SANTA CLARA — The final moments of the 49ers' 34-31 win over the Rams were so nerve-wracking that even receivers Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne were actually holding hands while Robbie Gould lined up for the game-winning field goal.
This is not a new phenomenon for the Niners, who have had their last four games determined by a score in the final seconds. Three of those matchups ended in a walk-off style field goal. Is the team used to this pressure? Do they maybe even thrive off of it?
It seems Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t have a problem with the pressure of needing to produce a game-winning drive. The quarterback and his offense converted in two third-and-16 situations in the final minutes to help kicker Robbie Gould seal the victory with a 33-yard field goal.
“It’s fun if you win it, yeah,” Garoppolo said. “We don’t intend for those situations, but just the way it happened and everything, guys battling, defense making huge plays, it was a real complimentary football game today. I know I’ve said that before, but today we showed it more than ever.”
Coach Kyle Shanahan admitted that it’s not the best scenario for his stress level but that it might be good practice for his team as it prepares to play in the postseason.
“You get used to it happening, but your body still feels the same,” Shanahan said. “Not great. We’ll go rest after this, but it’s a lot of fun. I mean, as long as you win them, it’s a lot of fun. It’s good practice.
“That’s how most of these games get when you go against good teams and that’s how most games are in the playoffs. I think we’ve gotten battle tested throughout this year and hopefully that will pay off for us here in the long run.”
San Francisco 49ers
Several of the players said that while they would much prefer to beat their opponent handily, they are just happy to get the win.
Here are quotes from the players about the last four emotional games:
“Win any way possible. It’s another game, another close game. They all seem close. We were able to pull out a win in kind of a crazy way. So, just find ways to win and keep advancing and move onto the next game.”
“You just win, whatever it takes. Whether it’s a point, half a point, quarter of a point, three points, 40, that’s a win. That’s what we need, especially going down the stretch, you got to win these weird games. You got to learn how to win every way you can. That’s what you got to do in the playoffs. This was another great lesson.”
“By any means necessary. It is December football and we are playing against some really good teams. A team, that was playing February last year. There are going to be close games. That is something we are built for now.”
“It’s pretty impressive by both of those guys. Kendrick and Emmanuel incredible routes. Great job by KB to come back and get that ball and be aggressive and it says a lot for Jimmy to just step in there and rip it. And I know he was feeing it today so for him to make those plays at the end of the game to win it was awesome.”
“Bourne made a play, came back, E-man made play, I’m like, ok, we rolling. It’s time to win the game. Everybody was ready for the moment. Nobody flinched as you can see.”
“We are in close games. That is a test to us and we need those tests early so it is definitely going to help us down the road.”
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“Like Kyle says, we’ve been in every situation so when you guys ask about the pressure and stuff like that We’ve seen everything so That’s why you see us so unfazed. We got to keep that up.”