49ers vs. Rams Matchup History: The five biggest games of all time

The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams have a long history of significant games. The latest is Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

The Battle of California is back on, and the stakes have never been higher. The Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, and it’s the 146th meeting in a historic rivalry that dates back to 1950.

Five biggest 49ers-Rams games in history

The 49ers lead the all-time series 75-67-3 and have won the only playoff meeting between them. Additionally, they have a huge advantage in Lombardi Trophies (5 to 1). The Rams are slight favorites this time around, but as we’ve learned in this rivalry, take nothing for granted.

Jan. 2, 1983: Rams 21, 49ers 20

The defending Super Bowl champion 49ers needed a win to return to the playoffs. The Rams had lost four straight and were playing out the string of a dreadful season. Should have been a San Francisco blowout, right? Think again. The Niners surrendered a 13-point halftime lead, and their furious rally fell short when Ivory Sully blocked Ray Wersching’s go-ahead field-goal attempt with 1:53 remaining.

Dec. 14, 1984: 49ers 19, Rams 16

The Niners had the NFC’s No. 1 seed locked up for weeks, but Bill Walsh wasn’t about to rest his guys. Not with history on the line. The Niners entered the game 14-1, and never before had a team gone 15-1 in an NFL season. They became the first by surviving a late Rams rally, sealing the game when Gary Johnson sacked Jack Kemp for a safety late in regulation.

The Rams made some history of their own that day. Eric Dickerson went for 98 yards to set the new NFL rushing record (2,105, which still stands today).

Jan. 14, 1990: 49ers 30, Rams 3 (NFC Championship Game)

Let’s hope Sunday’s game is closer than the last time these teams met with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Rams had won two road playoff games to advance to the NFC Championship Game, but their journey ended when they ran into a buzzsaw. Joe Montana torched the Rams for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26-of-30 passing, and Jim Everett threw 3 interceptions in a lopsided San Francisco victory.

The Niners would go on to win the Super Bowl for the fourth time in nine years. The Rams wouldn’t return to the playoffs for another decade.

Oct. 10, 1999: Rams 42, 49ers 20

Talk about catharsis. The Rams were the little brothers of the NFC West for a decade, losing to the Niners an impossible 17 straight times and going a combined 54 games under .500 from 1990-1998.

But the arrival of Kurt Warner changed everything, including the dynamic of this series. Warner torched the Niners for 323 yards and 5 touchdowns, and the Rams picked off Jeff Garcia 3 times to snap the long losing streak. The win helped propel the Rams to their only Super Bowl title.

Jan. 9, 2022: 49ers 27, Rams 24

We hate to be prisoners to the moment here at PFN, but any list that doesn’t include this recent instant classic is incomplete. Without it, the 49ers would be watching the NFC Championship Game on TV instead of participating in it. Facing a win-and-get-in situation in Week 18, the Niners trailed 17-0 late in the first half before rallying to an overtime victory in a game dripping with drama.

Jimmy Garoppolo directed a 5-play, 88-yard, game-tying touchdown drive in the final two minutes of regulation. Then, Robbie Gould boomed through a 24-yard field goal in overtime to send San Francisco to the playoffs for the 28th time.

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