San Francisco, CA - I'm not sure if anyone really understood what happened in the end. Both teams left it all on the field but the end result was a tie. The San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams played the NFL's first tie 24-24 game in four years.
"This is the first time I have ever experienced a tie in my career and it's a huge let down," said RB Steven Jackson. "Guys put it all on the line today and for it to end in a tie was disappointing."
Two missed field goals for both teams in the end was the result of good defense and bad execution. Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game. He attempted a 58-yard kick but was wide right with 2:42 remaining in the game.
This gave the 49ers another opportunity but David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard filed goal that would've won the game for them. But that wasn't the only downfall to this day, San Francisco lost quarterback Alex Smith to a concussion in the second quarter and he did not return.
"Well I have to say, I've been doing this a while and I don't think I've ever been in a game like this," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. "As we told our guys, we had a number of chances to put this one away and unfortunately we didn't. Two [plays] there, the big play to Danny [Amendola] and then the field goal when we let the play clock run out."
It was definitely a good football game, the 49ers didn't have the best start allowing St. Louis to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Sam Bradford found Brain Quick for a 36-yard touchdown pass and Jackson ran for 7 yards to score again.
Before Smith left the game he found Michael Crabtree who brought life back into Candlestick Park for the the 14-yard touchdown. San Francisco cut the lead in half and made this a ball game. Back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick came in for Alex and did a good job with the offense.
"I think Kap did a very good job," said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. "Came in, good focus, good demeanor. Made plays and thought he handle himself, acquitted himself very well."
Kaepernick scored San Francisco's next touchdown in the fourth quarter and then 17 seconds later after the Rams fumbled, Frank Gore ran for a 20-yard touchdown to give the 49ers their first lead. But this game was far from begin over.
Bradford's pass to Austin Pettis in the end zone put St.Louis back on top 24-21. And with .26 seconds remaining in regulation, Akers kicked a filed goal to tie the game and sent it to overtime. On the first play of OT, Sam's 80-yard pass to Amendola to the goal line was called back due to an illegal formation.
"For us, after that one I think everyone in this locker room is pretty disappointed," Bradford said. "You know, we had multiple opportunities to end the game, both in regulation and in overtime, and just really killed ourselves with penalties and things we did really to stop ourselves."
For both teams, there were mistakes and setbacks that left many pondering what went wrong in the end. Rams punter Johnny Hekker was responsible for two fake punts despite Harbaugh knowing this from his Stanford days that Hekker can throw the ball. And a San Francisco defense that can shut down the best teams showed up periodically when needed.
"We played well," said FS Dashon Goldson. "We just left too much out there. We have to get off the field on third down."
The unsatisfactory performance was the result of a tie. The 49ers must look ahead to face another team on the rise, the Chicago Bears next week on Monday Night Football. Interesting to say the least that both starting quarterbacks left the games with a concussion leaving all to wonder will their back-ups replace them.
"This game prepared us," TE Vernon Davis said. "Chicago's a good team. They have a lot of talent. I know we'll be ready."