For the ninth straight season, the St. Louis Rams will finish the season with a losing record.
On Sunday afternoon, the Rams played at Levi’s Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers, a team they had soundly beat 27-6 at the Edward Jones Dome earlier in the season. St. Louis was one week removed from completing a season sweep of the playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks with a 23-17 victory.
Meanwhile, the 49ers had former University of Missouri-Columbia quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the helm of a team that’s struggled all year long, both on offense and defense. The last time the two teams faced, now-benched quarterback Colin Kaepernick was leading the 49ers, though not in the direction the team would have liked him to.
As for Sunday’s game between the two rivals, the Rams were looking to win their fourth game in a row, which would have been their longest winning streak since they won seven straight in 2003, which happens to be the last year they had a winning season.
But that was not the case, as the 49ers were able to take advantage of multiple mistakes to win 19-16 in overtime.
The Rams, who were without running back Todd Gurley, who suffered an injury the week prior at Seattle, relied on Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham, as well as newly acquired Malcolm Brown, to take the reigns at the running back position. And all of them had varying levels of success. Mason scored his first touchdown of the season late in the second quarter to give the Rams a 13-10 lead. He finished the game with 18 carries for a team-leading 44 yards. Cunningham had four carries for 38 yards, and Brown had four carries for 17 yards.
One of the biggest plays of the game for the Rams occurred two plays prior to the touchdown mentioned above. A Gabbert pass was tipped by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and picked off by Eugene Sims who returned it 42 yards to put the Rams inside the 49ers five yard line.
But Gabbert wasn’t phased. All day, despite being pressured and hit by the Rams’ defensive line, he was able to make key throws to DuJuan Harris and Boldin and with help from Harris and Mike Davis in the running game, the 49ers were able to get 40-year old veteran kicker Phil Dawson in prime condition to kick the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter.
And thus, the game headed to overtime tied at 16-16.
Following a defensive stand by the Rams, Case Keenum and the Rams had a prime chance to win the game. But a controversial choice by head coach Jeff Fisher to have Zuerlein kick a long field-goal backfired as it was blocked by the 49ers. It set them up near midfield, and a few plays later, Dawson kicked the game-winning field goal, as they won 19-16.
A mere two hours later, however, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula was fired after just one season.
As for the Rams, Fisher will remain with the team, as will general manager Les Snead.
Many do not support keeping them both (or Fisher at the very least) on the staff due to the lack of a winning season in over a decade, and Fisher’s mediocre pedigree: in 21 seasons as a NFL head coach, he’s only had six winning seasons.
Six. Out of 21.
And now, fans will sit and watch as the business drama regarding the Rams… and what city they’ll play in next year… unfolds.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)