For the third time this season the Rams had a chance to obtain a winning record for the first time since November of 2006, and for the third time this season they failed to capitalize. The Rams lost yet another game on the road, losing to the San Francisco 49er's 20-23. The Rams do not have a single victory on the road in 2010.
A big reason why the Rams were even in this game till the end is because of penalties (although the Rams had their fair share of penalties as well). The first penalty that benefited them came on the first drive of the game, when a 'roughing the passer' penalty moved the Rams into striking distance. The Rams settled for a punt on the drive, taking a 3-0 lead to start the game.
The 49er's were able to make something happen on their second drive of the game. A big reception by WR Josh Morgan took the ball to the 5-yard line, which set up a touchdown run by RB Frank Gore, giving San Francisco the lead 7-3.
The 49er's then began to take advantage of the momentum. On the very next drive after the touchdown, Rams' CB Ron Bartell was called for pass interference, which set up a big run by Gore inside the 5-yard line. Luckily, the Rams' defense prevailed, forcing a field-goal, which made the score 10-3
The Rams got the ball back, and following a 'face mask' penalty on WR Brandon Gibson, QB Sam Bradford completed a pass the WR Danny Amendola into the red-zone. Then, a 'helmet-to-helmet' penalty on the 49er's moved the ball to the 5-yard line, which set up a touchdown reception by Amendola, tying the score at 10-10, and it remained that score until the end of the half.
The second half got off to a slow start, as the first three drives of the half (two by the 49er's and one by the Rams) ended in punts. But on the Rams' second drive of the half, RB Steven Jackson made a big run that took the ball to the 30-yard line. Then, after receptions by Jackson and Gibson, Jackson was able to break free for a 15-yard touchdown run, giving the Rams a 17-10 lead with just a couple minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Unfortunately for the Rams, Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur treats a one score lead like a 30 point blowout. On the Rams' next drive, following their touchdown, they had great field position around the 49er's 35-yard line (thanks to a tipped punt). After a couple of safe (and poorly executed) plays, the Rams settled for a field-goal...BUT WAIT! It was a fake, instead of kicking the field-goal it was actually a....punt? But then it was called back due to a delay of game, and then they had to do an actual punt... what wonderful coaching and management. And yes, the field-goal would've been doable at 53-yards, and it was ultimately the difference in the game.
On the 49er's second drive following the fake field-goal, the 49er's were able to do what the Rams couldn't, and kick an actual field-goal, which made the score 17-13.
On the 49er's last drive of the 4th quarter, Gore took a screen pass to the 50-yard line, and a 'face mask' penalty added 15 more yards to it, bringing the ball to around the Rams' 35-yard line. After Gore was tackled for a loss on first down, the Rams' newly acquired defensive-back Michael Lewis got a sack on 2nd down. The sack forced a 3rd-and-17, which was turned into a 3rd-and-22 after a false start. On 3rd-and-22 WR Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown, but that was called back thanks to a holding penalty, making it 3rd-and-32. Think that would've been enough help for the Rams' defense? Wrong. Playing it safe, the Rams allowed Gore to get some yards, making it 4th-and-18. The Rams were unable to hold them on 4th down, as QB Troy Smith hit Crabtree in the end-zone, making the score 20-17.
The Rams got the ball back with three timeouts, and about two and a half minutes on the clock. WR Laurent Robinson caught back-to-back 1st-down receptions, and Bradford was able to scramble for the third 1st-down of the drive. TE Daniel Fells then brought the ball to the 35-yard line, which set up a run by Jackson to the 20-yard line. Fells then dropped a ball while on a flat route, and he had an easy shot at the end-zone had he caught the ball. The Rams instead were forced to settle for a field-goal, which sent the game in to overtime.
The Rams won the coin toss, which gave them the ball to start the overtime. What turned out to be the last drive of the game for the Rams was a flat out embarrassment. On first down Jackson gained a couple yards on a reception, on second and long Jackson was stuffed at the line, and Bradford was sacked on third and long, allowing the 49er's to force a three-and-out.
The Rams' defense then decided that tackling was for losers, and they allowed Gore to single-handedly carry the 49er's into field-goal range. Of course Gore can't take all of the credit, FS OJ Atogwe managed to help them out with a pass-interference penalty. The 49er's kicked the field-goal, it was good, and the Rams lost again on the road.