It seemed like déjà vu for the San Francisco 49ers. Another loss due to their own mistakes. Frustration from fans being pointed directly at head coach Kyle Shanahan for starting an injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Los Angeles Rams also flipped the script with their first drive of the game. It lasted nearly nine minutes and there were several key conversions in third and long situations including a 13 yard completion to Odell Beckham Jr., and a 46 yard completion to Cooper Kupp.
San Francisco was able to hold Los Angeles to a field goal.
On the 49ers first offensive possession of the game. Shanahan elected to try to run the football to the outside and it did not go well. As Elijah Mitchell did not get anything going, there was one first down picked up on a 13 yard completion to Trent Sherfield.
Mitch Wishnowski continued with his struggles and the Rams got great field position to start their drive which resulted in a touchdown to tight end Tyler Higbee on 4th and 1. Suddenly the 49ers were down 10 and barely possessed the football.
It got uglier on San Francisco’s second possession. Garoppolo nearly coughed up the football, yet offensive tackle Tom Compton was able to recover the football. A sack and run to Mitchell backed the offense up even further. Wishnowsky came in for another punt and while trying to make a tackle on a return he wound up taking a big hit to the head which forced him out of the game.
Three plays later, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford found Higbee again for his second touchdown of the game and a 17-0 lead. At that point it seemed the best idea for 49ers fans was to turn the game off, it was over. There was no way the game was going to get turned around as Garoppolo ended up throwing his first interception of the game on the ensuing possession.
Yet, a sack of Stafford on third and short by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead surprisingly seemed to have changed the momentum. As one of the things the 49ers offense was good at this season, was putting points on the board with less than two minutes remaining.
It took Garoppolo 38 seconds to get the 49ers down the field for a 42-yard field goal by Robbie Gould. At half-time San Francisco trailed 17-3.
Even better is that to start the second half the 49ers got the football. Shanahan went back to running the football on that drive, with Mitchell and Deebo Samuel picking up seven yards for a third and manageable. JaMychal Hasty slipped out of the backfield and Garoppolo found him for a 13 yard completion.
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk wound up wide open on the next play for a 31 yard gain. Samuel then capped the drive off with a 16 yard touchdown run. Like that the 49ers were right back in the game.
Interestingly enough Rams head coach Sean McVay continued to try to run the football. It didn’t work out well and the 49ers defense forced a three and out. All the momentum seemingly turned to San Francisco.
It ws Shanahan’s turn to wear out the defense of Los Angeles. Which is exactly what happened. This was a drive that went a little over seven minutes with Mitchell and Samuel picking up good yardage.
There was only one pass play, which was surprisingly enough a trick play. Samuel ended up throwing a touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings. The game at this point, tied.
For the Rams it didn’t get better as Stafford got sacked by D.J. Jones, after an incompletion, Emmanuel Moseley who today returned from injury intercepted the third down pass to give the 49ers an excellent opportunity to take the lead.
Yet the result of this drive was a three and out. Gould got to punt and the result a great roll to put the football inside the 20. The 49ers defense continuously applied pressure on Stafford and once again forced a punt.
Mitchell opened San Franciso’s next drive with a great run and more yardage needed to get added, as a penalty on the Rams defense got missed. Again the running game looked great and was moving the football down the field. At this point the 49ers were in field goal range and got the opportunity to take the lead, when a false start got called. From 2nd and 9 became 2nd and 14.
Inexplicably Shanahan went with a pass play. George Kittle got targeted by Garoppolo, yet Jalen Ramsey intercepted the pass and fortunately enough after securing the possession of the football he ran the ball back in play resulting in a much longer drive for the Rams offense.
Interestingly enough the officials missed an obvious roughing the passer call on the play. Garoppolo did have a discussion about it as well and yet no flag.
Kupp came up big on the Rams next offensive possession with an 18 yard run, a 30 yard catch that Jimmie Ward was inches away from knocking the ball away, and seemingly the go-ahead touchdown.
The offense for the 49ers went backwards on their next possession. Resulting in the biggest punt of the season for Gould and San Francisco’s special teams. He did great and kept the Rams out of field goal range.
San Francisco then used all three of their timeouts and forced a punt. Garoppolo needed to drive the 49ers offense 88 yards to tie the game up. Even with an injury did he have it in him? He absolutely did.
Garoppolo found Aiyuk for 21 yards, Jennings for five Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were commenting on how short throws were not necessarily helpful, yet even with that being the case, Samuel got found for a 43 yard gain, as the all got spiked, Leonard Floyd was offsides which resulted in a manageable first and five situation.
After an incomplete pass to Samuel, the Rams defense did not cover Jennings and Garoppolo found him for the easy game-tying touchdown pass.
Los Angeles got one last chance for the win. After using a timeout and a sack by Armstead, Stafford elected to let the clock run out for overtime.
San Francisco won the coin toss and elected to receive.
Shanahan used a long sustained drive and both timeouts to take off as much clock as possible. The result was a field goal by Gould to give the 49ers their first lead of the game at 27-24.
Moseley got called for pass interference on third down. After a nine yard completion to Higbee, a three yard run by Sony Michel resulting in a first down. Stafford elected to throw deep to Beckham Jr., rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas played him and the ball perfectly and with the football being underthrown, he made the best play of the 49ers season as he came away with the game winning interception.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 10, 2022