5 reasons why 49ers ultimately lost NFC championship to Rams

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
Cooper Kupp, Jaquiski Tartt, K'Waun Williams, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) against San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt (3) and defensive back K’Waun Williams (24) Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

51. 20. 51. Final. 17

The 49ers lost a 10-point lead over the Rams in the NFC Championship and ultimately lost 20-17. But the reasons why aren’t entirely what you think.

There are going to be moments when fans reflect back upon what could have been when the San Francisco 49ers ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 NFC Championship and wonder, “what happened?”

The Niners ultimately lost 20-17, while LA is now heading to Super Bowl LVI to face off against the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. Not San Francisco.


Probably the biggest tell-tale memory will be safety Jaquiski Tartt‘s dropped would-be interception in the fourth quarter with the 49ers holding onto a 17-14 lead. While that might not have sealed the game, it would have at least prevented Los Angeles from scoring on that drive.

It did. Yet that’s not the sole reason (or even the biggest) why the Niners lost the NFC Championship game.

Here are five reasons why San Francisco ultimately lost.

No. 5: Jaquiski Tartt drop did ultimately hurt 49ers

No, it wasn’t the biggest reason. But Tartt’s drop on a 1st-and-10 play with 9:55 remaining in the fourth quarter on a deep pass from Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford could have been a game-changer.

Especially considering how easy of a pick it would have been:

The Niners already intercepted Stafford once in the game, which denied LA a prime red-zone scoring opportunity. And in hindsight, with Los Angeles tacking on three points, it was indeed a big play.

The unseen part, though, could have been the shift in momentum. San Francisco was reeling, defensively, in the fourth quarter and everyone saw it unfold. An interception there could have thwarted that shift in momentum and given it back to the 49ers.

Related Story: Jaquiski Tartt apologizes for dropped INT in loss to Rams

Except it didn’t.

Still, though, Tartt’s drop shouldn’t even come close to the biggest reason why the Niners were eliminated.