ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 1: Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers makes a catch against St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on January 1, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. The 49ers beat the Rams 34-27. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) were entering this game with some pressure. It was in their hands; if the Niners could win this game, they would clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Off a strained hamstring, Patrick Willis back for this game to help make it happen. However, Kyle Williams, Delanie Walker and Ted Ginn were all out with injury -- Brett Swain and Joe Hastings were active.
Rams won the toss and elected to defer.
Michael Crabtree and Brett Swain were starting at wide receiver with K. Williams out (concussion); D. Walker also out (jaw). On a quick out to the flat, Vernon Davis caught a pass and took it for 9 yards on the 49ers first offensive play of the day. On 1st and 10, Alex Smith's give to Frank Gore went nowhere.
On second down, Smith felt the pressure and hit Davis in the flat for a medium gain. On 3rd and 5 from the shotgun, Smith delivered to Davis in the middle of the field, just enough for a first down. On 1st and 10, Smith on play-action threw down the middle of the field to Michael Crabtree for a nice 16-yard gain and a fresh set of downs.
On 2nd and 9, Kendall Hunter took a pitch to the left for a gain of 5. On 3rd and 4, Smith with no receivers open and closing pressure had to get rid of it. David Akers missed the field and gave the Rams the ball at their own 38-yard line.
Kellen Clemens faked a reverse and threw down the field to Brandon Lloyd for a gain of 24 yards. On 1st and 10, Steven Jackson took the carry, muscling defenders for 7 yards. Jackson took the handoff up the middle on the following play, picking up the first down and more with some downhill running.
On 2nd and 7 from the shotgun, Clemens threw wide of his tight end Lance Kendricks who was crossing in the end zone. Pressured on 3rd and 7, Clemens scrambled up the right side taking it for a touchdown, escaping Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Justin Smith.
The extra point from Josh Brown made it 7-0 Rams.
On first down, Hunter took the handoff for 7 yards off the right side. On 2nd and 3, the carry by Gore up the middle was stuffed. On 3rd and 4, Smith's pass attempt to Swain was incomplete and the 49ers were forced to punt.
On 3rd and 5 for the Rams, Justin Smith rushing from an upright position B-lined to Clemens, taking him down for a sack. On 1st and 10, Hunter caught the screen from Smith and took it up the middle for a first down. On first down, Gore took the carry for the gain of a couple.
On 2nd and 8, Crabtree made a fingertip catch, shoved a defender aside and got the necessary yardage for the first down. On 2nd and goal, Smith with no receivers open threw it away. On 3rd and goal from the 8, Smith had no receivers open again, lost his footing, called for blockers and scrambled up for the rushing touchdown.
Smith's score answers Clemens', tying the game up at 7-all.
On 1st and 10, Clemens escaped pressure in the pocket with a shimmy and completed downfield to his tight end Kendricks for a big gain.
On 2nd and 8, Jackson took the handoff for the gain of a few. On 3rd and 3, Clemens faked on the direct snapped to Jackson, running out left - Jackson with the ball, threw back across the field, intercepted by Tarell Brown who broke on the football.
On 1st and 10, Smith's pass was complete short to Crabtree who dragged defenders for a medium gain. On 2nd and 4, Smith went back to Crabtree on the quick throw - Crabtree stiff armed the first defender, taking it down the sideline for a touchdown.
The touchdown gave the 49ers a 7-point lead, as they posted 14 unanswered.
On 2nd and 12 from the shotgun, Cadillac Williams took the handoff up the middle for a 6 yard gain. On 3rd and 6, Ahmad Brooks blitzed up the middle and got to Clemens for the 49ers second sack of the day.
On 1st and 5, Smith from the shotgun handed off to Hunter who took it for 3 yards. On 1st and 10, Alex Smith with time went deep down the right sideline and hit Vernon Davis for a big gainer.
On 1st and 10, Smith can't escape and is sacked by linebacker Chris Chamberlain. On 2nd and 17, Smith threw an incomplete pass to Hunter in traffic. On 3rd and 17, Smith from the shotgun delivered the quick throw to Crabtree who took it for a short gain.
Akers came on and booted the 36-yard field goal to make it a 17-7 game.
On 2nd and 10, Kendricks dropped the pass from Clemens, which forced a third and long. On 3rd and 10, Clemens never had control of the snap, and the loose ball was recovered by the Rams.
On 1st and 10, Smith recovered the botched snap and threw it away. On 2nd and 10, Hunter with the handoff went nowhere. On 3rd and 11 from the shotgun, Smith with pressure threw to Davis who was closed on for a short gain - the 49ers sent Andy Lee out to punt once again.
On 2nd and 10, Jackson took the handoff up the middle, wrapped up by Bowman. On third and long, Clemens from the shotgun handed off to Jackson, who was wrapped up by Bowman. On 2nd and 4, Smith completed to Swain on the out-route for a first down.
On 1st and 10, Hunter took the carry up the middle, breaking loose for 11 yards and a first down. On 2nd and 10, Smith completed to Davis for a medium gain. On 3rd and 4 from the shotgun, Smith got rid of the ball with pressure in his face, incomplete.
Akers lined up for the 42-yard field goal attempt that was good, giving the 49ers a 20-7 lead.
On first down, Clemens completed to Lloyd for a gain of 9. On 2nd and 1, Clemens threw a rope down the middle, incomplete to Kendricks who slipped and fell. On 3rd and 1 from the shotgun, Clemens threw way wide of receiver Brandon Gibson
The Rams were looking at 4th and 1 with 22 seconds left, and decided to punt it away and end the half.
The Rams would get the football to start the second half.
On first down, Jackson took the carry, dodging defenders for a big first down and more - a 27-yard run. On two consecutive carries following the big run, Jackson puts the Rams in third and short. On 3rd and 4, Ricky Jean-Francois batted the pass at the line of scrimmage, deflecting a near-interception.
On 1st and 10, Hunter took the carry for a 6-yard gain on the left side. On 2nd and 4, Smith tossed to Hunter who was dropped for a short loss. On third and medium, Smith from the shotgun fired to Crabtree on the slant route, who had just barely enough for the first down.
On first down, Kendall Hunter took the carry off the right side and with blocks from Moran Norris and Vernon Davis, broke for a first down. On 2nd and 8, Smith's pass was batted at the line by Fred Robbings, forcing a third and long. On 3rd and 8, Smith from the shotgun was sacked by the Rams safety as the pocket closed on him.
On 1st and 10, Clemens delivered a 22-yard completion to Kendricks on the go-route. Two short runs by the Rams resulted in a third and medium. On 3rd and 5, Clemens on play-action throws downfield to Brandon Lloyd, hooking up for 23-yards and a first down. After the Rams received a 10-yard penalty on first down, inefficiency on offense caused the drive to stall.
Josh Brown came on for the Rams and connected with a field goal to get within 10; making the score 20-10.
On 3rd and 8, with pressure from Chris Long, Smith threw to Crabtree who stretched out for the first down. Quentin Mikell was called for illegal touching of the facemask, giving the 49ers a 15-yards and an automatic first down anyway.
On 2nd and 6, Smith went deep to Vernon Davis, hitting the tight end inside the STL-16, a 35-yard gain. On 2nd and 10, Smith connected with Davis for a short gain. On 3rd and 7, Smith from the shotgun threw to the back of the end zone out of bounds, incomplete pass intended for Brett Swain.
On 4th and 7, the 49ers lined up for the field goal - IT'S A FAKE! - David Akers threw the ball to Crabtree on the left sideline who had drifted over there all alone, and it was a 49ers touchdown.
The touchdown on the trick play made it a 27-10 game, with the 49ers still on top.
On 2nd and 7, Clemens on play-action completed to Kendricks for a first down.
On first down, Clemens completed short to Alexander on the right sideline who took it for a gain of 13 yards and a fresh set of downs. On 2nd and 3, Cadillac Williams was stopped behind the line by Whitner. On 3rd and 5, Clemens completed to Alexander on the quick pass, taking it for a first down. Two incompletions led to a 3rd and 10; Clemens from the shotgun threw out of bounds in the area of Brandon Lloyd.
Another Rams field goal made it 27-13 in the fourth quarter.
Kendall Hunter gained 7 yards on the first down carry. On 2nd and 3, Hunter put a move on the defender and fought for the first down. On 2nd and 9, Alex Smith was flushed out of the pocket and with no options, threw the ball away. On third and long, Smith threw short to Anthony Dixon for a limited gain, forcing a fourth down.
On 4th and 3, Andy Lee punted the ball, downed inside the 5-yard line. A penalty caused the down to repeat in which Andy Lee came out for a second punt that was downed at the Rams 1-yard line.
On 1st and 10 from the 1, Clemens had pressure from Whitner, threw the ball to his receiver and it was snatched from Tarell Brown who undercut the route; the 49ers' 38th takeaway of the season and Brown's second on the day.
Two consecutive runs by Hunter went for only 3 yards. On 3rd and 7, Hunter took the handoff up the middle for a first down, just short of the end zone. On 1st and goal, Anthony Dixon took the carry for a 49ers touchdown - 34-13 SF.
On 1st and 10 from the shotgun, Clemens completed to Alexander on the 10-yard hook-route. On 3rd and 11, Clemens went deep to the end zone, over the head of Whitner and complete to Brandon Lloyd for a 36-yard touchdown.
The touchdown made it 34-20, San Francisco still on top. However, the Rams then recovered an onside kick.
Clemens again went deep to the end zone to Lloyd, where Brown was called for a pass interference in the end zone, placing the ball at the SF-1. Williams took the carry up the middle for a Rams touchdown to inch the game within one score at 34-27.
On 2nd and 10, Dixon took the carry up the middle for the gain of a couple. On third and long, Smith with no one open was sacked by defensive lineman James Hall.
On 2nd and 10, Clemens from the shotgun threw to Lloyd, incomplete pass broken up by Tarell Brown. On 3rd and 10, Clemens evaded blitzers and side-arm passed to Brandon Gibson for a first down. On 2nd and 10, Clemens from the shotgun was wrapped up and sacked by a blitzing NaVorro Bowman.
Clemens was injured on the play and replaced by Tom Brandstater.
On 3rd and 17, Brandstater from the shotgun threw incomplete, forcing a fourth down. On 4th and 17, Brandstater threw past the first down marker, in and out of the hands of Alexander, turning the ball over on downs.
With 2:37 left in the game, the 49ers were able to maintain possession of the football for the rest of the game, closing it out and clinching the NFC's 2-seed in the playoffs.