Win or lose - or not - the Rams have been a tough team throughout 2012. In San Francisco, that was especially true. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, but it wasn't too little, either.
Well, um, yeah.
That was ... Rams football? I really can't say for certain what happened at Candlestick Park when the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers added the latest chapter to their longstanding NFC West rivalry. I just know that nobody won, nobody lost and nobody feels good about it.
The fact is that the Rams, 11 point underdogs for the gamblers, were given no chance to win yesterday, yet they seemingly did so on three (by my biased count) separate occasions. Unfortunately, as the game clock reached all zeros for the fifth time, the scoreboard was deadlocked at 24, leaving both teams to sulk toward the locker room with their heads down.
St. Louis remains undefeated in the division and has snapped the three-game losing streak that followed them into the bye week; however, such moral victories will do little to wash that sour taste out of fans' mouths. I mean, like, seriously? Oh, whatever.
If your computer is still functional because you withdrew your fists, have at some links.
Jeff Gordon's report card - I have never been more impressed or pleased by Sam Bradford. Against one of the best defenses that he may ever see, Sam was nearly unflappable, save for a couple of rough hits. His rapport with Danny Amendola is as strong as ever. This should have been the game that fans could look back on ten years from now as Bradford's signature victory.
The play of the running backs was equally as vital to securing yesterday's
victory finish. Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson combined for 159 yards on the ground, as well as a touchdown. How can anyone not love Jackson? His long third down catch and relentless bulldozer-type run to get the first was the epitome of everything that he has been to the team for the better part of a decade. Also, his crucial block on Patrick Willis to allow Sam's touchdown to Austin Pettis was a thing of beauty.
Isaiah Pead played.
Lance Kendricks and the receiving corp. had their best game of the year. Brian Quick and Austin Pettis - the unlikeliest of the bunch - both found the endzone. In benching Chris Givens, Jeff Fisher showed both he and the fans that the offensive could operate without him. The Rams need to do anything and everything to get Amendola (11 catches, 102 yards) under a long-term contract. If only Brandon Gibson had lined up correctly.
The patchwork offensive line, including a healthy Rodger Saffold, was a force more often than not.
It's a mixed bag when judging the defense. Each position had its strengths and shortcomings. For the fifth consecutive game, the team came away with zero interceptions, and could helplessly only watch as no loose balls bounced their way. With merely a minute to play, the Rams needed to force one more stop of the 49ers, namely light-footed quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They did not, and David Akers effortlessly nailed the tying field goal.
Craig Dahl is still Craig Dahl.
Rams-49ers fit to be tied - Even more from the Post-Dispatch
Fantastic finish? Undecided - Players, coaches and team staff on both sidelines left the field on Sunday confused and in disbelief. They know and accept the outcome; they just don't know how it happened or what to take away from it.
"I don't know exactly how it feels," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
At least he and Ram fans can feel mutually about something. To be honest, I'm convinced that it's really still Saturday, and this impossibly twisted, incomprehensible dream will soon be over.
A bizarre, mistake-filled game - Game management emphatically destroyed this game. Time and opportunities were squandered repeatedly as mental mistakes surrounded the field. And, on top of that, the Rams messed up a lot! I kid, but, seriously, it was a fun 58 minutes of 4 quarters.
After that - oh, boy. Fans typically get a queasy feeling as their favorite team heads into over time, but this one is ongoing. Oh, it's over? Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?
Here is the Game Center from NFL.com - If you want all the stats, or if you're just a glutton for emotional abuse. Heck, at least there are highlights.
Sando's post-game wrap-up - If the Rams are intent on surpassing the single season penalty record, then they're well on course. It's a mystery to me how this team nearly won this game with how often they shot themselves in the foot. It's particularly frustrating that the two costliest infractions were elementary, procedural miscues. (See: Brandon Gibson's illegal formation and game-winning field goal delay of game)
Danny Amendola learns something new - Danny Amendola, meet Donovan McNabb, and ask him how overtime works in the NFL. He should know. As it turned out, Danny didn't fully understand that there may be only 5 periods in a regular season game. He wasn't alone; 49ers safety Dashon Goldson was also perplexed to see both teams join at midfield for formal "congratulations" handshakes.