The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers will meet for the second time in the 2021 NFL season, with so much at stake. The Niners are fighting for a playoff spot, while the Rams will try to lock up the NFC West title. This will be one of the best matchups of Week 18, and there’s tension on both sides. Beef has been brewing between Deebo Samuel and Aaron Donald. Samuel’s latest comments added fuel to the fire.
Deebo Samuel doesn’t want to talk to Aaron Donald
Deebo Samuel hasn’t forgotten the time that Aaron Donald slighted him.
After a 2020 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, reporters asked the LA Rams’ defensive tackle about Samuel’s impact on the game. Donald’s comments definitely ruffled some feathers.
“Who? Who’s that?” asked Donald. It’s unclear if the 6-time All-Pro selection actually knew who the Niners wideout was at the time. If he didn’t before, Samuel says Donald knows him now.
The South Carolina product had a huge game against the Rams in San Francisco’s Week 10 victory on Monday Night Football. He caught five passes for 97 yards and one touchdown. Samuel also picked up 36 yards and another score on the ground.
In a press conference leading up to the Week 18 rematch, reporters asked Samuel if he wanted to hash out differences with Donald. The 49ers star responded just as you’d expect him to.
“No, I’m not pressed for a conversation,” Samuel said per NBC Sports Bay Area. “I don’t know the guy. Obviously, he don’t know who I am, which he should. I don’t know. I just don’t walk up to people and be like, ‘Hey, how you doing? I’m Deebo.’ I’m not that type of guy or whatever. He’s an opponent, so I don’t know why I would want to have a conversation with the guy.”
The Pro Bowl wide receiver is all business heading into the 2021 season finale.
Do the 49ers have the Rams’ number?
Deebo Samuel is impressively 5-0 against Aaron Donald and the LA Rams in his career. He will look to keep the streak alive in Week 18, with an NFC wild-card spot on the line.
The San Francisco 49ers seem to have the LA Rams’ number lately. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has won five straight games against Sean McVay, including the 31-10 beatdown earlier in the 2021 season.
The Niners stunned the Rams in the first meeting between the NFC West foes. San Francisco entered the game with a 3-5 record. LA was 7-2 and had recently added Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix.
The Rams were the far superior football team on paper, but the 49ers came in with a great game plan and executed it to perfection.
The Niners rushed for 156 yards, which took a great deal of pressure off of Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulders. They dominated the time of possession battle 39:03 to 20:57.
On the other side of the ball, San Francisco limited the effectiveness of the Rams’ passing attack. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ unit played one of its best games of the season, picking off Matthew Stafford twice.
The 49ers are fighting for a playoff spot, but they match up well with LA, which could bode well for their chances in Week 18.
San Francisco needs a huge game from the Pro Bowl receiver
Both of these teams have something meaningful to play for in the 2021 season finale. However, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the San Francisco 49ers.
The Niners will need another monster game from Deebo Samuel to sweep the season series. The 25-year-old wideout has enjoyed the most productive season of his young NFL career.
Samuel has recorded 73 receptions for 1,310 yards and six touchdowns. He also has 320 rushing yards and seven scores on 51 carries. Expect Kyle Shanahan to get the first-time Pro Bowler involved early and often against the Rams.
With Samuel getting more involved in the running game, he could potentially cross paths with Aaron Donald at some point. It would be fun to see that interaction.
Tight end George Kittle says Deebo Samuel takes his game to another level when playing against the NFC West rivals.
“I think Deebo is different when he plays the Rams,” said Kittle. “There is a little bit of disrespect there. I think Deebo is a hell of a football player, and people should know who he is and what his name is. I don’t know if he tries a little extra in these games against the Rams or anything like that, but you can definitely feel his intensity. I’m looking forward to seeing a spicy Deebo.”
The 49ers’ swiss-army knife possesses game-breaking ability, and San Francisco should give him every opportunity to remind Aaron Donald who he is.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.