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San Francisco 49ers 2010 Season In Review: Week 10, VS St. Louis Rams

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After traveling across the ocean to get their second win of the season, the San Francisco 49ers enjoyed a bye week. Not to enjoy the victory, but rather to regroup following a disappointing 2-6 starts to the season. After the week hiatus San Francisco would host the 1st place St. Louis Rams in an important divisional matchup.

The 49ers could get right back into the NFC West race it they were able to defeat the Rams in Week 10. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that St. Louis had started 2010 with a 4-4 record after only winning 1 game in 2009. Were the 49ers ready to get back into the race? Or would they stumble once again following a win?

The Rams won the toss and elected to receive. After Devin Amendola would return the Joe Nedney kick-off for 12 yards St. Louis would set up shop just outside their 20 yard line. After a short 3 yard screen pass to Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford would once again hit the All-Pro receiver for 14 yards and a 1st down. The 49ers would be called for two consecutive penalties; the first an off-sides on Ahmad Brooks and the second an obvious unnecessary roughness on Dashon Goldson , this would had the Rams the ball at the 49ers 25. San Francisco would end up handing St. Louis 3 points with those two penalties after Josh Brown connected on a 42 yard FG a few plays later (3-0 St. Louis)

San Francisco's initial drive would start out real nice. Troy Smith would hit Vernon Davis deep down the right sideline for 32 yards on the first play, setting the 49ers up at the Rams 28. However, San Francisco couldn't get out of their own way. James Laurinaitis would sack Smith on two of the next three plays; both on missed blocks by 49er offensive linemen. This would move the 49ers out of FG position and force them to punt.

49er mistakes would continue to mount on the next drive. A Sam Bradford pass was intercepted by Nate Clements at the Rams 26. However, Ahmad Brooks would be called for his second off-side penalty of the game. St. Louis would be forced to punt, but the 49ers missed another golden opportunity.

Troy Smith would hit Josh Morgan on target on the first play of their next drive. Morgan took the ball from the Rams 35 all the way down to the 1. Two plays later Frank Gore would take it off left guard for 1 yard and a TD (7-3 San Francisco)

Danny Amendola would take a reverse off of right tackle for ten yards and a 1st down on the Rams initial play of the next drive. However, a Patrick Willis sack and forced fumble set the Rams back 9 yards and forced them to play catch up on the set of downs. Missing many play-makers on offense, St. Louis was not able to regain their footing and was forced to punt. (7-3 San Francisco, End of 1st Quarter)

Troy Smith would continue his great play on the 49ers next drive. He would hit Crabtree for 9 yards on 1st down, and force a Ron Bartell pass interference penalty on another pass to Crabtree. Smith hit Delanie Walker for 12 yards on the next play, setting the 49ers up at the Rams 12. San Francisco's drive would ultimately stall before Joe Nedney knocked in a short 26 yards FG (10-3 San Francisco, End of 1st Quarter)

The Rams would make quick work of San Francisco's defense on the next drive scoring in less than 3 minutes. A couple key plays during the drive was a Travis LaBoy 15 yard face mask penalty on 2nd and long as well as a 15 yard completion from Bradford to Amendola on 3rd and long. Eventually Amendola would burn the 49ers once again for a 5 yard TD reception. (10-10 Tie)

The rest of the 1st half would end anti-climactically as both teams would combine for less than 100 yards of offense (10-10 Tie, Halftime)

San Francisco couldn't mount anything on their first possession of the 2nd half, mostly because of their own mistakes. Mike Iupati would be called for an illegal formation penalty and a sack of Troy Smith would end the drive. In between those two bad plays Troy Smith continued his dominance with passes of 23 to Delanie Walker and 21 to Michael Crabtree .

Neither team mounted much on their next drives and the Rams would take over at their own 41 with 6:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Steven Jackson would take the ball off left tackle, running past two 49er defenders and gaining 26 yards inside San Francisco's 30. After an illegal block by Brandon Gibson , Sam Bradford got on a roll. He hit Gibson for 8 and 5 yards respectively and Steven Jackson for 13 before the Ram RB went 13 yards for the leading score (17-10 St. Louis, End of 3rd Quarter)

The 49ers were forced to a 3 and out and Andy Lee had his punt partially blocked by Craig Kehl setting the Rams up inside the 49ers 40. San Francisco's defense bogged down and forced the Rams to punt. Pretty much a game saving defensive stand by the 49ers.

After both teams went three and out, the 49ers took possession inside their 25 with just over 12:00 remaining in the game and down by 7. This is where Troy Smith took over once again. He would hit Delanie Walker for 36 yards inside the Rams 40 and connect with Walker for another 9 on the next play. Two plays later Troy Smith hit Michael Crabtree for 19 yards and a game tying TD; however, a stupid penalty on Anthony Davis would bring the play back. Eventually, the 49ers would settle for a FG and cut the lead to 4 (17-13 STL)

Once again we saw a rash of three and outs as the Rams would gain only 12 total yards on their next two possessions, and the 49ers 5 on their sole possession. San Francisco got the ball at their own 30 with 4:12 remaining in the game. Could Troy Smith continue his dominating performance? This would about to be answered. He hit Frank Gore for 30 yards on a delayed screen; the 49ers gained another 15 yards on the play due to a facemask penalty on the Rams. A couple plays later on 3rd and 22, Troy Smith hit Vernon Davis up the seam for 43 yards and a TD. However, the score was once again nullified by a dumb penalty on the 49ers; this time a holding penalty on Joe Staley . The Rams would not hold Troy Smith in this game; he would ultimately prove to be their undoing. He hit Gore for 14 and 23 yards on two consecutive plays before connecting with Michael Crabtree for 16 yards and a TD. Another yellow flag was on the field, but this time it was on the Rams. (20-17 SF)

With 2:10 remaining in regulation the Rams took over at their own 15 yard line with a chance to tie or win the game. The 49ers defense would play right into the hands of Sam Bradford's strength; his accuracy. Playing 2-4-5 soft coverage San Francisco would allow Bradford to dink his way down the field. 11 plays, 76 yards and 2:10 later Josh Brown connected on a 34 yard FG to tie the game and send it to overtime (20-20 End of Regulation)

St. Louis went three and out on the initial drive of overtime, and the 49ers took over at their own 34. In a reversal of roles, Frank Gore carried the ball 5 times for 33 yards. Although Troy Smith didn't complete a pass in the overtime session, he had a major impact on the outcome. He would force an O.J. Atogwe pass interference penalty on a pass to Delanie Walker setting the 49ers up in FG range. Joe Nedney hit a 29 yards FG and the 49ers got their 3rd win of the season (23-20 San Francisco)

Post Game Quotes From Niners Community

In what was both atrociously ugly, brutally painful, and thoroughly exhilarating, the San Francisco 49ers pulled out an overtime victory over the St. Louis Rams 23-20 (Fooch, 11/14/10)

Wow We got a playmaker at QB or what? Refs tried to stop us and still got the W. Troy Smith should have had 3 tds in this game! (Chriscream, 11/14/10)

This win has nothing to do with TROY SMITH ... ... it's because i went to the Casino to watch the game ... that's right this the third time i went there this season and we won all Three time's ... It's all about me ...!! (Edggy, 11/14/10)

On whether he saw that QB Troy Smith was making plays:

"Yeah, he made some nice plays. It was nice to see. There are also some things that he did that he can't do, and we have to continue to clean that up and work on that. But overall, I thought he did a nice job." (Mike Singletary, 11/14/10)

On how he would assess his performance:

"It could have been better. Definitely as a quarterback there were some throws I wish I could have back. But obviously it was our day today. As a quarterback, it's not going to be as good as you always want it to be and it's not going to be as bad as you think it is. Once I go back and watch the film I'm sure there will be a couple of things that I did, settle things out, but definitely some throws and decisions I wish I could have back." (Troy Smith, 11/14/10)

Analysis

It really doesn't matter how ugly of a game was if you win. Right? Well, I am not too sure about that; the 49ers didn't look to great in this game. There were a lot of nice individual performances, but once again the 49er team unit left a lot to be desired. San Francisco did get their second consecutive win and pulled themselves right back into the playoff picture. On the other hand, the 49ers left way too many points on the table, two touchdowns called back, a INT deep in the Rams end called back etc... That is not a sign of a winning team.

The Good

San Francisco had 421 total yards and held the Rams to 2-14 on 3rd down conversions. The 49ers defense sacked Sam Bradford 3 times, hit him another 7 times and had a total of 8 QB pressures (by my count), and by my estimates had seven plays of more than 20 yards; yes that is right 7.

The Bad

I am afraid, despite the win, that there was a lot more bad than good. San Francisco was an atrocious 0-11 on 3rd down conversions, committed a season high 14 penalties, and a rookie QB making only his 9th start to complete 30 passes. Additionally, the offensive line didn't block well in the passing game and only Troy Smith's athletics ability allowed him to avoid more sacks. As it was the Rams got to Smith a total of 5 times. Additionally, two different St. Louis Rams receivers compiled more than 7 receptions. However, what stands out the most is the fact that the 49ers left 14 points on the table, this at the very least.

Standout Performance(S)

It has to start with Troy Smith, he had a best of a day; and it could have been better if it wasn't for some penalties that called a couple plays back. In all, Smith threw for over 350 yards on just 17 completions (20.6 AVG), and had some extremely clutch throws. When your QB throws for that many yards some receivers are destined to have huge games. Delanie Walker had 80 yards of 4 receptions, including a couple huge plays, and Vernon Davis came up big as well. Frank Gore compiled over 150 yards of total offense as well. On defense, Patrick Willis was beast-like, he was all over the field and came up with a few big plays, finishing with 11 tackles total. Someone that may have gone unnoticed in the box score was Manny Lawson who was in Sam Bradford's face all game long. Lawson didn't accumulate a sack, but did interrupt many screen passes to Jackson and disrupted Bradford's flow a few different times. His performance in this game reminds me that stats don't tell the entire story.

Game Changing Play(S)

Before we get into whether or not that was really a PI penalty on O.J. Atogwe, we need to look at what got the game to that point, and it was the 49ers final drive when trailing by four. I would have to say that it was Troy Smith remaining calm following yet another penalty that called back a TD. He came up huge after that, in particular the TD pass to Michael Crabtree. Listen, it wasn't the best pass of the game; but he put it only where Crabtree could get it. Simply, Troy Smith mad the most perfect "imperfect" throw of the game. I home that makes sense, but it is exactly what happened. The PI call on Atogwe has to be considered a game changing play because the 49ers immediately kicked the game winning FG afterwards, however, the game would never have gotten to that point if Smith hadn't manned up and made big play after big play, culminating in the TD pass to Crabtree

Conclusion

It was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. The 49ers tried in every which way to give the game away, but the Rams wouldn't take it. Usually if you have three TDs called back in a game, you are not going to end up on the positive end of the scoreboard, but the 49ers did. At the end of the day a "W" is a "W" and that is what the 49ers got.

Stats

Troy Smith: 17/28- 356 Yards- 1 TD- 0 INT- 5 Sacks (116.7 Rating)

Frank Gore: 22 Rushes- 87 Yards- 4.0 AVG- TD 3 Receptions- 67 Yards

Vernon Davis: 4 Receptions- 79 Yards

Delanie Walker: 4 Receptions- 80 Yards

Michael Crabtree: 4 Receptions- 61 Yards- TD

Sam Bradford: 30/42- 251 Yards- 1 TD- 0 INT- 3 Sacks (94.4 Rating)

Steven Jackson: 20 Rushes- 81 Yards- 4.1 AVG- TD

Brandon Gibson: 8 Receptions- 72 Yards

Danny Amendola: 7 Receptions- 51 Yards- TD

1st Downs 22 19
Passing 1st downs
12 11
Rushing 1st downs
6 5
1st downs from Penalties
4 3
3rd down efficiency
2-14 0-11
4th down efficiency
0-0 1-1
Total Plays 69 59
Total Yards 332 421
Passing 228 323
Comp-Att
30-42 17-28
Yards per pass
5.4 11.5
Rushing 104 98
Rushing Attempts
24 26
Yards per rush
4.3 3.8
Red Zone (Made-Att) 2-3 2-5
Penalties 12-135 14-105
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles lost
0 0
Interceptions thrown
0 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 35:03 30:18