The San Francisco 49ers came from behind on the road to defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 27-24, in overtime in Week 18 and earned a playoff spot in the process. While the game, on paper, was an away one for the Niners, Rams head coach Sean McVay didn’t exactly feel at home at SoFi Stadium.
Following the Rams’ loss, McVay said that the number of 49ers fans in attendance at SoFi Stadium caught the Rams “off guard.”
“It did catch us off guard,” McVay said Monday. “Just because of the way that it’s been this year. It’s been great, great atmosphere, great environment. Yesterday was the same thing, but there was a lot of red there. That was definitely a surprise.”
The Rams announced an official attendance of 74,447 fans at Sunday’s game. There’s no way to compute how many of those in attendance were 49ers fans, but Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, like McVay, noticed that the road team traveled well.
“It was a tough environment for us to communicate in really the whole second half,” Stafford said.
Making matter worse was that, according to McVay, Stafford hurt his toe during the game — which altered some of the plays that were called for the Rams offense. That, plus the loud crowd, made the environment harder for the Rams offense to play in. Stafford finished the game completing 21-of-32 passes for 238 yards to go along with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
“It wasn’t like he was going to come out of the game,” McVay said of the injury. “There’s just certain things that maybe you would potentially call on those scenarios that you’re not as comfortable with the ability to execute at the level that you want.”
Despite the loss, the Rams still were able to win the NFC West because the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Arizona Cardinals. So now on Monday, the Rams will host the Cardinals in an NFC Wild Card matchup. Maybe this one will be a true home game for the Rams.