What history says about 49ers trying to beat Rams for third time


It’s no secret: The 49ers have dominated the Los Angeles Rams for the past three seasons.

San Francisco has won six consecutive meetings between the two division rivals, dating back to a 20-7 win at SoFi Stadium on Oct. 13, 2019. The 49ers defeated LA twice during the 2021 regular season – a 31-10 rout in Week 10 and a 27-24 victory in the regular-season finale in which San Francisco rallied back from a 17-point deficit to clinch a playoff spot.

According to Sportradar, Sunday’s NFC Championship Game will mark the sixth occurrence in the Super Bowl era of a team defeating a divisional foe twice in the regular season, only to match up again for a conference title.

Three of the five previous occasions resulted in the 2-0 team improving to 3-0.

It was most recently accomplished by the Tennessee Titans in 1999. Tennessee, in its first season playing with the nickname “Titans,” defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars twice during the regular season and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV after a 33-14 victory over the Jags.

In 1986, coach Bill Parcells and the New York Giants beat Washington twice before ending its season with a 17-0 shutout in the NFC Championship Game.

Four years prior, in 1982, the Miami Dolphins took down the New York Jets in two regular-season clashes. When the teams met again for a conference championship, the Dolphins exited with a 14-0 win.

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However, two teams have saved revenge for the conference title game. The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders topped the Seattle Seahawks 30-14 in the AFC Championship Game to pay back losses of 38-36 and 34-21 in the regular season. In 1969, the Kansas City Chiefs thumped the Oakland Raiders 17-7 for the conference title to erase a pair of previous losses.

There were another four such examples before the Super Bowl era. Three of those four teams who won the first two meetings were victorious in the third.

That means in all, teams with two prior wins over a division rival are 6-3 against that same roster in conference championship games.

What does all this history mean for the 49ers? Not much. Old sports cliches tell us it’s hard to beat a team twice in one season. Three times is even tougher.

But history on the gridiron tells us it’s certainly possible.

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