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Rams Were Caught 'Off Guard' at SoFi Stadium in Week 18 Due to Large Turnout of 49ers Fans

The Rams encountered difficulties communicating at SoFi Stadium due to the large turnout of 49ers fans in Week 18.

The Rams have continued to enhance the growth of its fanbase year-over-year since their arrival to Los Angeles in 2016. The franchise is still re-couping fans in the L.A. market – a city that for 21 years didn't have a professional football team. That meant NFL fans turned to a wide range of teams from across the league for their rooting desires.

Specifically, the Raiders, 49ers and Cowboys dominated the fandom of L.A. throughout the two-decade stretch of not holding a team in this area.

That was evident on Sunday at SoFi Stadium when 49ers fans poured into the Rams' new state-of-the-art palace that opened its doors for spectators for the first time this season.

For the most part, that was uncharted territory, with most home games up to this point being controlled by Rams fans leading up to the regular-season finale. Week 18, the Rams were given a road-like environment, as fans ramped up the noise with L.A. being on offense.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford mentioned after the game that they had some difficulties communicating in the second half due to the rocking environment.

“We took the lead late. Had a chance,” Stafford said after the Rams' 27-24 overtime loss to the 49ers. “Obviously, didn’t end the game with the ball like we could’ve. We had a chance there at the end of the game. I thought our guys did a good job communicating. It was a tough environment for us to communicate in, really, the whole second half. Our guys did a nice job and we got that lead back. Just didn’t finish it the way we can on offense and could’ve – had we gotten a first down there, the game probably would’ve been over.”

The attendance on Sunday was roughly a 60/40 split with the greater being in favor of the 49ers. 

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Sean McVay spoke on behalf of the stadium's environment on Monday, reiterating Stafford's sentiment, admitting that it did catch them by surprise.

“I think it did catch us off guard," McVay said Monday. "I think just because of the way that it's been this year. It’s been a great, great atmosphere, great environment. Yesterday was the same thing, but there was a lot of red there. That was definitely a surprise – I think it's a fair way to put it.”

The Rams will shift their focus towards another NFC West foe for the Wild Card round of the playoffs when the Arizona Cardinals come to town on Monday night.

Arizona's fan base isn't nearly as prominent in southern California as the 49ers, so the noise level with the Rams on offense shouldn’t be much of an issue this time around.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick and Ram Digest on Twitter @NickCothrel & @RamDigestSI for more Rams coverage.