Jaquiski Tartt apologizes to 49ers for dropped INT vs. Rams

Jaquiski Tartt #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Jaquiski Tartt #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

51. Final. 17. 42. 20

Fans may blame Jaquiski Tartt for the 49ers loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship game, but his apology is genuine, and he’s not the reason they lost.

The darker sections of the San Francisco 49ers fanbase are going to criticize veteran strong safety Jaquiski Tartt for what happened in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.

What matters is the end result. LA is advancing to Super Bowl LVI against the upstart Cincinnati Bengals after pulling off a 20-17 win at SoFI Stadium despite falling behind 17-7.

Those 13 unanswered Los Angeles points were a complete and collective dagger, as the Niners offense failed to respond after getting out to that 10-point lead.

A big turnaround, however, could have played out in the fourth quarter when Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford tried to hit wide receiver Van Jefferson deep down the field. Except the ball was severely underthrown and could have ended up right in the arms of Tartt:

The joke might be that’s why Tartt is a defensive back and not a wide receiver.

Granted, no one knows how the game would have unfolded if Tartt would have intercepted the ball. There still would have been nearly 10 minutes remaining, and San Francisco’s offense had gone completely stagnant by that point anyway.

It’s just as possible the 49ers would have gone 3-and-out and been forced to punt, opening up the door for the Rams to continue their surge to retake the lead.

For Tartt, though, it’s still going to be devastating.

Jaquiski Tartt will be haunted by not intercepting Matthew Stafford

In defense of Tartt, there were plenty of other instances and reasons why the Niners lost this game. LA going 11-of-18 on third downs, particularly in light of San Francisco struggling to cover wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr., was a big issue.

Two penalties against the 49ers, one on linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair for taunting and a late hit by fellow safety Jimmie Ward, tacked on 30 additional yards.

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo’s (likely) last play with 49ers is a fitting interception

In total, the Niners were flagged six times for 54 yards. Los Angeles was flagged twice for 10.

Still, Tartt apologized to the fanbase for his mistake, and he’ll surely recognize the game could have been vastly different if he had come down with that interception:

Tartt is also a free agent this offseason. Yet it’s pretty safe to note his overall efforts this year made San Francisco’s defense much better.

Whether or not that’ll be enough for the 49ers to retain him will be a question for the offseason.

In the meantime, one can only hope Tartt can put this moment behind him. Or, at the very least, use it as fuel.

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