Much of the conversation during Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald's Wednesday virtual media session focused on his atypical lack of production. Aside from two quarterback hits against the Seahawks in Week 10, he hasn't recorded a tackle or sack in each of Los Angeles' last two games.
Donald's impact, however, isn't always measured by the stat sheet alone because of his dominance and the attention he commands, which is why 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan still expects the same Donald he's been accustomed to seeing over the last three years heading into Sunday's game at SoFi Stadium.
"Absolutely not," Shanahan said on a conference call with Rams beat writers Wednesday, when asked if he had seen a drop-off in Donald's play. "I wish, but no I haven't. I've been waiting a long time for that, doesn't seem like it's happening."
Donald still has nine sacks this season, tied with Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt for third in the NFL entering Week 12.
Although Donald didn't have one against the 49ers in Week 6, he had 11.5 total in his previous 11 games against them. Week 6 was also the first time he failed to get a sack against San Francisco since Week 1 of the 2016 season, having recorded at least one in six straight games against the 49ers.
Shanahan also doesn't see much of a difference between the Rams team the 49ers hosted six weeks ago and the one they will be facing on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Like the first meeting, L.A. heads into the second riding a two-game win streak, coming off a strong defensive performance.
"I thought they were really good then and I think they're really good now," Shanahan said. "They've been able to stay healthy most of this year, so they've been able to keep their continuity. When you do that, guys to me just tend to get better and better within the scheme of both sides. I felt that way very strongly a month ago and it's a month later and they've only gotten better."
Rams quarterback Jared Goff has been part of that improvement, bouncing back from a challenging Week 8 contest against the Miami Dolphins with back-to-back games of at least 300 passing yards while completing 75 percent of his passes.
"He's playing very well," Shanahan said. "I've always been a huge fan of Goff. I mean, Miami got after us with some of the blitzes in those situations too. But usually when he's in a good situation with protection and stuff and they got the right look on and someone's open, he hangs in there and knows where to go with the ball."
Shanahan and the 49ers have won each of the last three games in this series, but he doesn't think anything specific has contributed to that or that it has any bearing on this week's game. He expects another competitive matchup on Sunday.
"I mean, we had a real good team last year, so did they," Shanahan said. "They were two hard fought games, especially that second one coming down to the wire. I think earlier this year, it was a good game, our guys played well. But the Rams, they had our number when I first started out. They're playing as good as any team in the league right now. It's going to be a huge challenge for our team this week."