I hope all the 49ers Faithful had a great Christmas. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video as some of our players sing Frosty the Snowman – priceless!
But, on to the game.
This is probably the 49ers biggest game in quite some time. The 49ers are 5-9, just one game back of the Rams in the NFC West. If the 49ers win and the Seahawks lose to Tampa Bay today, the 49ers will be one more win away from the playoffs. That may seem strange to the fans, but that’s exactly how it’s worked out this year.
Here’s the inactive list for both teams:
49ers - QB David Carr (3rd QB), CB Tramaine Brock, CB William James, S Chris Maragos, DT Will Tukuafu, T Joe Staley, T Alex Boone, TE Nate Byham
Rams - S Michael Lewis, CB Justin King, LB David Nixon, LB Curtis Johnson, G John Greco, WR Mardy Gilyard, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, DT Jermelle Cudjo
With Byham out, Colin Cloherty will make his 49ers debut, as will linebacker Thaddeus Gibson.
My apologies for not having the game blog up sooner – issues with the wireless in the dome.
The Rams got off to a fast start. On the first drive, Amendola got the ball on the end around and heaved it deep. Nate Clements never turned his head around as he ran into the receiver. The pass interference call negated an interception by Reggie Smith. On the next play, Jackson plunged in for a two-yard score.
Rams 7 – 49ers 0
The 49ers couldn’t answer. On their first drive of the game, they picked up one first down, but Smith was sacked by Lauranitis on 3rd down. Spillman made a great play on punt coverage, dropping Amendola at the 24.
After an incompletion on first down, Willis met Jackson at the line of scrimmage for no gain. On 3rd down, Sopoaga hit Bradford as he threw to force an incompletion. Apparently, Sopoaga’s hit warranted a roughing the passer call – very debatable call. The penalty proved costly as Jackson got around the left edge for a 12-yard gain on the next play. On 1st down, Gibson got the carry on the end around. There was space, but Ahmad Brooks made a great play to beat his man and take away a big play. On 3rd and 7, the Rams moved early and will back up five yards for the false start. On 3rd and 12, Bradford completed the pass to Darby underneat, but Spikes was right there to stop him well short of the sticks. Jones’ punt rolled down at the 6. There was an illegal block in the back called against San Francisco so they’ll start the next drive at the 3.
Dixon gained 5 yard on first down to provide a little extra room to operate. On 3rd and 3, Sims was called for a false start. On 3rd and 8, Smith fumbled the snap and fell on it in the end zone for a safety. The 49ers are off to about the worst start they could have imagined.
Rams 9 – 49ers 0
Amendola returned the kick. The ball was knocked loose, but took a Rams bounce as they were able to fall on it at the 35. On 2nd down, Jackson had a huge hole on the right side of the line as he got out to the 49. On the next play, Bradford hit Gibson in open space. Adams was the only man between him and the end zone and made the stop. That tackle could have saved the game – on the next play, Willis sacked Bradford and forced a fumble that was recovered by Manny Lawson at the 32.
1st and 10, Smith was under pressure, threw it away and was called for grounding. On 2nd and 20, Smith rolled to the right and threw to high for Michael Crabtree on a cross route. On 3rd and 20, Westbrook took the handoff on a draw and picked up a couple. What a missed opportunity as the 49ers had a great chance to get the ball back in the game. Amendola called for a fair catch at the 16.
Standout Stat: The 49ers had just one first down in the first quarter.
Highlight Reel: The Rams tried some trickery early on and missed a huge opportunity for a pick as they were called for pass interference on the 2.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers were their own worst enemy in the first quarter as the gave Jackson a gift of a touchdown after the pass interference call. Smith’s fumbled snap also cost the team two points. The 49ers should be happy not to be down by more than 9 as they’ve played poorly. The fumble forced by Willis kept them in the game.
On 3rd and 6, the defense stopped Jackson on a run up the middle to force a punt. Ginn fielded the punt with a man in his face and did well to pick up 13 up the left sideline. The Rams were called for an ineligible man downfield which tacked on five more yards to the return.
The 49ers continued to hurt themselves, with a false start followed by an illegal formation to start the drive. On 2nd and 15, Smith’s pass for Morgan was too far in front of him. On 3rd and 15, Smith took off and followed a block by Rachal, but he was marked one yard shy of the sticks. The offense stayed on the field, but after a measurement, Singletary sent out the punt team. Lee’s punt was fair caught at the 16.
The 49ers continue to play well against Jackson, stopping him for a short gain on first down and a loss on 2nd down. The Rams had to punt. Ginn took the punt back straight up the middle, juke the punt and he went 78 yards to get the 49ers on the board.
Rams 9 – 49ers 7
After a long punt return, Bradford hit Gibson on a deep pass out to the 42. On 3rd and 1, the Rams gave the ball to their fullback who picked up just enough for the first down. On their next 3rd down, with 4 yards to go, Bradford overthrew Amendola as Clements had tight coverage. Josh Brown’s 43-yard field goal was good.
Rams 12 – 49ers 7
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 20. Smith was sacked and dropped the ball on first down. Fortunately, Sims was there to recover it. Westbrook got the carry on 2nd down and was able to pick up 9. On 3rd and 13, Smith completed to Vernon Davis as he crossed toward the right sideline for a first down and a gain of 25. On 3rd and 12, Smith stepped up and hit Crabtree who made one man miss and went 60 yards for another 49ers touchdown.
49ers 14 – Rams 12
Brown tripped up Amendola on the kickoff at the 23. Spencer nearly had a pick on 1st down, but juggled the ball as went out of bounds along the left sideline. On 3rd and 4, Bradford tried to hit Amendola, but Willis arrived at the same time to prevent the completion. Ginn couldn’t duplicate the success he had on the last punt return, picking up just a couple back to the 27.
On 1st down, Smith hit Crabtree quick to the left side for a gain of 5. Westbrook got the carry on 2nd down and picked up 3. Smith’s pass on 3rd down was batted down at the line of scrimmage. Brown just barely prevented the 62-yard punt by Lee from rolling into the end zone and it was downed at the 3.
Jackson got the carry on 1st down and was stopped for no gain as the Rams appear content to run out the clock. Jackson got the carry once again as the first half came to a close.
Standout Stat: The 49ers still have just three first downs to 10 by the Rams.
Highlight Reel: It was great to see Ginn return a punt for a touchdown in two straight weeks…but this one wasn’t called back.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have a two point halftime lead thanks to explosive plays by Ginn and Crabtree The defense has held St. Louis to just 150 total yards in the first half to keep the game close, but it would be good to see the 49ers start sustaining drives in the second half. They’ll get the ball to start the half.
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 20. On 1st down, the 49ers came with a power look and Dixon plunged forward to pick up 2. On 2nd down, Smith had Davis wide open, but the pass skipped low. On 3rd and 8, Mike Johnson dialed up a quarterback draw. Westbrook had a great block and Smith picked up 10. On 1st down, Dixon picked up 2 as the Rams defended the run well. On 3rd and 8, Smith had Crabtree open on a slant, but overthrew him and the pass went right to Otogwe for the pick.
On 1st down at the SF41, Bradford threw a nice ball to Gibson in between the corner and the safety, but he couldn’t make the catch. Gibson made the catch on 2nd down on a comeback and picked up 9. On 3rd and 1, the pressure couldn’t get to Bradford in time as he hit Jackson for a gain of 8 down to the 23. Bradford hit Amendola on a swing pass on the next play for a gain of 10. On 2nd down, Bradford stepped up as Spikes batted down the pass before it could get to its target. Clements had great coverage on Amendola to defend the 3rd down slant route by Amendola. Josh Brown connected on the 30-yard field goal to put the Rams back on top.
Rams 15 – 49ers 14
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 25. On 1st down, Smith hit Crabbtree on an out route that he threw a bit too far out of bounds. Crabtree made the catch, but couldn’t get his feet down. Smith tried to scramble on 3rd down, but was brought down from behind for a short gain. Amendola returned the kick to the 29, but it was called back for a block in the back and the Rams will start their drive at the 7.
On 2nd down, Bradford hit Fells over the middle for a gain of 6. On 3rd down, the 49ers had blown coverage as Robinson was wide open for a 17-yard completion. On the next play, Bradford threw a nice ball to Alexander for a gain of 8. Alexander was open again on 2nd down as he sat down in a hole in the zone for a gain of 17. Bradford hit Amendola on the next play. Goldson drilled him, but after a gain of 9. Bradfored completed once again, this time hitting Jackson underneath for what would have been a first down, but it was called back for offensive pass interference. On 2nd and 10, Bradford hit Amendola on a comeback and Willis made the tackle after a gain of 5. On 3rd and 5, Bradford hit Darby out of the backfield but Willis was there to drop him for a loss of 5. Ginn called for the fair catch and was tackled nonetheless. The officials didn’t throw the flag initially, but the Rams were eventually called for the foul.
On 1st down, Smith was pressured, backpedaled and still somehow got the ball to Vernon Davis who picked up 49. On the next play, Smith hit Crabtree crossing to the right side. It was a great throw with tight coverage and gained 28 yards. On 1st and 10 at the 22, Smith hit Crabtree along the left sideline, but he couldn’t haul it in. On 2nd down, Smith’s pass was behind Davis and nearly intercepted. On 3rd and 10, Smith threw quick to Crabtree on the left side of the formation for a gain of 6. Jeff Reed’s 34-yard field goal missed badly to the left.
Bradford hit Fell to begin the drive as he gained 11 up the right sideline and that’s the last play of the quarter.
Standout Stat: Troy Smith is just 7 of 19 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
Highlight Reel: The play Smith made on the first play of the 2nd drive was impressive, backpedaling and still having enough arm to get it to Davis for a gain of 49.
Put it in Perspective: Reed’s missed field goal could come back to cost them. The 49ers are living a dying by the big play. If they can stop the Rams on this drive, they’ll be a few explosive plays away from retaking the lead. They still need more consistency on their drives. The Rams have possessed the ball for nearly 9 more minutes than the 49ers to this point.
On 3rd and 7, Bradford hit Amendola over the middle, but Clements was right there to bring up 4th down. Ginn called for the fair catch at the 14.
On 1st down, Dixon had a hole up the middle and dove forward for 5 yards. Dixon picked up 3 more on 2nd down. On 3rd and 2, James Hall beat Sims on the left side and sacked Smith who fumbled the ball. The 49ers recovered the ball. It was a 62-yard punt by Lee and Amendola picked up 9 on the return to the 32
On 2nd down, Bradford hit Alexander who slipped a tackle and dragged defenders for a gain of 17. On the next play, Alexander beat Spencer. Alexander initially went down after the catch, but Spencer never touched him and Alexander got back up and walked in for the score. The 49ers challenged the play – Spencer never touched him, but thankfully Alexander had his heel on the line as he stood up. The ball was placed at the 4. It wouldn’t matter though – on the next play, Bradford rolled right and hit Robinson in the end zone for the score.
Rams 22 – 49ers 14
Alex Smith entered the game at quarterback for the 49ers. On his first play, Smith hit Westbrook out of the backfield for a gain of 5. Westbrook got the carry on 2nd down as he bounced it to the left sideline and ran over a defender after a gain of 8. On the next play, Smith stepped up and hit Morgan on a flag route down to the STL 35 – it was a gain of 33. On 3rd and 11, Smith hit Delanie walker who turned up field for a gain of 4. Reed couldn’t make the shorter attempt, but he made good on this 47-yard field goal.
Rams 22 – 49ers 17
Not a good time for a special teams mistake – Amendola returns it all the way to the 49ers 12. Two runs by Lackson netted just 3 yards. On 3rd and 7, Jackson was stuffed once again, this time on a toss to the left side. The 49ers called timeout with 3:54 to play. Brown’s 28-yard field goal was good.
Rams 25 – 49ers 17
Ginn returned the kicke to the 23. On 2nd down, Smith nearly hit Davis down the middle, but the safety had good coverage and arrived at the same time. On 3rd down, Smith completed to Davis for a gain of 16. On the next play, Smith made a great pplay to duck and avoid the rush and get the ball to Crabtree for a gain of 18. The 49ers were called for a false start on the next play. On 1st and 15, Smith’s pass for Westbrook on a crossing route was incomplete. On 2nd down, Smith hit Walker who made a nice diving catch to gain 6. On 3rd down, Smith had the ball knocked out from behind and the Rams recovered.
Gibson picked up a valuable first down for St. Louis, leaping for the first down on the end around. Jackson picked up a couple to bring up the two-minute warning. On 2nd down, Robinson took the reverese and Reggie Smith was right there for the tackle and loss of 5. Jackson was stopped for a shot gain on 3rd down and the 49ers call timeout with 1:13 remaining. Ginn called for the fair catch at the 19.
With 1:06 left, Smith hit Crabtree for a gain of 9. On 2nd down, Smith hit Morgan who got the first down and was ruled in bounds. With 29 second left, Smith tried to scramble and was sacked. Smith spiked the ball to stop the clock with 9 seconds left. On 4th down, Smith hit Ginn. It looked like he got out of bounds, but it was ruled in bounds and the 49ers playoff hopes end in St. Louis.
Posted in Gameday | 384 Comments »