Come to think of it, there was no way that the Niners make it easy. It hasn’t been their style. Not in their mojo.
Up 34-13 with less than seven minutes in the game and with the league’s best defense, it was finally a time to relax. To take a breath. To get some reserves in and rest the starters, starting with Alex Smith.
Alas, there was no Colin Kaepernick time. What looked like a cakewalk turned into the proverbial Maalox game, thanks to Donte Whitner under-cutting and then mistiming Kellen Clemons’ throw to Brandon Lloyd for a 36-yard TD pass. That was followed by the botched onsides kick recovery and a pass interference call on Tarell Brown on Lloyd for a one-yard score. Just like that, it was a 34-27 game with 4:39 to go.
Naturally, the Niners went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and you could hear the grumbles in the stomach of 49ers fans all over the Bay Area. It had to come down to the defense.
NaVorro Bowman to the rescue. His sack of Clemons put the Rams in a 3rd-and-17. More importantly, it put Clemons on the injury cart with a ripped-up right ankle.
If there is one thing we know about the 49ers, it’s that Tom Brandstater, who might have been the Rams' fourth quarterback this year, does not beat San Francisco. And he didn’t, which doesn’t make the Niner fans all that calm.
With that, here are the six things to ponder while the Niners get two weeks off as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.