Sean McVay, Rams seek to snap six-game losing streak vs. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers in NFC title game

The San Francisco 49ers enter Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams with a six-game winning streak over their division rival.

Since Sean McVay took over the Rams, he's 3-7 against the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan, who McVay worked under in Washington.

The lopsided nature of the rivalry led to McVay being asked Wednesday if Shanahan is in his head.

"No," McVay responded. "What I do have is respect for these guys. They've done a great job. You look at it, you got to play well in that three-and-a-half-hour window that we're allotted. You look at the last time that we played them, (we) didn't finish the game. This is a really good football team. We have a lot of respect for them. We're competing and preparing to the best of our ability to go out and see if we can advance. But this is a really good team. Kyle is an excellent coach. They (have) great players, great coaches, good schemes. It's why they're in the NFC Championship."

Under McVay, the Rams are 18-4 versus the rest of the NFC West, but have been bullied by the 49ers. L.A. hasn't defeated Shanahan's club since Week 17, 2018, when Nick Mullens started for San Francisco.

The Niners have proven to be the more physical squad, pounding the Rams on the ground and beating them up with a fierce front four. In the Week 18 matchup, San Francisco battled from down 17-0 to win 27-24 in OT.

McVay said playing a team for the third time in a season comes with challenges, but it will come down to players making plays.

"I think it's about execution," he said. "I think the key things that are always instrumental in the outcomes of games are going to be vital -- tackling well, trying to break tackles, efficiency on early downs, staying connected on blocks, being able to finish those turnovers and then the situational football. Whether you're talking about red zone, third downs, two-minute end of the half (and) end of the game -- those are the things it's going to be about. Good, clean, sharp execution. And I agree. I think both teams are very familiar. There's good schemes, there's great players. It's why we're in this position. Let's go roll it out and see who plays the best in that three-and-a-half-hour window and gives themselves the chance to advance."

Fair or not, if the Rams fall to the Niners once again, questions about Shanahan having McVay's number will persist.

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