High stakes for San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but also with the added spice of competition.
Any match against NFC West is thrilling, but Week 18’s game between the Niners and the Los Angeles Rams has the added weight of playoff significance. For San Francisco, a win guarantees a spot in the Wild Card. For Los Angeles, a win that elevates the NFC West division title.
The last time the two teams met was on November 15, when the 49ers rocked the Rams with a 31-10 win. San Francisco safety Jimmie Ward showed safety, knocking out LA quarterback Matthew Stafford twice as the Niners defense was ravaged.
During Ward’s first intercept, safety didn’t have to do much for a Stafford hitman. However, as he darted forward to receive the ball, the Rams’ receiver, Odell Beckham Jr, made a big save as he made it.
After the match, Ward was asked how he felt about the interception. Instead of actually talking about the play, the 30-year-old player dropped a message about his plans for Beckham Jr.
“I was just thinking about how Odell [Beckham Jr.] came and hit me,” Ward said. “How am I [going to] have to pay him back the next time I see him. I waited a long time to usefully hit him so I could catch him. ”
That message is clear. Now, 49ers fans will wait to see if Ward gets his chance on Sunday.
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Jimmie Ward Works on Sundays
There is some doubt that the safety will give him a chance to return the money to Beckham Jr due to a positive test result for COVID-19. However, the NFL’s latest protocols did provide enough safe time to recover, and he was activated Saturday afternoon, according to team.
And it’s not that Ward will return. Corners Dontae Johnson and K’Waun Williams are also part of the team’s move plan, which is a huge relief considering that Williams is the main corner and Johnson has a chance to start on Sunday.
But the biggest addition besides Ward is Emmanuel Moseley, who missed about a month of competition and training due to a sprained ankle in early December.
On the current roster, Moseley is the best striker the 49ers have. It was a guy who started to confront him with Johnson, Josh Norman and Ambry Thomas all likely to face the likes of Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp.
The safety of the 49ers also called out Matthew Stafford
Besides speaking about Odell, Ward also took the time to say that he was not overly impressed with Stafford’s play.
Back in the summer, he was asked about adding the former Detroit Lions to the lineup.
“I like Stafford, but they’re still going to have the same players he’s going to pitch,” Ward said every NBC Sports. “He’s the same quarterback that was at the Detroit Lions and they still haven’t made it to the knockouts, and they have Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. What’s the problem there in Detroit? Would you blame the city? What’s the problem? Is that money? If their city doesn’t have enough money to get players there, why have an entire NFL team? That’s a big question mark.”
He’s a bit lost in that answer, but the point is similar to Ward: why don’t Stafford and the Lions get the job done? That’s not for this article to decide, but it does add another level of hostility to an already tense match.
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