‘Mediocre Sports’: San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward explains why the Los Angeles Rams handled things ‘the wrong way’
San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward had the better of the Los Angeles Rams in almost every way in nearly three full games of action last season.
San Francisco swept the two-game regular season series. Ward intercepted Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford twice in the first meeting at Levi’s Stadium, driving one home in a dominating 31-10 win.
Then the Niners orchestrated a season-saving overtime win in Week 18, beating the Rams 24-7 in the second half at SoFi Stadium to secure a playoff spot. The win propelled them all the way to the NFC Championship, where the two division rivals met again for a shot at the Super Bowl.
This time, the Niners had the upper hand early on. Ward had knocked out Stafford as the Rams came close to scoring inside the three-yard line. The play helped San Francisco take a 17-7 lead, an advantage the team held into the final minutes of the third quarter.
But then LA got their revenge, moving away in fourth with a 20-17 victory to advance to the Super Bowl.
And in a recent interview with CBS Bay Area, Ward didn’t hold back the disrespect he felt with the way the Rams changed their postgame behavior after the NFC title game.
According to Ward, the Rams showed a lack of sportsmanship in the previous two losses to the Niners, refusing to shake hands. But with their trip to the Super Bowl secured, their air suddenly cleared.
“When you mention the Rams, they beat us in the big game,” Ward said. “It was right before the big show. They wanted to shake hands and do all that once they won, but when we beat them twice during the season, they didn’t want to shake hands. and left. Bad sports, but you know, I get it. I get it.
Ward didn’t single out anyone in particular who was wrong, but went out of his way to praise Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. But these compliments went no further.
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“I just felt like they got it wrong, but it wasn’t everyone,” Ward said. “Like Cooper Kupp, he’s such a great guy…he’s a great guy, but I still don’t like him when we’re on the court.”
As expected, Ward doesn’t like any of the other NFC West rivals. The Rams seem to be at the top of his hate list.
“Them, Arizona, Seattle, whoever. My team and I, we’ll be ready and we don’t like them. We’re not friends, we’re not cool. When we’re on that court, it’s is about business. It’s about getting the job done.”
Ward, who will miss at least the first four weeks of the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, will be out for the Niners’ first game against the Rams this season. San Francisco will travel to SoFi for a game on Week 4 Monday Night Football.
But luckily for him, the Niners host LA in Week 8 on Sunday, October 30.
“We see them twice a year,” he said. “That’s the beauty of sport.”
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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