Monday, 12 November 2012

Rams-49ers play to tie in game fueled by weirdness

Sunday's slate of games delivered the NFL's first tie in four seasons. The San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams battled through regulation and all of overtime to wind up knotted at 24-24.

It hasn't happened since the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals wound up in a 13-13 deadlock back on Nov. 16, 2008. That oddity of a game was made stranger when Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb acknowledged he wasn't familiar with the NFL's overtime rules.

* Sigh. *

Ties don't happen without a handful of high jinx and game-turning moments, and Sunday's tilt was no exception. Consider the following:

1. OK, so it ended in a tie but neither team played a full 75 minutes: 98 seconds ran off the clock after 49ers quarterback Alex Smith completed a 14-yard pass on third-and-14 with 13:40 left in the second quarter. The officials attempted to halt the game to tote out the chains for a measurement, but no one stopped the clock. The 49ers ran a fourth-down play with 12:02 left. We see this in Pop Warner; not in the NFL. Absurd.

2. The 49ers played most of the game minus Smith, who left with a concussion before halftime. Backup Colin Kaepernick took over and finished 11-of-17 passing for 117 yards. He also did damage on the ground, rushing for 66 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.

3. The Rams are kicking themselves because they almost sealed this up on the first play of overtime. Quarterback Sam Bradford unhooked a deep ball to Danny Amendola, who went 80 yards before he was pushed out of bounds at the San Francisco 2. Or not. The Rams were flagged for an illegal formation and never came this close to the end zone again.

4. Both teams missed potential game-winning field goals in overtime. 49ers kicker David Akers -- one of the league's most reliable placekickers -- flubbed a 41-yard attempt wide left. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed an overtime kick that was called back for delay of game. His second attempt from 58 yards out was no good. The game tape from this one will drive both teams nuts.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

Natalie Portman Gary Estrada

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