The San Francisco 49ers kept their hopes of earning the top overall seed in the NFC alive with a 34-31 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium on Saturday.
Jimmy Garoppolo connected with Emmanuel Sanders for 46 yards on 3rd-and-16 in the final minute to set the table for a game-winning 33-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
Jared Goff had 323 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort for the Rams, with Todd Gurley II adding two scores on the ground.
Rams QB Jared Goff: 27-of-46, 323 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Rams RB Todd Gurley II: 15 carries, 48 yards, two touchdowns
Rams WR Cooper Kupp: four catches, 31 yards, one touchdown
Rams WR Robert Woods: eight catches, 117 yards
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 16-of-27, 248 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
49ers RB Raheem Mostert: 11 carries, 53 yards, one touchdown
49ers TE George Kittle: five catches, 79 yards, one touchdown
49ers WR Deebo Samuel: four catches, 31 yards; three carries, 28 yards, one touchdown
Garoppolo, Niners Offense Overcome Slow Start, Rally Late
It wasn't a pretty start for the home team, but by the time the clock struck zero, San Francisco was on the smiling side of the scoreboard.
One play into the second quarter, the stat sheet read: San Francisco 15 (yards), Los Angeles 14 (points). Fortunately for the Niners, an 81-yard kickoff return early on led to a field goal and kept them within striking distance as the offense attempted to figure out the Rams defense.
Once they found a rhythm, though, Garoppolo and Co. were tough to slow down.
Following a shaky opening quarter, San Francisco opened the second quarter with a pair of 75-yard drives that resulted in trips to the end zone:
Just like in the first, the Niners offense stalled in the third quarter. But with his team trailing 28-24, Garoppolo came through in the clutch in the fourth quarter:
And again in the final minute with the game tied:
That could wind up being one of the most important plays of the season for San Francisco, as the victory keeps it in the mix for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Mistakes Prove Costly as Rams Blow Early Lead
Los Angeles appeared to be in position to keep its season alive as it put up 21 points in the first 24 minutes of the game. However, as the 49ers offense put on the pressure, the Rams began to make mistakes.
And it proved costly.
Goff and the L.A. offense started the game with touchdowns on three of their first five possessions. As the Niners cut the deficit down to 21-17 late in the second quarter, Goff made an ill-advised throw that put his team down at the break:
Down by three, the Rams defense opened the second half by forcing a turnover and setting up the offense with great field position. However, the offense went backward on the ensuing drive and kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a potential game-tying 52-yard field goal.
Los Angeles ultimately recaptured the lead midway through the third. However, with multiple chances to pad their lead late, the Rams could not take advantage of the opportunities at hand, opening the door for the 49ers to rally.
The Rams defense had the opportunity to get off the field in the final 94 seconds of the game and give the offense the football with a chance to win the game. However, the Niners managed to convert a pair of 3rd-and-16s and ultimately win the game with a walk-off field goal.
San Francisco (12-3) will head north for a showdown with the Seattle Seahawks (11-3) on Dec. 29, which will be a winner-take-all battle for the NFC West.
Los Angeles (8-7) was eliminated from postseason contention with the loss. The Rams will conclude their season by hosting the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.