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Rams vs. 49ers: San Francisco's Defense Burned as They Tie St. Louis 24-24

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Rams vs. 49ers: San Francisco's Defense Burned as They Tie St. Louis 24-24
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Today marked the first tie in the NFL since 2008. It also marked the first time since 1986 the 49ers ended a regular-season game in gridlock. 

As far as San Francisco is concerned, they should be happy that today's matchup ended in a tie. Defensively they were gashed for 159 yards on the ground and 299 yards through the air. With both clubs coming off of a bye week, St. Louis definitely looked liked the more prepared team early on.

The Rams jumped out to an early 14-0 lead as rookie wide receiver Brian Quick and quarterback Sam Bradford connected on an impressive 36-yard strike on their first possession of the game. One possession later, St. Louis put together a seven-play, 93-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard Steven Jackson touchdown run.

As the game went on, Bradford relied more and more on his No. 1 target, Danny Amendola. Amendola abused every linebacker and a cornerback named Carlos Rogers. He was targeted a team-high 12 times, and of those 12 targets he hauled in 11 receptions.

St. Louis' 299-yard air attack marked the highest number of yards Vic Fangio's defense had surrendered through the air since Drew Brees dropped 435 yards on them during the NFC divisional round of the playoffs in 2011. However, that one yard kept a 49ers regular-season streak in tact. 

For the 11th game in a row, they have now held an opposing offense to under 300 yards passing. Unfortunately, their streak of holding opponents to under 100 yards on the ground was shattered for the fourth time in nine games this season.

Jackson and fellow running back Daryl Richardson averaged 4.3 yards per carry while the Rams were on their way to 159 tough yards through five quarters of play. Today's let-down against the run marked the highest total San Francisco had allowed on the ground since Week 11 of the 2010 season.

Even though the 49ers were out-worked in every facet of the game, a little luck and perseverance worked in their favor. St. Louis had multiple opportunities to put the game away both in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime. But the Rams shot themselves in the foot and let the game slip away. 

Jeff Fisher's club executed the perfect play on their first possession in overtime. Bradford delivered an absolute strike down the right sideline to Amendola. Amendola was working against Rogers one-on-one with no safety help on the back end—when No. 16 got by him, the ball was laid out right in front of him, which resulted in an 80-yard gain.

Fortunately enough for Coach Harbaugh's club the play was negated due to an illegal formation. St. Louis punted; the 49ers got the ball back with good field position, drove themselves all the way down to the 23-yard line and kicked a field goal. Sure enough, the kick sailed wide left and the Rams took over at the 31-yard line.

The Rams then proceeded to move the ball all the way down to the 35-yard line and were well within Greg Zuerlein's range. The kick goes up from 53 yards out and the game should be over, right?

Wrong; St. Louis is penalized once again for a delay of game. Another unlucky break which moved them back five yards, and Zuerlein then pushes the 58-yard kick wide to the right. 

Now it's easy to see why San Francisco is lucky to be 6-2-1 after a less-than-inspiring defensive effort.

Next week San Francisco hosts the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football

 

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