1st QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS, 49ERS 7 – RAMS 0
St. Louis' offense went no-huddle their first couple of plays and needed just two to get into 49ers territory with Antonio Pittman finding a huge gap over the left side of the 49ers defense for a 24-yard pickup. After picking up a 3rd down conversion, the Rams were set up at the 49ers 36-yardline. Walt Harris broke up a post pattern to rookie Donnie Avery that would have been a touchdown and then on 3rd down, Roderick Green burst free up the gut to hurry a Marc Bulger throw. The pass was completed, but shy of the first down and Josh Brown's 48-yard field goal try was wide left.
The offense took over on downs at the 38-yardline. After a short carry, Frank Gore sprung through the line for a huge 37-yard gain inside the 20-yardline, but safety OJ Atogwe popped
the ball out which was then recovered by Jason Craft at the 13-yardline.
The defense came out with a big three and out stop with linebacker Joe Staley using his speed and acceleration to close on a 3rd and 1 pass to Kenneth Darby for no gain.
Allen Rossum caught the punt, made the first guy miss and then used a block from Tarell Brown to pick up 29-yards on his first punt return of the game. He was chased out of bounds at the Rams 34-yardline.
Bryant Johnson picked up 9 yards on a slant reception from Shaun Hill. Credit Johnson for holding on to the ball because he had a few defenders trying to rip it away. Hill took a shot in the end zone for Isaac Bruce, but the pass didn't stand a chance since Craft had held onto his former teammate. That gave the 49ers the ball at the 6-yardline. On 2nd and 5, Gore burst right up the middle for the touchdown.
Donald Strickland forced a Travis Minor fumble in the ensuing kickoff but Minor was able to fall on the ball.
Pittman again found a large seam in the 49ers run defense for a 22-yard pickup. A 16-yard throw to Derek Stanley then set the Rams up at the 49ers 43. Following a penalty, the Rams had a 1st and 15 down, but they picked up 14 yards with a Bulger to Donnie Avery completion. Darby picked up the yard, and a few more for a first down at the 30-yardline. The Rams converted another 3rd and 1 with Darby diving over the middle of the line. Tackle Orlando Pace was injured on the play. Isaac Sopoaga got good penetration to stop Darby for a 3-yard gain, followed by a 1-yard tackle for a loss by Manny Lawson to end the first quarter.
2nd QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS, 49ERS 35 – RAMS 3
A false start by Roderick Green made it an easier 3rd and 3 for the Rams to convert on the first play of the second quarter. Parys Haralson had hold of Bulger for a sack, but the Rams quarterback managed to escape and scramble for the first down. Stopped on the ground on first down, the Rams tried a pass to Pittman, who dropped a touchdown pass at the goal line. On 3rd and 5, Bulger threw it in the direction of Torry Holt, who was well covered by Nate Clements. The Rams settled for Brown's 24-yard field goal to finish off the 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
On 1st and 10, Hill was chased out of the pocket to his right, but he connected with a wide open Bruce for a 20-yard pickup. Hill then hit Johnson on a slant, and with his defender falling down, Johnson dashed his way down the field for a 42-yard gain before Corey Chavous got him down at the 7-yardline. A draw play to Gore picked up two yards and was followed by a late scramble by Hill when he couldn't find an open receiver, leading to a 3rd and goal from the two. Hill found Vernon Davis right under the goal post for the touchdown. The 5-play drive covered 69 yards and gave the 49ers a 14-3 edge.
A fumbled snap a few plays later by Bulger was recovered by Haralson at the Rams 16-yardline.
Gore got a block by David Baas and gained 11 yards on a sweep play to his left. Two more Gore runs set the 49ers up at the 1-yardline. On his third down try, Gore should have been stopped for a loss but he kept fighting and bounced it out to his right for a 1-yard touchdown with 7:50 to go in the half.
The Rams seemed to be looking for a throw downfield by receiver Dane Looker, but Michael Lewis stayed back in coverage and Walt Harris got Looker down at the line of scrimmage for no gain. Harris and Lewis both had blanketed coverage on Avery on a deep ball on the next play that Harris picked off. Nate Clements delivered a huge blow on Avery to give Harris a block on the return, which he was able to return 24 yards out to his 40.
The 49ers tried a reverse from Bryant Johnson to Bruce, but Craft stayed disciplined and snuffed out the play for a 3-yard loss. The 49ers overcame the loss with a 22-yard pass to Jason Hill. Another throw to DeShaun Foster counted for a 9-yard gain and set the 49ers up at the 32-yardline. Hill avoided a late pass rush by Leonard Little, and rolled out to his right and managed to find Foster, who got the ball all the way to the 1-yardline for a 31-yard gain. Foster picked up about a foot on the next play, setting up another 2nd and goal. Hill had an open lane up the middle and opted to run for the score, diving into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 28-3 edge with about three and a half minutes left in the quarter.
The defense soon responded with their third turnover of the game. Safety Michael Lewis, who had gotten a sack on the previous 2nd and 2 play to make it a 3rd and 10 down, deflected a pass that Nate Clements and Keith Lewis then battled for before Clements made the interception.
The pick set the 49ers up at the 44-yardline with 1:49 to go.
Facing a 3rd and 3 at the 49-yardline, Hill went to J. Hill for a 4-yard gain to move the chains. After an 8-yard completion to Gore, Hill fired deep for Michael Robinson who made the catch over his shoulder and got to the 1 before he was stopped, counting for a 36-yard gain. A handoff to Robinson lost a yard, but Hill then threw a perfect fade route to Johnson for a 2-yard score with 34 seconds remaining. The 7-play drive covered 56 yards and took 1:15 seconds off the clock.
The Rams had a little bit of time to work with and crossed into 49ers territory before time expired in the half.
3rd QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS, 49ERS 35 – RAMS 9The 49ers opened the half on offense with Gore taking four straight carries. Gore moved the chains once, but then eased up on Craft in pass protection as the corner took down Shaun Hill for the first sack of the game.
That led to a Andy Lee's first pun of the game, a booming 55-yarder that bounced in the end zone for a touchback.
A sack by Parys Haralson on a 3rd and 6 ended the Rams next series.
Rossum was chased out of bounds at the 18-yardline with 9:11 to go in the quarter.
After squeezing out only a yard on the ground, Gore swept to his right and used a block by Tony Wragge for a 10-yard run. The series came to a swift end however with another sack ending the 49ers drive.
Marcus Hudson and Tarell Brown flew down the field and immediately dropped Looker for a 3-yard loss on the punt return.
With 6:17 to go, the Rams took over at their 28. The Rams swiftly drove down the field where they faced a 3rd and 10 at the 30. Bulger delivered the ball to Keenan Burton, but safety Mark Roman flew in with a well timed hit to force an incompletion. Kicker Josh Brown drilled a 48-yard field goal.
The 49ers gained only a yard on their next offensive series, marking the third straight three and out series for the offense.
Looker fumbled the ball on his punt return but officials ruled that the ground caused the fumble.
Avery got out to the 40 for a first down reception, followed by a 9-yard grab by Holt. A downfield strike to Avery was ruled as a complete catch along the Rams sidelines at the 49ers 22, but Mike Singletary tossed the flag with 1:23 left in the quarter. Officials ruled it as a catch, but also called an unsportsmanlike penalty against a Rams coach, which put them back at the 37-yardline looking at a 1st and 25. The defense then held, forcing the Rams to again rely on Brown, this time for a 44-yard field goal that ended their 7-play, 51-yard drive as time expired in the quarter.
4th QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS, 49ERS 35– RAMS 16
A block to the back on Jeff Ulbrich during Rossum's kickoff return started the 49ers out at the 9-yardline.
Davis then got called for a false start, followed by a Robinson false start, followed by an Adam Snyder false start whichput the 49ers in horrible field position at the 1-yardline. An incomplete throw to Robinson was followed by an 8-yard run by Gore, which still put the 49ers in a 3rd and 10 down. A draw play to Robinson earned just a couple and the 49ers had to punt.
The 8-yard run by Gore put him over the 100-yard rushing mark and ended his afternoon.
Long snapper Brian Jennings froze up Looker on the punt return, and then managed to trip him up at midfield with 13:17 left in the game.
A pass to Burton gained 7-yards, followed by a Pittman carry to move the chains with a 4-yard gain. Bulger then took a shot for the end zone, but overshot Looker who was well covered by Keith Lewis and Patrick Willis. A draw play to Pittman gained 9 yards, but Manny Lawson then sprung free to drop Darby as soon as he took the handoff for a loss of 5 on the 3rd and 1 play. A false start created a 4th and 11 play and the Rams elected to punt it instead of going for it.
Donnie Jones put up a nice 36-yard punt that was downed at the 4-yardline with 10:57 left in the game.
Robinson came up with a big 18-yard pass play to convert a 3rd and 5 down, marking the first, first down of the second half for the 49ers offense. The 49ers then twice used the wildcat formation. Foster took the first snap and headed into the middle of the line. On the second one, Robinson and Allen Rossum lined up in the backfield with Robinson gaining 10 yards on the ground. After an 11-yard gain by Foster, Foster tried to make something happen on his next carry and unfortunately fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Rams at the 42-yardline of San Francisco.
Cornerback Donald Strickland laid out to try to intercept a throw to Burton. Although he missed the pick, he forced an incompletion. Following a deep shot along the 49ers sidelines that was well covered by Harris, Bulger threw a short pass to Pittman that was stopped for a loss of five by Haralson to force a Rams punt.t
The 49ers offense started off with the ball again with 6:10 to go, back at their 6-yardline as Tully Banta-Cain was called for holding on the punt return.
With JT O'Sullivan in at quarterback, the 49ers used two run plays by Foster which picked up four yards. On 3rd and 6, JTO attempted a pass that was incomplete to J. Hill.
Following a 49-yard punt by Lee, the Rams were back on offense with 4:34 to go, starting from their 41. Bulger moved the chains with a 2nd and 10 throw to Avery. His 3rd and 6 pass to Darby picked up 14 yards and another first down. Two plays later on a 2nd and 10, Darby worked his way up the middle for a 13-yard gain. Bulger then went back to Darby for a 10-yard completion down to the 49ers 8-yardline. After trading penalties on back to back plays, the Rams faced a 1st and goal still when Bulger hit a short throw to Avery for 6 yards. He then connected with Looker for a 2-yard touchdown, just after the two minute warning, bringing the score to 35-16.
Instead of trying for an on-side kick, the Rams sailed the kickoff into the end zone for a touchback.
Three straight carries by Foster led to a quick punt by the 49ers, giving the Rams the ball back with one last shot to score.
Facing a 4th and 1 from his 34, Bulger's pass to Looker along the Rams sidelines was incomplete.
The 49ers took over on downs, JTO took a knee and it was game over.