St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers: Winners and Losers for Rams
The Rams had the game won in a dominating fashion, leading 14-0 into the second quarter and 17-7 after three quarters.
The 49ers made a dramatic comeback, scoring two touchdowns in less than 20 seconds to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Rams then find a way to grab the lead again with just 69 seconds remaining, only to watch the 49ers match them again on a game-tying field goal with three seconds remaining.
And don't get me started on the overtime period.
The Rams won it with an 80-yard pass on the first play. No they didn't.
The 49ers set themselves up for a victory but miss a 41-yard field goal wide left.
The Rams make a 53-yard field goal to finally seal the win. But I'm told that apparently didn't happen either.
There might not have been more to digest from a completely meaningless 24-24 tie with the 49ers. Since somebody has to be, here are the winners and losers for the Rams from the Week 10 game against San Francisco.
Winner: Sam Bradford
In the National Football League, everything starts and ends with the quarterback.
Say what you want about him, but without Sam Bradford, the Rams have no chance to win (or tie).
Bradford earned his keep against San Francisco, completing 26 of 39 passes (66.7 percent) for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Bradford's quarterback rating was 104.1.
You might as well add another 80 yards to Bradford's totals from the Danny Amendola reception that was called back in overtime.
This was Bradford's best game since the Redskins victory in Week 2.
The 49ers defense came into this game having given up only six passing touchdowns (tied for the fewest in the NFL) and 184 passing yards per game (second fewest).
Bradford blew those numbers away.
I was particularly impressed with Bradford's game in the play action. Time and again, Bradford was patient after the fake to the running back, allowed the play to develop and then threw decisively.
Bradford did his job today.
How many mental mistakes did Rams players make in this game? How many times did the Rams give the game away to the 49ers?
Let us briefly count just a few of the ways:
-- On the first play of overtime, Bradford hits Amendola for an 80-yard gain. Never mind that. There weren't enough Rams at the line of scrimmage. Illegal formation. Really?
-- Greg Zuerlein kicks a 53-yard field goal to win the game in overtime. Check that. The play clock was on zeroes before the snap. That's a bad thing. Try again from 58 yards.
-- After a quick stop by the Rams defense, Danny Amendola makes a huge return on the ensuing punt, taking the ball deep into 49ers territory. But.....there was a block in the back. Fughettaboutit!
Take away any of those penalties and the Rams win this game.
That's what I call frustrating. Unacceptable.
Winner: Danny Amendola
Let's get the raw numbers out of the way.
Bradford targeted Amendola 12 times, leading to 11 receptions and 102 yards.
As I said earlier, to get the full effect of Amendola's performance, you might as well add another 80 yards and a reception to Amendola's statistics.
In every big offensive play, it seemed that Amendola was the Ram with the ball in his hands.
Amendola made a big third-down catch in overtime to keep the offense moving into 49ers territory.
On the fourth quarter touchdown drive, Amendola made several catches, most of them converting first downs.
Amendola handled the punt return duties, served as a decoy on a play action pass from punter Johnny Hekker, and even left in the middle of the game after suffering leg cramps.
This was all after coming back a couple weeks ahead of schedule from a separated SC joint.
Loser: James Laurinaitis
I was again not particularly impressed with Laurinaitis in this game. He was just very quiet.
The announcers rarely, if ever, announced his name during the game.
Laurinaitis finished with seven tackles (six solo), but that was about it. He never got his hands on the ball. He never was involved with a potential turnover or scrum.
I don't know if it's the way the game plan is being written, but it seems that Laurinaitis is a wallflower, managing the actions of others.
I can't necessarily quibble with the results, especially today, but it seems that Number 55 would be better used in a more aggressive tempo.
This is not just some guy you use to cover tight ends and tailbacks. This is one of the premier linebacking talents in the NFL. The Rams need to figure a way to make Laurinaitis a larger part of the defense.
Winner: Defensive Line
I don't have the space to give detailed props to everyone on the Rams defensive line.
But I want to highlight two of the Rams that impressed me most: Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn.
The Brockers & Quinn partnership worked magically against the vaunted San Francisco offensive line.
Brockers & Quinn did a lot together to stuff the stat sheet. They combined for three sacks, two tackles for loss, four QB hits and nine tackles.
More importantly, B&Q served as the first line of defense against the 49ers running game.
The Frank Gore-Kendall Hunter running combo ran for only 112 yards. That may sound like a lot, but you have to remember that this was a five-quarter game. Over a regular four quarters, the average is less than 90 yards allowed.
The Rams did an outstanding job denying the 49ers' rush attack until Gore's 20-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Chris Long also had a big sack on the 49ers' final drive in overtime that forced a punt.
Outstanding performance by the men up front.
Loser: The Transitive Property
For those who have been away from geometry for a few years, the transitive property says in so many words that if A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A must be greater than C.
The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers, in Lambeau, earlier this season 30-22. The Packers had their way with the Rams in a 30-20 victory in St. Louis.
The 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions 27-19 one week after the Lions came back to defeat the Rams.
Against those same opponents the Rams won both games by a combined score of 36-16.
Geometry says that the 49ers should have won fairly easily against the Rams.
Geometry be damned, the Rams took it to San Francisco.