After re-watching all 75 minutes from the 49ers' 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams, here are a few observations, as well as some stats compiled by Pro Football Focus . . . --It was not a good day for three Pro Bowl players on the 49ers' defense, including both All-Pro inside linebackers. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman had their worst grades of the season, by far, according to PFF's rating system.Willis had trouble shedding blocks and bringing down hard-charging Rams running back Steven Jackson. And his defensive holding penalty on a third down with 1:03 remaining in overtime enabled the Rams to retain possession and keep the ball in their hands as time ran out.Jackson's 7-yard TD run in the first quarter came on a play in which he ran through a hole created when guard Harvey Dahl blocked Bowman and center Rob Turner blocked Willis.--Cornerback Carlos Rogers surrendered 67 receiving yards. The man he was covering caught all nine passes that came his way, according to PFF. And things could have been so much worse if Danny Amendola's 80-yard reception in OT had not been nullified by an illegal formation.Rogers did a good job in run support, including a nice one-on-one stop against Jackson to hold him to 2 yards in the second quarter.--Two blunders proved to be pivotal plays in allowing the Rams to come back from a 21-17 deficit late in the fourth quarter to take a 24-21 lead. First, the 49ers coaching staff should've been expecting a fake punt from the Rams if they'd noticed Amendola line up at gunner. The 49ers should have used a timeout to get their defense -- not their return unit -- on the field.
Second, there was mass confusion prior to a key third-and-8 play later on that drive. The 49ers were not sure of their defensive call. As Bowman tried to convey a signal, he dropped his mouthpiece. He was bending over to pick it up as Bradford called for the snap. Bowman was late in recovering and by then he could not prevent a 16-yard pass to Amendola.RELATED: 49ers burned by fakesJust prior to the snap of the ball, Justin Smith is seen trying to signal for a timeout. After the snap, he and Ray McDonald continued to call for a timeout as the play continued.--Rams tight end Lance Kendricks made two big blocks on nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. He had a pancake on the Rams' second offensive play on which Jackson gained 10 yards. And Kendricks also handled Sopoaga on Jackson's 7-yard TD run.--The 49ers' offense started out poorly with a three-and-out. Center Jonathan Goodwin got beaten by Kendall Langford as Frank Gore was stopped for a 1-yard loss. Alex Smith had a clean pocket from which to throw on a five-step drop, but he never pulled the trigger and was sacked for a 2-yard loss. On third and 13, the 49ers set up a screen play beautifully. Smith hit Gore on the left side, and all five offensive linemen were out front. However, nobody blocked anyone and Gore picked up just 5 yards.--The Rams' first touchdown came on Bradford's 36-yard pass to rookie Brian Quick. Cornerback Chris Culliver tried to get a jam at the line of scrimmage, missed and fell down. And safety Dashon Goldson could not stop Quick when he had a chance at the 5-yard line.--Alex Smith did himself no favors when he did not slide feet first in front of on-rushing Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. That play, apparently, was not the play on which Smith sustained his concussion, though.Smith was injured on a quarterback sneak, coach Jim Harbaugh said. It is difficult to see any helmet-to-helmet contact (which would be legal because Smith was a runner) on the sneak. But it appears it might have come from middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who dove into the pile to attempt to stop Smith on a fourth-and-1 play.--Smith, while experiencing blurred vision, completed all three pass attempts after the sneak. He made a nice throw to Michael Crabtree for a 19-yard gain. Then, Crabtree's 14-yard touchdown came when he was lined up in the slot, caught a short pass, and made safety Craig Dahl miss with an inside move.--Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was up and down. He was mostly down early in his relief performance. He missed a wide-open Vernon Davis, who had several steps on Laurinaitis deep down the left side. He also failed to see Kyle Williams on a deep post pattern when there was not a defender within 10 yards of him.RATTO: Concussion lead to tie, QB controversy
--Kaepernick also made some big-time throws, including a 20-yard bullet to Mario Manningham at the left sideline to begin a scoring drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Kaepernick gained 66 yards rushing on eight attempts. Five of those runs were scrambles on called pass plays.--Outside linebacker Aldon Smith played very well in the run game on plays directed his way. He also made a hustle play to come from the far side of the field to track down Daryl Richardson after a 32-yard gain in the first quarter.Aldon Smith recorded two sacks, both of which were a direct result of Justin Smith tying up the left side of the Rams offensive line. On the first sack, Justin Smith held left guard Shelley Smith while also occupying left tackle Joe Barksdale to allow Aldon Smith a free shot at Bradford. On the final play of overtime, Justin Smith appeared to be within the rules when he crashed into the Rams guard to open the door for Aldon Smith.--Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks had a very good all-around game. The 49ers' run defense was not good in the first half, but for the final three quarters that unit did a good job on Steven Jackson, who had just 45 yards rushing on 17 carries after halftime.--McDonald was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Bradford late in the third quarter on a third-and-10 play. He is also lucky he wasn't called for the same infraction three plays later on a third-and-9. Bradford's pass was incomplete, and the Rams settled for a 27-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.--Kyle Williams fumbled at the end of an 11-yard reception in the third quarter and desperately struggled to retain possession with the recovery. The 49ers retained possession.Williams was involved in a couple notable plays on the final drive. He made a nice catch of a well-thrown Kaepernick ball at the sideline for a 13-yard gain. With :11 remaining in regulation and the 49ers trailing by three points, Williams ran a wheel route and Kaepernick threw a dart his way before Williams' head got around to look for the ball. The pass went whizzing past Williams, and it was probably a good thing. Had Williams caught the pass and been tackled in-bounds, time would've run out and the 49ers would not have had the opportunity for the game-tying field goal.--In overtime, the snap and the hold were perfect on the 41-yard field attempt that David Akers pushed wide left.--Cornerback Tarell Brown had very good coverage on Amendola on a third-and-4 from the St. Louis 49, but Bradford provided a great throw and Amendola made a nice catch for a 10-yard gain to help get the Rams into position for their missed field goal of overtime.--Rams defensive end Chris Long got the better of his matchup against right tackle Anthony Davis. According to PFF, Long had 10 QB disruptions (one sack, one hit, eight hurries). His sack and five pressures came against Anthony Davis, while one hit and one hurry was against tight end Vernon Davis. Alex Boone and Joe Staley allowed one hurry apiece to Long.
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