|Date of game: 11/2/2014
Recap: San Francisco vs. St. Louis
Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Twice in the game's final seconds, the 49ers were within inches of victory.
But Michael Crabtree rolled out-of-bounds inside the 1-yard line and Colin Kaepernick fumbled on the goal line, as the St. Louis Rams went into Levi's Stadium and stunned San Francisco 13-10 on Sunday in an NFC West showdown.
Greg Zuerlein put the Rams (3-5) in front with a field goal midway through the fourth. After both teams were forced to punt, San Francisco's offense, which hadn't done anything in the second half until then, marched into scoring position with time winding down.
Kaepernick started the final drive with a 25-yard pitch-and-catch to Stevie Johnson, who made a defender miss before running to the Niners 37. A penalty on Lamarcus Joyner gave the 49ers another first down out of the two-minute warning.
Later in the drive, Crabtree drew two straight penalties -- a pass interference and defensive holding -- on Trumaine Johnson to set up 1st-and- goal for the Niners with 42 seconds left. Kaepernick rolled right and hit Crabtree near the goal line on first down, but he had to go to the ground to make the catch and rolled out-of-bounds inches before crossing the plane. A booth review confirmed the call.
Kaepernick's second down pass sailed out of the back of the end zone, and the ball popped free on his QB sneak on third down. James Laurinaitis recovered the fumble at the bottom of the pile, sealing the outcome.
"The ball came out. I have to hold on to it," said Kaepernick. "We had opportunities in both halves. We didn't take advantage."
The Rams defense played as well as it had all season, sacking Kaepernick eight times and holding the 49ers to 3-of-12 on third down.
Austin Davis was less than stellar guiding St. Louis' offense, throwing for just 105 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His 8-yard dump off to Benny Cunningham on 3rd-and-10 put Zuerlein in a better position to kick his eventual game-winning field goal.
Kaepernick completed 22-of-33 for 237 yards with a touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, who made six catches for 93 yards. The 49ers (4-4) have dropped consecutive games following a three-game winning streak.
"We gotta take this as a positive and move on," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. "A lot of good things happened. We didn't play our best game. Obviously I have a lot of concerns about the last drive but we were playing an explosive offense."
The Niners went 64 yards in nine plays on the game's first possession. Phil Dawson kicked a 34-yard field goal to open the scoring.
Late in the first quarter, Zuerlein tied it with a 37-yarder.
Antoine Bethea's interception early in the second quarter set up the game's first touchdown. On 3rd-and-2 from the 27, Kaepernick fired a pass to Boldin, who ran it in for the go-ahead score.
Again, the Rams responded to tie the game. Robert Quinn sacked Kaepernick and forced the ball loose, with Eugene Sims recovering at the 49ers 36. Davis hit Cunningham for 17 yards and two plays later, hooked up with Kenny Britt for a 21-yard touchdown.
The Niners punted with seconds left in the half, and Rams punt returner and former first-round pick Tavon Austin nearly committed a costly mistake. After fielding Andy Lee's punt in the end zone, Austin danced around near the 1-yard line before getting tackled back into the end zone.
A lengthy video review called Austin down at the 1 because of forward progress, and the Rams dodged a bullet heading into the locker room.Game Notes
49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and cornerback Tramaine Brock missed the game
with toe injuries ... Niners Linebacker Chris Borland had a career-high 18
tackles. No one else in the game had more than six ... Tre Mason carried 19
times for 65 yards for the Rams ... The 49ers had won three straight in the
series ... Earlier this week, St. Louis traded safety Mark Barron to the
Buccaneers in exchange for two draft picks.