No game, in any sport, should ever end in a tie.
Luckily, those instances are rare, but Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams showed that they're not rare enough. After 15 minutes of overtime, the two teams tied, 24-24, giving the NFL its first draw since 2008.
It's been so long since we saw a tie in the NFL, that, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Danny Amendola wasn't even aware that the game was over:
Amendola just told me he thought there was going to be a second overtime. Didn't know it was over till he heard from an official.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) November 12, 2012
Either way, ESPN's Andrew Brandt had a good idea on how to finish it:
Penalty kicks??— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) November 12, 2012
On a more serious note, NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano looked forward to the playoffs:
That tie will loom large in 7 weeks when it comes time for NFC playoff seeding.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) November 12, 2012
Both sides had opportunity for victory, but David Akers failed to convert on a potential game-winning field goal for the 49ers, missing wide left 41 yards out. Greg Zuerlein also had a chance to end the game for St. Louis, and it actually appeared that he hit a 53-yard kick, but a delay of game penalty forced him to try again. He missed the 58-yard re-kick, giving us the finishing score.
The Rams were able to jump out to an early 14-0 lead behind touchdowns from Brian Quick and Steven Jackson, but Alex Smith hooked up with Michael Crabtree in the second quarter to put the score at 14-7.
With San Francisco back on track, all appeared to be kosher. Then, Smith got hurt. Via the 49ers' Twitter:
Alex Smith is out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) November 11, 2012
However, things didn't go downhill for the Niners. Colin Kaepernick came into the game and played well. He didn't light it up through the air, but he did go 11-of-17 for 117 yards and had a rushing touchdown.
Fast-forward to the fourth quarter. Zuerlein put St. Louis ahead 17-7 with a field goal in the third quarter, putting the 49ers in a hole entering the final 15 minutes of the game.
But Kaepernick and his team didn't roll over. His seven-yard TD run and Frank Gore's 20-yard scamper for a score put the 49ers ahead 21-17, before Sam Bradford found Austin Pettis for a short two-yard touchdown to put the Rams back in front with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
It could have ended there, but Akers had other ideas. His 33-yard field goal with three seconds remaining tied the game at 24-24 to send it into overtime.
Settling for a tie is pretty terrible for both teams. It's better than a loss, maybe, but not by much.