December 2, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) falls into the end zone after picking up a fumble for a two yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated San Francisco 16-13 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams vs. NFC West Review: San Francisco 49ers


The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers waged two epic overtime battles this season, with the Rams coming out slightly ahead with the 1-0-1 record.  Perhaps there is no better symbol of the parity in the NFL than a 7-8-1 team finishing the regular season undefeated against a division rival that is playing in the Super Bowl.  Some might even argue that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh owes the Rams Jo-Lonn Dunbar a big thank you for providing the opportunity to make the QB switch that catapulted the 49ers into the title game.  I don’t know if I would go quite that far since at the time Alex Smith left the game against the Rams he was the NFL’s highest rated passer and was 7-8 for 72 yards and a touchdown in that game.  There is no denying that having Colin Kaepernick behind center provides a big play spark that was lacking from the 49ers offense before, and never was that ability more on display than in the 49ers divisional round beatdown of the Green Bay Packers.  Kaepernick set an NFL QB record of 181 rushing yards on 16 carries including 2 TDs.  Of course he also finished that game 17/31 for 236 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT for a rating of 91.2.  Of course this article shouldn’t be about the 49ers road to the Super Bowl or the spark Kaepernick has provided for their offense, instead this article is about the Rams and how they managed to beat the 49ers even with a decided talent disadvantage especially when considering the Rams two rookie playmakers Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens were suspended for violating team rules.

Candlestick Park week 10. The first meeting in San Francisco was all Rams early as there was even a Brian Quick sighting, Quick flashed his potential on a 36 yard touchdown early in the 1st quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead unfortunately it was the only catch for Quick on the day.  Danny Amendola returned from his shoulder injury in a big way catching 11 passes on 12 targets for 102 yards, which was very nearly 12 catches for 182 yards if it weren’t for the illegal formation penalty that wiped out the first play from scrimmage in overtime.  Sam Bradford was fantastic in this game going 26/39 for 275 yards and 2 TDs and zero interceptions, and he also only took 2 sacks in this game.  While those statistics may not jump out at you as spectacular, the 14 play 81 yard touchdown drive that chewed 7:14 off the clock and gave the Rams the lead with 1:09 left in the game was nothing short of brilliant.  During the drive Bradford was 7/8 for 52 yards and a touchdown, including a 16 yard completion to Danny Amendola on 3rd and 8 from the 49ers 46 yard line.  Steven Jackson rumbled for 101 yards and 1 TD on 29 carries while Daryl Richardson provided 58 yards on 7 carries as the Rams offense generated 458 yards of total offense.  Special teams play was a mixed bag in the first game as Johnny Hekker perfectly executed 2 fake punts (one of them throwing from his own end zone), while Richardson’s fumble on a kickoff return provided the 49ers with the opportunity to score two touchdowns within 20 seconds of each other.  In the end the young Rams gave up 17 points in the 4th quarter and failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities to close out the game against a superior opponent.

Edward Jones Dome Week 13.    The Rams second game against the 49ers couldn’t be much more different as the 49ers virtually dominated every facet of the game, except the scoreboard.  The Rams offense was being controlled by the 49ers defense as their best drive of the day(11 plays for 74 yards) resulted in a turnover on downs at the 49ers 4 yard line.  The offense accounted for two FGs on drives totaling 66 yards with 15 of those yards courtesy of an uneccesary roughness penalty on Dashon Goldson.  Unlike the first game the Rams had very few opportunities to make big plays, but the defense did just that providing half of St. Louis’ scoring via a safety and a Janoris Jenkins fumble recovery for a touchdown with Bradford finding Lance Kendricks on the 2 point conversion to tie the game at 10.  The defense was fantastic in this game as they showed they could go toe to toe with one of the NFL’s best teams and come out on top, even when the offense wasn’t able to find any traction.  Sam Bradford was efficient in this game and provides the eerie statline of the year as he went 26/39 for 221 yards 0 TD and 0 INT with 2 sacks.  Yes that is the exact same attempts and completions as the first meeting with the 49ers with the same number of sacks taken in each game.  Bradford was nearly the teams leading rusher as he scrambled for 31 yards on 3 carries including the big 14 yarder during the final possession in regulation.  Steven Jackson found the going especially tough with 48 yards on 21 carries as the 49ers really controlled the line of scrimmage, but he did chip in with 5 catches for 69 yards to finish with 117 yards from scrimmage.

Looking over the table below for the total statistics for these two games you will see how close these two games were statistically speaking, which should be expected since they were 26 seconds away from finishing the Week 13 game in a tie as well.  Of course there is a lot that is left off in this review, most notably Steven Jackson’s ridiculous 3rd down conversion where he willed himself through Patrick Willis and Chris Culliver picking up 8 yards after contact on a 3rd and 14 dump off pass.  The Rams are a young team that still have some big holes to fill on their roster, but the upgrade to the coaching staff and the draft capital that Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have to work with going forward, this team could easily be in the playoffs next year with an eye towards Super Bowl contention for years to come.  Thanks for reading and as always Go Rams!!!

 

St. Louis Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Score

40

37

1st downs

43

43

    Passing

28

22

    Rushing

8

20

    By Penalty

7

1

3rd Down Efficiency

10-32 (31.25%)

10-30 (33.33%)

4th Down Efficiency

2-3 (66.67%)

2-3 (66.67%)

Total Plays

148

135

Total Yards

751

680

Yards Per Play

5.1

5.0

Total Drives

24

24

Passing

507

349

   Comp-Att

54-80 (67.5%)

39-57 (68.4%)

   Yards Per Pass

6.3

6.1

   Interceptions Thrown

0

0

   Sacks – Yards Lost

4-29

8-48

Rushing

244

331

   Attempts

64

70

   Yards per rush

3.8

4.7

Red Zone (TD-Att)

2-4

3-6

Penalties – yards

21-150

18-163

Turnovers

1

1

   Fumbles Lost

1

1

   Interceptions Thrown

0

0

Defensive/ST TDs

1

0

Time of Possession

76:25

73:09

 

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