We did it! The San Francisco 49ers was able to outlast the St. Louis Rams in a 34-27 victory. It was not as easy as I thought it would be. The Niners got out to a 34-13 lead, but it would quickly vanish. With the New Orleans Saints in control of their game, the Niners almost had the first round bye slip through their hands. Luckily the Niners defense was able to hold on to the lead and secure a victory closer than what it should have been. With a first round bye the Niners will have time to recover from injuries suffered to key players. Looks like WR Kyle Williams and WR Ted Ginn Jr. will back in the lineup for the divisional round after missing the Rams game. The only Niner starter that looks doubtful for the playoffs is TE Delanie Walker, who is injured with a broken jaw. It was a great win for the Niners to end the regular season with a 13-3 record. Here is what caught my eye during the game.
Going into the game the Niners defense had a chance to make history. The Niners defense had a chance to give up the fewest rushing touchdowns in a season. The record was two shared with a few teams. The Niners had only given up one rushing touchdown, but the Rams would score two rushing touchdowns pushing the total to three for the year. I It found very odd that the Niners defense gave up so many points to the Rams. Even with LB Patrick Willis back in the lineup, the defense seemed to relax after given a 21 point lead. Remember this was a team that the Niners shut out in their previous meeting. It was a bit shocking seeing the defense play the way they did. Oh well, expect better during the playoffs.
LB Aldon Smith was not able to obtain a sack and in the process did not receive the rookie sack record. Aldon got close a few times but was not able to get a hold on the quarterback. Rams QB Kellen Clemens was doing a great job of releasing the ball quickly. He did not hold the ball long, making it difficult for Aldon to have opportunities to get a sack. Niner fans should still applaud Aldon for a remarkable rookie season and hope he continues his great play throughout the playoffs.
I was surprised that Patrick played in the game, but it was great to see him on the field. Patrick looked a bit rusty to me. He was not fighting off blocks like he usually does, which is expected after missing 4 games. It is a good thing that he played because he was able to get back into the flow of the game. Know with the bye approaching, Patrick should be able to practice at full strength and be 100% ready for the playoffs. Another point to be made is even with Patrick being rusty during the game; he still garnishes lots of intention which frees up LB NaVorro Bowman to make many plays. Bowman shines when Willis is in the lineup.
The Fake Field Goal
The fake was a very cool play. But to my dismay, I really believe that is something the Niners should have kept in their back pocket for the playoffs. I guess with the Rams coming back and playing inspired football, Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh wanted to make sure to lock up the second seed and keep a secure lead. With a potential match up against the New Orleans Saints points will be needed and the fake field goal could have came in handy against that offensive juggernaut. Let me not take anything away from the play and I want to congratulate K David Akers for throwing his first career touchdown pass.
The game was closer than many had anticipated, including me. I was wrong in just about all my predictions, expect a Niner win. We are a great team; there is no doubt about it, now will come down to how the players react to the playoffs. For many it will be their first playoff experience and they will be going up against veteran playoff teams. The coaches and players will have to be prepared like never before. I cannot wait to see the Niners bring it during the divisional playoff round. GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!!