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Rams avoid second tie, edge 49ers in overtime

Sunday, December 2, 2012 | 5:27 p.m. CST
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) talks to teammates in the huddle during the second quarter of Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — No way the St. Louis Rams wanted another tie.

So Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime to give the Rams a 16-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers 16-13 on Sunday, avoiding a second tie in three weeks against the NFC West leaders.

The rookie's winning kick came after he sent the game into overtime with a 53-yard field goal as time expired in regulation

The Rams (5-6-1) scored twice in the final 3:04 of regulation, getting their lone touchdown when rookie Janoris Jenkins returned an errant pitchout by Colin Kaepernick 2 yards for a score. They've won two straight after an 0-4-1 skid.

The 49ers (8-3-1) failed to take advantage of a 14-yard punt by rookie Johnny Hekker to midfield when David Akers was barely wide right on a 51-yard attempt with 4:11 to go in overtime. Akers is just 7 for 15 from 40 yards and beyond.

Zuerlein is 7 for 11 from from 50 yards or more and had plenty of distance on the kick. Before the 53-yarder at the end of regulation, he had missed four of his previous seven attempts including a 58-yarder near the end of the half.

The last time teams tied twice in a season was in 1963 in games between the Eagles and Steelers. The last time teams had two ties in a season was in 1973 when it happened to four teams.

The first 49ers-Rams meeting this season was the NFL's first tie in four seasons, and was a lot more wide open with both teams missing chances to end it in overtime.

Most of the game was a defensive struggle, nothing like the 24-all tie in San Francisco. Michael Crabtree was a rare offensive standout with seven catches for 101 yards, while rookie Chris Givens had 11 receptions for 92 yards.

The 49ers' running back Frank Gore scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter.

After a 50-yard run by Kaepernick on a rollout, Akers' 33-yard field goal put the 49ers ahead with 1:38 remaining. It left just enough time for Sam Bradford to guide the Rams 45 yards in seven plays.

Kaepernick's run to the St. Louis 14 at the two-minute warning compensated somewhat for his errant pitchout that handed the Rams their lone touchdown and set up the go-ahead field goal.

Kaepernick was well off the mark on a pitch to Ted Ginn Jr. in the forth quarter, which Jenkins fell on at the 2 before flopping into the end zone. The second-round pick out of North Alabama returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week in a victory at Arizona.

The Rams completed the following two-point conversion on a pass from Bradford to receiver Lance Kendricks, even after a false start penalty on tackle Rodger Saffold.

A questionable roughing the passer penalty on Rams end Robert Quinn contributed to a 13-play, 94-yard drive starting from the 1 that set up a 23-yard field goal by Akers for a 10-2 lead with 8:43 to go. The Rams aired several slow-motion replays of Quinn, while getting blocked by two players, tapping Kaepernick's facemask with his helmet after a throw.

Kaepernick also hit Crabtree for a 30-yard gain on the drive.

The Rams failed on fourth-and-1 in the red zone earlier in the game when Bradford couldn't connect with Austin Pettis in the right corner of the end zone against double coverage, leaving them with nothing to show for their best possession of the game. St. Louis had four first downs, matching the first-half total, while going 74 yards on 11 plays in nearly seven minutes.

Both teams kept it close to the vest in the first half with the 49ers outgaining the Rams 113-85 and putting together one nice drive, going 60 yards on 11 plays with three third-down conversions, capped by Gore's 1 yard scoring run late in the first quarter.

Kaepernick scrambled for one of the first downs and threw for two others, the last a 7-yard catch by Mario Manningham to the 1 one play before the touchdown.

Zuerlein had the distance on his 58-yard attempt with 25 seconds to go in the first half but was well wide to the right. In the first meeting at San Francisco, Zuerlein was wide right on a 58-yarder in overtime after making a 53-yarder that was nullified by a delay of game call.

The Rams wore retro jerseys from their 1999 championship season, featuring yellow numbers and striping, and marked the franchise's 75th anniversary. Several former Rams players were introduced at halftime, including Isaac Bruce and Todd Lyght, who got the strongest ovations.


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