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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

49ers rally to top Rams in 27-24 overtime instant classic to earn playoff spot

Jan 9, 2022 at 4:42 PM

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot
SF 0 3 14 7 3 27
LA 3 14 0 7 0 24

The 49ers' mastery over the Los Angeles Rams continued on Sunday, and this time it earned them a spot in the playoffs.

The 49ers needed a win over the Rams or a loss by the New Orleans Saints to the Atlanta Falcons in order to advance to the playoffs as a Wild Card. It didn't look promising early in the game, but the 49ers came up with a strong second half performance dig out of a 17-point first half hole and went on to eventually defeat the Rams 27-24 in overtime. The win was the sixth in a row over the Rams for the 49ers and puts them into a playoff matchup on the road against the Dallas Cowboys next week.

A rough first half led the 49ers to a 17-0 second quarter hole, but they slugged their way back in the second half to tie the game at 17 in the third. A fourth quarter touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Cooper Kupp gave the Rams a late lead, then 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led his offense on a last-minute drive to tie the game with a touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game.

The 49ers took the lead in overtime on a field goal, then got an interception to seal the game from rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas. Garoppolo, who returned to the starting lineup Sunday after missing last week's game against the Houston Texans with a thumb injury, finished with 316 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 23-of-32 passing, while Stafford finished 21-of-32 for 238 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

First Half

The Rams opened the game with possession and put together a lengthy drive that took up 13 plays and 62 yards while eating almost nine minutes off the game clock, but they were forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal from kicker Matt Gay to take an early 3-0 lead. Three third-down conversions including a 46-yard completion from Stafford to wide receiver Cooper Kupp put the Rams deep inside 49ers territory, but the 49ers rose to the occasion on the fourth 3rd down of the possession when defensive linemen Arden Key and Arik Armstead combined on a sack to halt the drive.

After forcing a 49ers punt on the next possession, the Rams put together another lengthy drive, this one ending in a touchdown pass from Stafford to Tyler Higbee to take a 10-0 lead. The drive spanned 12 plays and 61 yards, taking over six minutes off the clock, finishing on a 4th-and-1 play when Stafford found Higbee open in the end zone for a two-yard score.

Things went from bad to worse on the next offensive possession for the 49ers, who went 18 yards in the wrong direction after taking sacks on first and second down and a run for a loss on third down. The punt after the possession was returned for 31 yards to the 49ers' 19-yard line by Brandon Powell, then Stafford found Higbee again for a touchdown, this one from 15 yards out on 3rd-and-6 for a 17-0 lead.

The rain kept pouring for the 49ers on their next possession, which moved from their own 25-yard line to midfield before Garoppolo sailed a pass under pressure that was picked off by safety Taylor Rapp at the Rams' 21. Armstead and defensive end Nick Bosa stopped the bleeding with a third-down sack on the next possession, giving the 49ers one more chance with 38 seconds left in the half. The 49ers were able to move 61 yards in six plays in that time, setting up a 42-yard field goal from kicker Robbie Gould to cut the lead to 17-3 as time expired.

Gould's field goal was sorely needed for the 49ers, who before that point had a miserable first half. The Rams held the ball for 19 minutes and 53 seconds in the half, outgaining the 49ers 149 to 83. Stafford threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-16 passing over the first two quarters, while Kupp caught five passes for 84 yards and the Rams converted on 7-of-10 third down attempts.

Second Half

Things got off to a much more favorable start in the second half for the 49ers, who took the kickoff and marched 75 yards in seven plays to trim the deficit to 17-10 after a 16-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Deebo Samuel. A key 13-yard completion to running back JaMycal Hasty on a 3rd-and-3 early in the drive moved the 49ers to their own 45-yard line, then a 31-yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk moved the 49ers to the Rams' 24-yard line. Samuel ran in two plays later for his eighth rushing touchdown of the season, the highest total in NFL history for a wide receiver.

The 49ers held the Rams to a three-and-out on the next possession, then put together a statement drive to tie the game at 17. The drive spanned 74 yards in 11 plays, taking over seven minutes off the clock, with the first ten plays of the drive being runs. Then on the last play of the drive, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan dipped in his bag of tricks and called a running back pass by Samuel, who connected with a wide open Jennings for a 24-yard touchdown.

Momentum continued to move in the 49ers' favor from there, as a first down sack by defensive tackle D.J. Jones and a second down incompletion set up a 3rd-and-16 on the Rams' next offensive possession. Stafford went deep on the third down and was picked off by cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, giving the 49ers the ball at their own 32-yard line.

The Rams held the 49ers to a three-and-out on the next possession, then the 49ers' defense answered by forcing a punt after six plays. The 49ers then put together a lengthy drive to get inside field goal range, but the drive ended when Garoppolo was picked for the second time on a pass that was juggled and intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

The Rams turned the interception into points with a nine-play, 92-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Kupp. Stafford connected with Kupp for a 30-yard gain on a 3rd-and-6 earlier in the drive, then the two of them finished the drive with the touchdown to take a 24-17 lead with 2:29 left in the game.

The next possession didn't go the way the 49ers needed. A one-yard pass followed by an incompletion set up a 3rd-and-9, then Garoppolo was sacked by Von Miller to force a punt. The Rams took over at their own 40-yard line with 1:50 remaining after the punt, but the 49ers forced a three-and-out and were able to lose just 16 seconds off the clock by using their three timeouts.

The 49ers began their final possession at their own 12-yard line after the punt and zipped downfield in a hurry with a 21-yard completion to Brandon Aiyuk to start the drive, followed by a five-yard completion to Jennings and a 55-yard completion to Samuel that put the 49ers at the Rams' 19-yard line with 35 seconds remaining. After an offsides penalty on the Rams and an incomplete pass intended for Samuel, Garoppolo found Jennings from 14 yards out for a touchdown. Gould's extra point was good, tying the game at 24 with 26 seconds to play. The Rams let the clock run down after a sack by Armstead on the next possession, sending the game to overtime.


The 49ers won the coin toss before the overtime and elected to receive. After moving to their own 42-yard line with runs from Mitchell and Samuel and a short reception by Samuel, Garoppolo connected with Jennings on a 34-yard catch and run that moved the ball to the Rams' 24. Garoppolo and Jennings connected again three plays later on a 9-yard gain to the 8-yard line on a 3rd-and-3, but they were unable to find the end zone and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Gould with 2:45 remaining.

The Rams began at their own 18-yard line after a 22-yard return out of the end zone on the kickoff then found themselves in a 3rd-and-10 after two incompletions. But a pass interference call on Moseley gave them a 1st-and-10 at their own 25 with 2:27 remaining. A nine-yard catch by Higbee and a four-yard run by Michel put the Rams at their own 38-yard line as the clock wound down to the two-minute warning.

On the next play, the 49ers sealed a spot in the playoffs via an unlikely hero in Thomas, who didn't see much playing time for the bulk of the season before emerging in recent weeks and was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as of Friday. Stafford went deep on the play hoping to connect with wide receiver Odell Beckham, but Thomas intercepted the pass, sealing a Wild Card spot.

The 49ers wound up with a significant yardage advantage over the Rams, outgaining them 449 to 265. They converted 9-of-14 third downs in the game while holding a 135-64 edge on the ground. And they managed to win time of possession 36:44 to 31:24 after digging a big hole in that area at the half.

Mitchell finished with 85 carries on 21 yards for the 49ers, while Samuel rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries along with four catches for 95 yards. Aiyuk led the 49ers with six catches for 107 yards, while Jennings finished with six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp led all receivers with seven catches for 118 yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers finish the regular season at 10-7 after beginning the year at 3-5. The Rams fell to 12-5 on the year but still secured an NFC West title with a loss by the Arizona Cardinals to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

SF Team Stats LA
449 Total Yards 265
314 Passing Yards 201
135 Rushing Yards 64
10.3 Avg Yards per Pass 7.4
4.4 Avg Yards per Run 2.4
0 Fumbles Lost 0
2 Int Thrown 2
3 Sacks Allowed 5
36:44 Time of Pos 31:24
6 Penalties 3

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Jimmy Garoppolo 23/32 316 1 2
Deebo Samuel 1/1 24 1 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Elijah Mitchell 21 85 4 0
Deebo Samuel 8 45 5.6 1
JaMycal Hasty 1 4 4 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 1 1 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Brandon Aiyuk 6 7 107 0
Deebo Samuel 4 6 95 0
Jauan Jennings 6 7 94 2
JaMycal Hasty 2 3 21 0
Trent Sherfield 1 1 13 0
George Kittle 5 7 10 0
Travis Benjamin 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 2 2 42 3
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 2 42.5 0 43
Robbie Gould 2 45 1 47
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
JaMycal Hasty 11 11 0 11
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Travis Benjamin 1 14 0 14
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Dontae Johnson 8-1 0 0 0
Dre Greenlaw 5-7 0 0 0
Fred Warner 5-3 0.5 0 0
Emmanuel Moseley 5-1 0 1 0
Arik Armstead 4-3 2.5 0 0
Jimmie Ward 2-4 0 0 0
Nick Bosa 2-3 0.5 0 0
Trent Sherfield 2-0 0 0 0
Jaquiski Tartt 2-0 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 1-2 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-1 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 1-1 1 0 0
Kentavius Street 1-0 0 0 0
Curtis Robinson 1-0 0 0 0
Charles Omenihu 1-0 0 0 0
George Kittle 1-0 0 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 1-0 0 0 0
Samson Ebukam 1-0 0 0 0
Darqueze Dennard 1-0 0 0 0
Travis Benjamin 1-0 0 0 0

Rams Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Matthew Stafford 21/32 238 3 2
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Sony Michel 21 43 2 0
Cooper Kupp 1 18 18 0
Cam Akers 5 3 0.6 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Cooper Kupp 7 7 118 1
Tyler Higbee 6 8 55 2
Van Jefferson 2 3 31 0
Odell Beckham Jr. 2 5 18 0
Cam Akers 3 3 10 0
Sony Michel 1 4 6 0
Ben Skowronek 0 2 0 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Matt Gay 1 1 43 3
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Johnny Hekker 4 49.5 2 59
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Powell 36 18 0 22
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Powell 2 20 0 31
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Travin Howard 6-2 0 0 0
Taylor Rapp 6-2 0 1 0
Von Miller 5-0 1 0 0
Troy Reeder 4-4 1 0 0
Aaron Donald 4-3 0 0 0
Darious Williams 4-2 0 0 0
Jordan Fuller 3-3 0 0 0
Nick Scott 3-2 0 0 0
Jalen Ramsey 3-0 0 1 0
A'Shawn Robinson 2-4 1 0 1
Terrell Burgess 2-3 0 0 0
David Long 2-1 0 0 0
Greg Gaines 1-3 0 0 0
Ben Skowronek 1-0 0 0 0
Jake Gervase 1-0 0 0 0
Leonard Floyd 1-0 0 0 0
Donte' Deayon 1-0 0 0 0

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