The Rams did something they haven't been able to do since the 2007 season- they beat the San Francisco 49er's with the final score of 25-17. The 49er's were widely considered the pre-season favorites to win the division, but the Rams' victory today knocked them out of playoff contention.
The first half of the game looked awfully familiar. In fact, I think we saw something similar just last week against Kansas City. The Rams opened the game against the Chiefs with two solid drives that were not finished, resulting in two field-goals. They're failure to score touchdowns really hurt their chances of winning that game. This week, the team had similar woes in the first half.
The Rams tackled quarterback Troy Smith in the end-zone for a safety, but after receiving the punt and taking the ball into the 49er's red-zone, quarterback Sam Bradford coughed up a fumble and gave the ball right back. The Rams had a chance to take a commanding lead on that drive, but they failed to capitalize.
The fumble was not the only killer for the 49er's. They had six penalties in the first quarter alone, which absolutely killed them. However, the Rams failed to use the 49er's penalty ridden quarter to their advantage, and they did not inflict any serious damage other than a nine point lead. That nine point lead was ultimately turned into a two point lead after Ted Ginn Jr. returned a punt for a touchdown.
After Ginn's touchdown the score was 9-7, and the Rams eventually made it 12-7 after a Josh Brown field-goal. Later in the second quarter, San Francisco wide-receiver Michael Crabtree caught a 60-yard touchdown, giving the 49er's their first lead of the game 14-12, and it remained that score until halftime.
The Rams were able to take the lead back in the 3rd quarter with a Josh Brown field-goal, which made it 15-14. It was hard to have any confidence in that lead given the lifeless state of the offense at this point, but thing eventually improved in the 4th quarter.
During the 4th quarter, we saw the Rams do something that we haven't seen them do in the past two weeks, which was finding Danario Alexander deep down field. Alexander caught a 84-yard catch that would've been a touchdown, but he stepped out of bounds. Quarterback Sam Bradford was able to hit Laurent Robinson in the end-zone right after, making the score 22-14.
The 49er's decided to put in quarterback Alex Smith in the game over Troy Smith on the drive following the touchdown. It was probably a move that most Rams fans welcomed with open arms. A.Smith did however lead his offense to a field-goal for his first drive, which made the score 22-17.
On the kick-off following the field-goal, Danny Amendola returned the kick for 84 yards inside the San Francisco red-zone. With over four minutes left in the game, the Rams decided to run on every down and settle for a field-goal, rather that take a shot at the end-zone to seal the game. Probably wasn't a decision most fans agreed with, but luckily it worked out in the end. After the field-goal following Amendola's big return, the score was 25-17, which remained the final score.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
Sam Bradford: Bradford was able to throw a touchdown pass today, which is something that he hasn't been able to do in any of the past three games. He did not have any interceptions, despite having five in the previous three games. His 292 yard performance was impressive, as well as his ability to command the hurry-up offense.
Danario Alexander: Every time we think he has gone quiet he comes out with a big game. It is too bad he has knee problems, because he certainly has the talent to be a top receiver in this league.
The .500 hopes: It is good to know that the possibility of the Rams entering the playoffs 8-8 is still alive. Entering the playoffs 8-8 has happened in the past, so it is somewhat respectable. But if they enter with a 7-9 record then they deserve the ridicule that will surely follow.
Defensive-Backs: I am so sick of hearing about how "solid" the Rams' cornerback tandem is. Both Fletcher and Bartell are very replaceable, and showed today. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree combined for 192 yards and a touchdown, and it's not like it was a secret that they would be the primary targets.
The O-Line: The members of the Rams' offensive-line have embarrassed themselves on a weekly basis, particularly in the run game. Roger Saffold is the only member of that unit that has been consistently playing at a high level all season. Mike Pouncey would be a welcomed choice in the first round if the Rams can address receiver and cornerback in free-agency.
The 49er's: After all of the hype surrounding the 49er's this season, and after they were declared division champs before the season even began, it was certainly good to see the home team personally murder their hopes and dreams. Looks like the city of San Francisco is done with football for 2010, but at least they have their pride rallies and bath houses to keep them occupied until next season.