t think was possible.

The Rams haven’t played nearly to the level of the Chiefs, and 49ers such as rusher Nick Bosa (groin), safety Jimmie Ward (broken hand), Charvarius Ward (groin) and safety Talanoa Hufanga (protocol on concussions) should get in full weeks of practice.

They’ll be more than a little salty about what happened against Patrick Mahomes and Co. and eager to reestablish themselves as one of the NFL’s top defenses.

Stafford will throw the ball to them

When Charles Woodson played for the Green Bay Packers, he liked to say of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler “We know Jay will throw the ball to us.”

The same goes for Stafford against the 49ers. In three regular season games plus the NFC title game, Stafford threw six interceptions and six touchdowns. In last year’s 49ers win at Levi’s, Jimmie Ward had a 27-yard pick. In this year’s win, Hufanga ran 52 yards for a score.

Stafford is 1-3 against the 49ers and his passer rating is below 81.2.

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald, center, celebrates a save against San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) during the second half of an NFC Championship Football game at SoFi Stadium in 'Inglewood on Sunday, January 30, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) celebrates after the Rams’ victory in last year’s NFC Championship game. Pasadena Star-News photo

THREE REASONS FOR THE 49ERS’ PESSIMISM

Get Deebo Untracked

McCaffrey will be much more involved against the Rams after spending much of the red zone and rushing against the Chiefs due to lack of practice time. In theory, this sets up the dream scenario with McCaffrey and Samuel on the field at the same time, with either one finding the wide open spaces as a result.

However, there was a complication on Monday when Shanahan said Samuel was “day to day” with hamstring strain. His practice time might be limited. If it’s bad enough, the 49ers could shut it down with the bye week to get it back to 100%.

Jefferson and Robinson give Rams options

California Daily Newspapers

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