SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Rams’ 2015 season came to its conclusion on Sunday, with St. Louis falling 19-16 to San Francisco in overtime.
The visitors had their share of chances to win the game, including a 48-yard field goal attempt in overtime that would have ended the contest. But that kick was blocked and the Niners proceeded to go deep into St. Louis territory before kicking a game-winning field goal of their own.
“That was a tough way to end it,” head coach Jeff Fisher said postgame. “As I said, they practiced hard, they played hard, and in games like this, you’ve got to find a way to make plays. And they made the plays.
“We gave up plays in all three phases,” Fisher added. “We dropped balls, we gave up big plays defensively, we had a couple special teams penalties, and then we had the difficulty kicking field goals. That’s pretty much the difference.”
“The first one that I missed, I thought I hit it really well,” Zuerlein said. “It was going straight pretty much the whole way, and at the end, it just kind of fell off. I haven’t really ever had a kick like that, where I thought, ‘OK, that’s in,’ and then it didn’t go in.
“The next one, I thought I hit that pretty well as well,” Zuerlein added. “We’ll have to see if I was too slow in my operation or what happened on the block.”
“There’s a few plays that I’d like back on third down, some off throws that were to guys who were open,” Keenum said. “It’s those crucial moments of the game that come down to winning or losing.”
The absence of
“Nothing that’s going to set him back, nothing that’s going to be a problem for him,” Fisher said. “But we didn’t feel like it was necessary to mess with it and create the possibility that it would damage the joint a little bit more. So we decided to hold him today.”
“I thought we played really, really hard. But we just came up too short,” Keenum said. “They made a play or two more than us in the end.”
St. Louis’ offense was effective early to take a quick lead. On the first play of the Rams’ second drive, Keenum dropped back for a play action pass and fired a deep ball to the right side. Wide receiver
But after that, St. Louis had trouble defending a pair of explosive plays, both of which led to San Francisco points. For the first, Niners quarterback Blaine Gabbert found Anquan Boldin in the middle of the field to open the second quarter. The wide receiver then shed his defender and walked into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown, giving the home team a 7-3 advantage.
Then San Francisco used a 47-yard run by DuJuan Harris on 3rd-and-3 to move all the way up to St. Louis’ nine-yard line. The defense would hold the home team to a field goal, but the explosive play set up a Niners’ 10-3 lead.
But after the field goal, the Rams got back on the board with a 12-play drive. Promoted this week from the practice squad, Brown received his first carries and gained positive yardage, helping the visitors move the ball into San Francisco territory. Eventually, Zuerlein converted a 32-yard field goal to make the score 10-6.
“Aaron got his hand on the ball and I was there,” Sims said. “I’m a former receiver, so I felt like I should take it back there. I saw the receiver coming out of my peripheral [vision], so he made a good stop on me.”
From there, Mason did the rest, running the ball in on a pitch play from four-yards out on second down for a touchdown. The Auburn product’s first touchdown of the season got the Rams back in front with a 13-10 lead.
The visitors increased that margin with a quick drive at the end of the second quarter. The defense forced a Niners punt, and the Rams got going with a 40-yard run by Cunningham. The back put St. Louis at the San Francisco 26-yard line, and Zuerlein connected on a 44-yard field goal to increase the lead to 16-10 going into halftime.
The two teams traded field goal attempts in the third quarter, but only the home team’s Phil Dawson was able to connect. After Zuerlein’s miss from 52-yards out,
Neither team could score again in regulation, and the game went to overtime.
St. Louis lost the coin toss and started on defense, but the unit did its job, forcing a punt. It looked like the Rams would have a good chance to win as the offense proceeded to move the ball all the way to San Francisco’s 30-yard line. But on fourth down, Zuerlein’s 48-yard attempt was blocked, giving the 49ers another chance to win the game.
“I’m just disappointed for the because once Kenny made the catch, and we got down there, it was, ‘OK, let’s run it three times, not give up any minus yards, kick the field goal, and go home,’” Fisher said. “And we weren’t able to do it.”
The 49ers cashed in on their opportunity, as a 33-yard pass from Gabbert to Quinton Patton set the Niners up at the Rams’ 5-yard line. From there, Dawson made a 23-yard field goal to send St. Louis home with a loss.
“This was just a season full of ups and downs,” defensive tackle
After falling on Sunday, the Rams end the 2015 season with a disappointing 7-9 record.
“There were a lot of bright spots. We have a good group of young players. We played our offensive line for the future, our running back for the future,” Fisher said. “We’e got a good group, good core. You look back and you say, ‘OK, I’m alright with being 4-2 in the division.’ I’m not alright with some of the other losses that took place. Never will be.”