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49ers-Rams Finish in 24-24 Tie

Posted Nov 11, 2012

Many were baffled, most were confused. When the clock showed zeros at the end of overtime, the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams finished a hard-fought game with the same number of points.

Dashon Goldson wanted to play double-overtime, but NFL rules don’t allow it.

In the process of playing the NFL’s first tied ball game since 2008, both teams missed overtime field goals that would’ve given their respective clubs a much-needed NFC West victory. But instead of finding themselves in the win column Monday morning, both David Akers and Greg Zuerlein missed 41 and 58-yard field goals, respectively.

And after four hours of action, the clock eventually ran out on both teams, who couldn’t lay claim to being the victors following a 24-24 tie.

“There are winners and there are losers,” Goldson went on to say. “I’ve never heard of a tie in football.”

The 49ers will have to come to grips with Sunday’s result, one that puts them at 6-2-1 and on the year and St. Louis at 3-5-1.

“It was a good football game,” Jim Harbaugh said, clearly unsure of how to feel about a competitive divisional battle. “Both teams had opportunities. Both teams battled… I wouldn’t put it on any one thing; I know the effort was there.”

Effort also was needed from San Francisco’s reserves.

With Alex Smith suffering a concussion early in the game while picking up a 4th-and-1 on a quarterback sneak, Colin Kaepernick was called into action early in the second quarter.

The second-year quarterback would go on to lead the 49ers to a game-tying field goal to close out regulation, a 33-yard kick from Akers with three seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Kaepernick also led the 49ers on an overtime drive to set up a 41-yard Akers attempt, but the veteran kicker pushed the ball wide past the left upright to give possession back to the Rams.

“There is a lot of room for improvement and a lot of things I would like to do differently,” Kaepernick said of his most extensive playing time of his career. “I just went out there and tried to do what I could to help this team.”

St. Louis was also unable to find the end zone in the final 15-minute frame leading to both teams having to settle with an unusual outcome. The 49ers experienced their first tie game in team history since a 10-10 tie on Oct. 19, 1986 against the Atlanta Falcons.

“They made plays, we made plays and it equaled out in the end,” Harbaugh said to sum it up.

St. Louis made the biggest game-changing plays to start what would become a competitive contest.

While the 49ers went three-and-out to start the game, the Rams went right to work. St. Louis marched down the field to score on a 36-yard touchdown pass on its opening possession. Sam Bradford found an open target as rookie wide receiver Brian Quick got past Chris Culliver at the line to haul in a pass down the right sideline for an easy score.

Bradford’s touchdown pass capped a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive to start the game. It was the first touchdown scored by a division opponent against the 49ers defense and the first touchdown allowed by the group in nine quarters of play.

St. Louis continued to pound the ball on their second possession, a 32-yard run by rookie running back Daryl Richardson highlighted the effort. The early success was further established on Steven Jackson’s 7-yard touchdown run where the veteran running back ran virtually untouched through the middle of San Francisco’s vaunted defense to grab the Rams a two-touchdown lead.

“Before we knew it, they got up on us 14-0,” said Patrick Willis, who finished with seven tackles and one pass breakup. “I don’t what to make of this game, but everything happens for a reason. Today, we weren’t clicking on all cylinders.”

With a physical run game working, the Rams picked up more first downs than the 49ers (27 to 25) and out-gained the home team in total yards (458 to 351).

Trailing by 14 early, the 49ers were faced with a key 4th-and-1 from St. Louis’ 48-yard line. It turned out to be the play that injured the starting quarterback. The 49ers went for it and picked it up when Smith picked up 1 yard on a quarterback sneak.

“He said his vision was blurred,” Harbaugh said of his quarterback, who will undergo the NFL’s concussion testing protocol before it’s determined when he’ll be ready to play again.

Smith, however, remained in the game following the fourth-down run. He threw a 14-yard, third-down play to Michael Crabtree for a score, giving the fourth-year wideout touchdown catches in his last five outings against St. Louis.

Crabtree caught a short pass from Smith and made Rams safety Craig Dahl fall immediately as the 49ers wideout cut back to the inside of the field where he ran freely for the touchdown, his third in the past two games.

After the scoring drive, Smith mentioned the blurry vision to 49ers doctors. From there, Smith left the game, completing 7 of 8 passes for 72 yards on the day.

Kaepernick admitted it took him a bit to find his comfort zone in the pocket, but the athletic quarterback made plays on the run and in the pocket during his time under center.

The second-year player finished the game completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and added 66 rushing yards and a 7-yard touchdown run of his own.

“It did take a little bit to get in the flow of the game,” Kaepernick said, “I mean from there, I felt comfortable with everything that we were doing.”

Frank Gore added 97 yards on 21 carries, but was not the most productive runner on the field this time. The best runner on the day was Steven Jackson who carried the ball 29 times for a hard-earned 101 yards on the day.

“People sleep on him,” defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said of Jackson. “He’s one of the best backs in the league, hands-down. No matter what, he’s going to show his talent.”

Penalties and hard-earned yards from Jackson earned the Rams another trip into the red zone late in the third quarter.

Aldon Smith, who finished the day with a game-high 2.0 sacks, tackled Jackson on 2nd-and-goal for a 4-yard loss and the 49ers forced a Bradford incompletion on the next play. The red zone stop resulted in a 27-yard kick from Zuerlein to make it a 17-7 Rams lead.

Kaepernick called his own number to finish San Francisco’s next scoring drive out, running around the right edge of the Rams defense to find pay dirt on a 7-yard touchdown with less than nine minutes left in the game. Mario Manningham provided an excellent block to seal cornerback Cortland Finnegan from making a tackle.

Special teams gave San Francisco a huge boost on the ensuing kick. Rams rookie Isaiah Pead was stripped along the home sideline by cornerback Tramaine Brock. The well-timed hit jarred the ball out for safety Darcel McBath to recover at St. Louis’ 20-yard line.

Gore cashed in on the next play from 20 yards, a perfectly designed run to the right side of the line. The 49ers running back was untouched along the sideline to give San Francisco its first lead of the game, up 21-17 with 8:23 to play.

Anthony Davis, Vernon Davis and Bruce Miller paved the way for Gore’s fifth rushing score of the year, one that puts him three away for sole possession of the franchise’s all-time rushing touchdown lead.

San Francisco appeared to have the game in control with St. Louis lining up for a punt, but a second fake-punt play was executed to perfection, setting up a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis to give the Rams a three-point lead with 1:09 left to play.

Kaepernick led the 49ers to a game-tying field goal, but did not lead any scoring drives in overtime.

As a result, the 49ers are left to wonder what could have been.

“It feels weird,” linebacker Ahmad Brooks admitted. “It actually feels like a loss to tell you the truth. That’s just how it feels, doesn’t feel like we won the game, but you know we didn’t lose. It didn’t go in the record as a loss, but if it feels like a loss because we should have won the game.”

San Francisco will look to get back into the win column next Monday night when the Chicago Bears visit town for the 49ers’ third primetime game of the season.  

“Put this aside,” Jean Francois said. “We can’t worry about this one. We’ll see them (St. Louis) down the road. Now it’s time to lock up with Chicago.”

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