Playoff positions will be decided all around the NFL today and the same is true in St. Louis. The 49ers have already secured a spot in the playoffs, but a win would give them a first-round bye.
Jim Harbaugh has said he won’t rest any players for the postseason because this is a must-win game. But if the 49ers can get out to an early lead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the reserves get some snaps.
Ted Gin, Kyle Williams, Chris Culliver, Patrick Willis, Bruce Miller and Carlos Rogers are all listed as questionable on the injury report while Delanie Walker has been ruled out.
49ers – QB Scott Tolzien, WR Kyle Williams, WR Ted Ginn, CB Shawntae Spencer, TE Delanie Walker, G Mike Person, NT Ian Williams.
Rams – QB A.J. Feeley, QB Sam Bradford, CB Justin King, CB Nate Ness, TE Ben Guidugli, G/T Kevin Hughes, TE Mike McNeil
Vic Fangio said Patrick Willis would play if he’s healthy and Willis will be active today. That should be a big boost for a 49ers defense that shut out the Rams in their previous matchup this season.
Kendall Hunter returned the opening kickoff to the 22. Smith’s first three passes all went to Vernon Davis as the 49ers moved the ball out near midfield. Smith then connected with Michael Crabtree for a 16-yard gain. Akers could not connect on a 48-yard field goal attempt and the 49ers don’t get any points on a promising opening drive.
Kellen Clemens connected with Brandon Lloyd, complete to the SF 38. Jackson picked up 10 yards on a run straight up the middle. Clemens avoided a sack and several defenders to dive in for an 18-yard score.
Rams 7 – 49ers 0
Hunter didn’t field the kickoff cleanly and took a knee for a touchback. The 49ers offense went three and out as the third down pass was incomplete to Brett Swain. Andy Lee drilled a 66-yard punt that bounced out of bounds at the 8-yard line.
The 49ers were able to force a three and out of their own as Justin Smith dropped Clemens on third down. Jones’ punt was short and returned by Reggie Smith to the Rams 33.
Smith hit Hunter on a middle screen pass for a gain of 11. Crabtree then caught a quick out and spun to break two tackles for a gain of 10. Alex Smith was flushed from the pocket on 3rd and goal and followed great blocks by Gore and Peele for an 8-yard touchdown run.
49ers 7 – Rams 7
The Rams picked up 19 on the first play of the drive on a strike to Kendricks.
Standout Stat: The 49ers have dominated time of possession – 9:20 to 5:40.
Highlight Reel: Smith’s touchdown run was certainly the highlight for the 49ers. Smith held up to allow Peele and Gore to get good blocks and Smith dove for the pylon.
Put it in Perspective: The Rams have been able to move the ball against the 49ers with good runs from Jackson and a few deep strikes by Clemens. It feels as if both teams are still feeling it out early on.
The Rams tried a trick pass from Norwood to Clemens, but it was picked off by Brown.
The 49ers capitalized on the good field position as Smith hit Crabtree on a quick out and Crab took it 28 yards for the score.
49ers 14 – Rams 7
The 49ers defense forced a three and out as Brooks threw down Clemens on third down. The 49ers were flagged for a block in the back on the punt and will start their drive at the 33.
Smith connected with Vernon Davis down the right sideline for a gain of 44. The drive stalled after that and David Akers hit a 36-yard field goal to extend the lead.
49ers 17 – Rams 7
The Rams fumbled the snap, but Jackson was able to recover. Smith returned the punt to the 34.
Smith hit Davis on third down, but was tackled well short of the first down and the 49ers go three and out. Lee’s punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
The 49ers defense held the Rams to a three and out and the 49ers will get one more possession with 3:06 remaining in the first half.
The 49ers picked up two first downs, but stalled at the 25. Akers hit from 42 out to give the 49ers a 20-7 lead.
49ers 20 – Rams 7
The Rams had to punt back to the 49ers, but they were content to take a knee and head to the locker room.
Standout Stat: Alex Smith played a very good half of football. He’s 14 of 20 for 158 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. His QB rating is 110.0.
Highlight Reel: It was great to see Crabtree pick up some big yards after the catch on his 28-yard touchdown catch.
Put it in Perspective: After a slow start, the 49ers have responded with 20 unanswered points. The Rams will get the ball to start the half so the 49ers will need a good opening series from their defense.
Jackson ripped off a 27-yard run to open the drive. That was as far as they would get as the 49ers defense forced the punt and nearly intercepted Clemens’ third down pass that was tipped at the line. Smith called for a fair catch at the 9.
On 3rd and 5, Smith hit Crabtree on a slant for 5 yards and a first down. Smith was dropped on the next third down and the 49ers had to punt. The coverage unit did a great job to contain Nick Miller as they brought him down at the 27.
Clemens hit Kendricks for a gain of 22 to open the drive. Clemens picked up another first down, rolling right and hitting Lloyd in front of Goldson. Josh Brown connected on a 49-yard field goal.
49ers 20 – Rams 10
Kendall Hunter returned the kickoff to the 18. The 49ers converted on 3rd and 8 as Smith hit Crabtree crossing. Crab made the first man miss and drew a face mask penalty. Smith then hit Davis for a gain of 34 down to the STL 17. The 49ers faked the field goal attempt and Akers hit Crabtree, who was wide open on the left sideline for a 14-yard touchdown. The Rams never accounted for him as he was never in the huddle.
49ers 27 – Rams 10
Standout Stat: Akers is now 2 0f 2 passing for his career. This was his first touchdown.
Highlight Reel: What a great call by Brad Seely. The 49ers didn’t settle for the field goal, but distanced themselves from the Rams with a TD pass from Akers to Crabtree.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers now have a commanding 17-point lead. If the defense can hold the Rams on their next drive, they should be able to coast the rest of the way.
The Rams promising drive stalled at the 30, but Brown connected on a 48-yard field goal.
49ers 27 – Rams 13
Hunter started the drive with a 7-yard run to the right side. The 49ers sputtered at the 35. Andy Lee continued his exceptional day with a 64-yard punt that was downed at the 1-yard line.
Brown picked off Clemens pass. It’s his second pick today and the first two-interception game of his career.
Anthony Dixon punched it in from one yard out.
49ers 34 – Rams 13
That’s it for the blog. We’ll have the final score update for you on Twitter.
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