49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo gets rid of ball quickly vs. Rams, a familiar foe

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Jimmy G gets rid of ball quickly against familiar foe Rams originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- It is difficult to imagine there are two teams that know each other better than the 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.

When the teams square off on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium, it’ll be their third meeting within a span of 12 weeks.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo knows enough from playing against the Rams that he has to get rid of the ball quickly on pass plays with Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd and, now, Von Miller lining up against him.

Coach Kyle Shanahan will again try to strike a mix of a running game that controls the clock with a mixture of pass plays at every depth that leaves the Rams defense guessing.

In two regular-season meetings, Garoppolo got rid of the football on pass plays in an average of 2.29 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus. In the rest of his regular-season games, Garoppolo held onto the ball for an average of 2.57 seconds. In two games, the Rams sacked Garoppolo four times for minus-29 yards.

“Kyle is aggressive in nature, so our game plan usually dictates that a little bit,” Garoppolo said. “But as the game goes, you’ve just got to feel the pocket and you never want to go into the game saying, ‘I have to throw it in two seconds, I have to throw it in three seconds.’

“It’s more of a feel thing. As the game goes, you get a feel talking to the O-Line on the sideline, how they're feeling about it, all that stuff. And it all is played into consideration, but if you get the ball out, it makes everyone's job easier.”

The coaches, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, worked with each other for years and remain close. The players know each other. Both teams have a good handle on the other's strengths and weaknesses.

So how does Garoppolo begin the process of preparing for such a familiar foe?

“I think you always go back and watch the prior games,” Garoppolo said. “That's kind of where it starts and then you kind of just take it from there.”

The 49ers enter Sunday’s game on a six-game win streak against the Rams, which dates back to Week 6 of San Francisco’s 2019 Super Bowl season.

The most-important victory during that streak came in Week 18, when the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit to pull off a season-saving 27-24 victory in overtime. Garoppolo, playing his first game with a torn ligament in his right thumb, threw for 316 yards and was clutch down the stretch.

RELATED: Shanahan sees Jimmy G's aggressiveness as more gift than curse

This season, the Rams won the NFC West with a 12-5 record, and moved to within one victory over the Super Bowl with playoff wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“The games that they've played recently you take into account, but you there's a lot of football that they've played throughout this whole season, so you don't want to bog yourself down and be too overwhelmed with all the stuff,” Garoppolo said. “So I think there is a fine line of you want to study the tape as well as you can.

“And we know these guys as well as possible, playing them for a third time now, nothing will really surprise us, I wouldn't say.”

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