This was a crazy, thrilling game from beginning to end, with the Niners playing catchup behind Colin Kaepernick and the Rams squandering chance after chance to win the game.
The Niners found themselves down early, as the Rams put up a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter. Sam Bradford connected with rookie Brian Quick for a 36-yard strike after Chris Culliver fell down, and superstar running back Steven Jackson pounded in the Rams’ second TD with a seven-yard run.
Near the end of the first quarter, Niners’ quarterback Alex Smith took a crushing blow to the shoulder from Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Smith would temporarily stay in the game, and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree midway through the second quarter to cut the lead in half. Crabtree made the play happen though, with a couple of beautiful moves to dance into the end zone.
However, that would be the last play of the game for Smith, who was evaluated on the sideline and in the locker room by the training staff. It was determined that he had a concussion, and would not return for the remainder of the game.
That meant Kaepernick, their backup quarterback, would have to take over the reigns. Kaepernick had a sluggish start, when each of his first three drives resulted in punts by Andy Lee. But with the Niners trailing 17-7 to begin the fourth quarter, he engineered an 11-play, 81-yard drive that ended with himself scrambling for a touchdown.
Then, the Niners caught a huge break, as CSN’s Matt Maiocco describes:
On the ensuing kickoff, Tramaine Brock stripped Rams returner Isaiah Pead of the ball andDarcel McBath made the recovery at the 20-yard line. On the next play, Frank Gore got around the left side for a 20-yard scoring run to give the 49ers a 21-17 lead with 8:23 remaining.
But Bradford and the Rams would respond with an 80-yard drive of their own. They brought it all the way down to the Niners’ two-yard line, where Austin Pettis caught a floater from Bradford in the endzone to give the Rams a field goal advantage.
David Akers kicked a game-tying 45-yard field goal in the dying seconds of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra session, the Rams appeared to have themselves set up for the win twice. On the very first play, Bradford hooked up with Danny Amendola for 80-yards, all the way to the San Francisco two-yard line, but the play was waived off due to an illegal formation penalty. Then, at the midway point of OT, Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein lined up and made a 53-yard field goal, but it was waived off as they failed to get the snap off in time.
David Akers had a chance to win the game for the Niners on their first drive of overtime, but he missed a 41-yard field goal wide left.
Time expired as the Rams failed to score on the final possession, and the game ended in a 24-24 tie.