I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “there are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics,” at some point.
For years stats have been used to start and end sports arguments. Here is a new one for you, there is not a better predictor of wins and losses for the 49ers than this stat: turnover margin.
Since the start of last season, the 49ers are 1-7 when they turn the ball over more than their opponents. When the turnover margin is tied or favors San Francisco they are 12-3.
San Francisco has lost the turnover battle in two of its first three games to start 2022.
While ball security is always important, it takes on added significance against the Rams.
In their three matchups with Los Angles last season, San Francisco won the turnover battle once and tied in the other two.
Looking back on those games it is easy to see the influence of turnovers on the outcome.
In the 49ers 31-10 blowout of the Rams at Levi’s Stadium they forced a pair of Matthew Stafford interceptions and did not commit a single turnover of their own.
During the 2021 regular season finale and NFC Championship game the teams tied in turnover margin. They split those two games, each winning by a three-point margin.
Jimmy Garoppolo has made 46 starts for the 49ers. The veteran quarterback has turned the ball over 48 times, 39 interceptions and nine lost fumbles, in those starts. Against Los Angeles last season, Garoppolo threw three interceptions.
Garoppolo isn’t the only 49er who has been unable to hold on to the football. San Francisco’s offense has recorded at least one fumble in each game this season.
The addition of Matthew Stafford was a major factor in helping Los Angeles win the Super Bowl last season.
Despite his high level of play, Stafford will give opposing defenses opportunities to take the ball away. San Francico fans saw this firsthand as Stafford threw a pair of interceptions in both regular season games against the 49ers last year and added another in the NFC Championship game.
On Monday night the 49ers need to take advantage of the opportunities Matthew Stafford will present them. If they do and hold on to the ball themselves they will come leave with the victory.