NFL: 49ers lose to Rams 16-13 in overtime
St. Louis • Colin Kaepernick blamed himself after losing for the first time as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback. It appears he will not be losing his job.
After the St. Louis Rams avoided a second tie with San Francisco with a 16-13 overtime victory on Sunday, coach Jim Harbaugh indicated he'd be sticking with Kaepernick next week at home against the Dolphins.
"I'll let you know if there's a change, but right now I think it'll be the same as it was this week," Harbaugh said. "I'm proud of Kap, proud of the way he played. He handled himself well, gave our team a chance to win."
Harbaugh took the heat for Kaepernick's errant pitch in the fourth quarter that led to a 2-yard fumble return for touchdown by Janoris Jenkins. Combined with a 2-point conversion, that tied it at 10 with 3:04 to play. Harbaugh said it was "the wrong play to call at the time."
"I would have loved to have that one back, but don't blame the players on that one," Harbaugh added.
Kaepernick also gave up a safety when he was whistled for intentional grounding in the end zone. Though he rallied the 49ers to a go-ahead field goal late in regulation, he felt the sting of defeat.
"I gave up those points that were on the scoreboard for the Rams, so that's 100 percent on me," Kaepernick said. "I've just got to keep working. There's nothing more you can do than keep working and get ready for next week."
Leading 10-2, Kaepernick was well off the mark on a pitch to Ted Ginn Jr. from the San Francisco 17 on third-and-3, and Jenkins fell on it at the 2 before flopping into the end zone. The second-round pick out of North Alabama returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week in a victory at Arizona.
Tight end Lance Kendricks beat coverage from Patrick Willis on the 2-point conversion as the Rams succeeded even after a false start penalty on tackle Rodger Saffold.
"I just pitched it high," Kaepernick said. "It was my fault all the way, I gave up those points that were on the scoreboard for the Rams, so that's 100 percent my fault."
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime. The rookie's winning kick came after he sent the game into overtime with a 53-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
The Rams (5-6-1) have won two straight after an 0-4-1 skid.
The 49ers (8-3-1) failed to take advantage of a 14-yard punt by rookie Johnny Hekker to midfield when David Akers was barely wide right on a 51-yard attempt with 4:11 to go in overtime. Akers is just 7 for 15 from 40 yards and beyond.
Zuerlein is 7 for 11 from the 50 and beyond and had plenty of distance on the kick on fourth-and-inches. Before the 53-yarder at the end of regulation, he had missed four of his previous seven attempts including a 58-yarder near the end of the half.
The last time teams tied twice in a season was in 1963 in games between the Eagles and Steelers. The last time teams had two ties in a season was in 1973 when it happened to four teams.
The first 49ers-Rams meeting this season was the NFL's first tie in four seasons, and was a lot more wide open with both teams missing chances to end it in overtime.
Most of the game was a defensive struggle, nothing like the 24-24 tie in San Francisco. Michel Crabtree was a rare offensive standout with seven catches for 101 yards, while St. Louis rookie Chris Givens had 11 receptions for 92 yards.
Akers' 33-yard field goal put the 49ers ahead with 1:38 remaining, a score set up by Kaepernick's 50-yard carry on a rollout. It left just enough time for Sam Bradford to guide the Rams 45 yards in seven plays.
The 49ers' Frank Gore scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter. Kaepernick's run to the St. Louis 14 at the two-minute warning behind a convoy that included Gore, who upended linebacker Rocky McIntosh.
The Rams failed on fourth-and-1 from the 4 earlier in the game when Bradford couldn't connect with Austin Pettis in the right corner of the end zone against double coverage, leaving them with nothing to show for their best possession of the game. St. Louis had four first downs, matching the first-half total, while going 74 yards on 11 plays in nearly seven minutes.
Both teams kept it close to the vest in the first half with the 49ers outgaining the Rams 113-85 and putting together one nice drive, going 60 yards on 11 plays with three third-down conversions, capped by Gore's 1 yard scoring run late in the first quarter.
Kaepernick scrambled for one of the first downs and threw for two others, the last a 7-yard catch by Mario Manningham to the 1 one play before the touchdown.
Zuerlein had the distance on his 58-yard attempt with 25 seconds to go in the first half, but was well wide to the right. In the first meeting at San Francisco, Zuerlein was wide right on a 58-yarder in overtime after making a 53-yarder that was nullified by a delay of game call.
NOTES: 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham (shoulder) did not return after getting hurt in the fourth quarter. Harbaugh said the team "won't know right away" about the severity of the injury. ... Aldon Smith's sack late in the first half gave him an NFL-best 31Â½ his first two seasons, a half-sack better than Reggie White in 1985-96. ... The Rams sacked Kaepernick twice at the end of the half, including Bill Hayes' second of the game.
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