INGLEWOOD — 49ers fans came out in droves Sunday at SoFi Stadium, giving their team a home-field advantage in their 27-24 overtime win over the Rams.
Deebo Samuel, who racked up 145 yards from scrimmage, has no love for the Rams, holding a healthy grudge with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He might have started a rivalry with their entire organization after being asked if Sunday felt like a home game at SoFi.
“It definitely did,” Samuel said. “I feel like the Rams pumped noise in because there wasn’t that many Rams fans in here.”
The crowd noise forced the Rams to use a silent count on offense early in the game. It also could have been a reason LA quarterback Matthew Stafford was called for a false start on the second play of the game.
Wide receiver Jauan Jennings hadn't previous experienced the hospitality of the Los Angeles Niners fan base, and was happily surprised. The second-year pro shared that it gave him even more energy.
“Oh yeah, it definitely did,” Jennings said. “It turned me up for sure. I’m always turnt, so it just added a fuel to the fire. I couldn’t wait for them to kick the ball off and get the game started. And just to come out with the win the way we did, it means everything. Shed a few tears, man.”
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan shared that it helped to have the crowd behind his team at crucial moments in the game. Chants for the defense and huge cheers for big 49ers plays were audible behind the thick press-box glass.
“It’s so cool to go to opposing stadiums and see half of it red,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t know how it’d be here in SoFi, but the Coliseum was always some of the best experiences.
“Here I didn’t know what to expect because it was my first time here with fans, but when we came out at the beginning of the game and I saw the same thing that I saw at the Coliseum, it helped. That was pretty cool.”
As the 49ers made their comeback from a 17-point deficit in the second half, the Faithful really started to turn up the volume. Linebacker Fred Warner relayed that even the officials were surprised how much red was in the stands.
“Yeah, it was crazy,” Warner said. “I was standing there in the second half, we were in a TV timeout, and the ref said, ‘Man, who set this up for you guys to have this many fans out here?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. This feels like a home game.'
“They came up big at the end there. You felt it. It felt like a home game.”
Later in the third quarter, after the 49ers had tied the score at 17 apiece, the fans became ravenous. In the Rams' ensuing drive, Stafford was sacked on the first play, and it sounded as loud as Levi’s Stadium. Two plays later, when 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley intercepted a pass, the building started shaking beneath the press box.
“Oh man, it was crazy,” 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead said. “I remember two years ago when we played in the Coliseum how the Niner fans took over the stadium.
"Today was crazy. There was a lot of chaos out there. It was tough to even communicate on defense for us and make changes. They definitely represented. That was great to see all that red in the crowd.”