St. Louis Rams Hold On Beat 49ers 25-17
The St. Louis Rams gave Rams fans everywhere an extra Christmas present when they held on to beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-17 in front of a loud crowd of 52,820 at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. With the win the St. Louis Rams remain in first place of the NFC West with a record of 7-8. The Rams are still forced to beat the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) next week to capture the NFC West crown. The Rams have nothing to apologize for if they make the playoffs at 8-8. After only seeing six victories over the last three years I know I do not care how they get in, just win baby!
The young St. Louis Rams still lack the killer instinct of the greatest show on turf days but Sunday they were scrappy and showed a will to win, and that was all they needed a win. The Rams came out dominating the game in the first quarter of play. The Rams opened the game with a 60 yard drive capped off by a Steven Jackson one yard plunge. The key to the drive was the aggressive play calling of Pat Shurmer. Often criticized you have to give him props for this drive. The Rams were in 4-wide most of the drive and the key play was a pass interference on a deep ball to Denario Alexander. The Rams who are reluctant to play Alexander a lot starter the game with him playing. This was a huge play and gave the Rams the early momentum.
The St. Louis Rams defense came out flying and shutdown the 49ers completely in the first quarter. In the first quarter alone the Rams defense forced two fumbles and caused a safety to put the Rams up 9-0. The 49ers were unable to move the ball and had only one first down during the quarter. For the game the Rams defense had four sacks, a safety, and two takeaways, while causing 5 fumbles. The 49ers managed 331 total yards but well over 100 of those came in the 4th quarter with the 49ers trailing.
Everything changed late in the first quarter with the Rams up 9-0. After the safety and a nice kick return by Danny Amendola, who had an outstanding game the Rams were in position to build on their lead. Sam Bradford hit a streaking Brandon Gibson to put the Rams on the 49ers 10 yard line. The Rams were in position to go up by 12 or 16 and really put their foot on the throat of the 49ers. Then came a play the Rams always seem to have, the big mistake at a bad time. Sam Bradford dropped back to pass on first down and Patrick Willis came streaking through the line and chased Bradford out of the pocket. Sam should have taken the sack or quickly thrown the ball out of bounds but he did not. Willis forced the fumble and the 49ers took over.
The St. Louis Rams defense continued to dominate and held the 49ers to two first downs in the 2nd quarter. The shocking part of this was that 49ers found themselves up 14-12 at half time! That's right after doing nothing the entire half the 49ers had the lead on two big plays. Ted Ginn Jr. returned a Donnie Jones punt 78 yards to make it 9-7. Then on the very next drive Troy Smith threw a pass through the hands of Vernon Davis that went right to Michael Crabtree who scored from 60 yards out and the 49ers were up 14-12.
Sam Bradford who set a rookie record for completions with 335 passing Peyton Manning who had 326 in 1998 would not allow the Rams to lose on this day. Bradford was 28 of 37 passes for 292 yards and a TD, no interceptions and a passer rating of 107. Bradford engineered a nice second half comeback completing 16 of 20 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. The Rams got a FG to go up 15-14 early in the 3rd quarter to go up 15-14 and they would never look back. Denario Alexander was again the star in the 4th quarter. On a 4 play drive of 71 yards Alexander caught 3 straight from Bradford including a bomb to put the Rams at the 49ers 3 yards line. On the next play Bradford threw a nice roll out pass to Laurent Robinson for a TD to put the Rams up 22-14. The Rams defense finished off the 49ers for a huge 25-17 victory setting up the brawl for it all next week in Seattle.
By Stlvinnie - http://www.stlouisramfan.com/