Why 49ers win vs. Rams is a microcosm of Niners 2021 season

Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Ambry Thomas #20 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) and outside linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Final/OT. 27. 42. 24. 51

The 49ers don’t win with style points or mistake-free football in 2021, but they have heart and toughness needed to make noise in the playoffs, and Week 18 encapsulated that.

The 2021 San Francisco 49ers are not for the faint of heart.

Injuries, losing streaks, quarterback controversies, just a few of the issues that could have doomed their playoff hopes and kept them on the outside looking in.

Heart and determination can overcome adversity, and the Niners did enough overcoming to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 27-24, clinching a spot in the playoffs Sunday.

This overtime adventure morphed into everything we have witnessed over an 18-week season for San Francisco. The team was down big early on, climbed out of the hole, shot itself in the foot again, before doing just enough to claim victory.

The way the first half played out, you wouldn’t have been surprised if the Rams built on their big 17-3 halftime lead and ran the 49ers off the field in the second half. Nothing was going right for the Bay Area team.

The gritty Niners, playing without several starters, including All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, took the fight to the Rams in the second half by dominating in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

The 49ers are flawed in many positions, but they have the ability, through experience and resolve, to put the past behind them. This group has built a mindset, that when in doubt, they are going to rely on their strengths by running the football and stopping the run. This formula allows them to quickly regroup after giving up long passes or costly penalties on defense and ill-advised interceptions and miscommunication on offense.

San Francisco executed this plan on Sunday, bloodying the mouth of the pretty team from LA. The Niners will enjoy this emotional victory for a short time before heading south to take on an explosive Dallas Cowboys team next Sunday in the Wild Card round.

To learn more about who this team is, one only needed to observe the Rams game and see the parallels of the entire 2021 season for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.