Entering Week 14, the San Francisco 49ers were facing off against the division rival St. Louis Rams for the first time in 2011. 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards was out with injury, which opened a spot for Ted Ginn Jr. to start. The 49ers were fresh off only their second loss of the season, after being handled by the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving on the road.
The 49ers received the opening kickoff, ending a streak of deferments where the Niners started on defense.
Frank Gore took a carry on the first play of the game for an 8 yard gain up the right side with two good blocks by Bruce Miller. Smith then threw two consecutive completions to tight end Vernon Davis for little to no gain. On 3rd and 8 from the shotgun with split backs, a pass from Smith to Davis was deflected by safety Quentin Mikell.
A.J. Feely was starting for Sam Bradford.
On first down, running back Steven Jackson gained only a yard against the league's No. 1 run defense. Jackson with a second straight carry is brought down again for a short gain, now facing a third down. On 3rd and 6, Feely threw behind his receiver Austin Pettis who was coming out of the slot with room to make the catch.
On first down, Smith play-faked, rolled out to his right and delivered a pass to Crabtree who went for a 14-yard gain and a first down. On 2nd and 9, Smith hit Ginn short who took it for a few more yards before he was brought down. On 3rd and 5 out of the shotgun, Smith with great protection hit Kyle Williams on a perfectly timed out-route for the first down.
Gore got the following carry on first down for a short gain. Smith then completed to Vernon Davis on a crossing route; the tight end slipped a tackler and brought it up for a first down. A 2nd and 9, a handoff to Kendall Hunter went up the middle for only a couple. On 3rd and 7 out of the shotgun, Smith hit Crabtree right in the hands on the slant pattern, but it bounced off the receiver's hands and the 49ers sent David Akers out to grab an early 3-0 lead.
The Tony Montana Squad was clearly present; Future was blaring and the squad was swaying.
Austin Pettis took a short catch up the left sideline just past the first down marker. On first down, Feely threw short to his fullback; Patrick Willis was the first one there but missed the tackle and was holding his right hamstring. The fullback gained a first down but Willis had to be helped off the field and Larry Grant came in.
Jackson took the carry on the following play, tackled short by NaVorro Bowman and Isaac Sopoaga. On 2nd and 13, Feely threw incomplete to Lance Kendricks with good pressure from Ahmad Brooks. A quick pass to receiver Nick Miller went for a short gain, which brought up 4th down for the Rams.
With patience, Gore got a small chunk of yardage, waiting for blocks from his pulling guard and fullback. On 2nd and 5, Hunter got the carry up the right side, just short of the first down. On 3rd and 1, Delanie Walker motioned from the line, drawing an encroachment penalty on defensive lineman Justin Bannan, giving the 49ers the first down.
Gore gained 4 up the middle on first down.
Smith hit Crabtree in the flat and Crabtree broke a tackle, taking it up the right sideline for a fresh set of downs. On a 2nd and 8, James Lauranitus fired up the middle untouched and sacked Smith, taking advantage of the broken protection. On 3rd and 16 out of the shotgun, Smith hit Hunter out of the backfield and Hunter ran it just short of a first down. On 4th and 2, the 49ers lined up to go for it and Adam Snyder got a false start penalty, bringing out Andy Lee.
At this point of the game, Gore edged ahead of 49ers great Joe Perry as San Francisco's all-time leading rusher (7,345).
Feely on 2nd and 9 threw incomplete to Pettis downfield against Carlos Rogers. On 3rd and 9 backed up in their end zone, Ray McDonald busted up the middle and got his right hand on the ball, knocking it out of Feely's hand and recovered by Aldon Smith who had rushed on the play.
On 2nd and goal, Alex Boone and Isaac Sopoaga checked in on offense; with Sopoaga in motion, Smith snapped the ball and tossed left to Gore who took it within the 1-yard line, just short of the touchdown. On third and goal in the heavy formation, Gore was swarmed by the Rams defense and the Niners had to settle for another field goal - not capitalizing on turnovers with touchdowns.
It was 6-0 49ers over the Rams after the Akers field goal.
On first down, Feely fired to Pettis - Dashon Goldson just missed the interception - and the catch was made by the receiver for a first down. Feely threw to Brandon Lloyd for the completion but a chop block penalty on the Rams took it back 15-yards.
On 2nd and 25, Jerious Norwood took a carry up the middle, running into a wall of 49ers defensemen. Jackson got the carry on third and very long, which went for a short gain before the punt unit came on the field.
On 1st and 10 out of the shotgun, Smith threw too high for Gore coming out of the backfield; fortunately an illegal hands to the face penalty on the Rams gave the 49ers 5 yards and remained first down. Alex Smith out of the shotgun faked the handoff to Kendall Hunter and ran a triple-option up the right side for a medium gain.
On 2nd and 2, the Rams defense swarmed Gore for a short loss. Smith then hit Crabtree in stride who was coming off the slant route, taking it up for a 15-yard gain and a fresh set of downs.
Smith play-faked, and from a cushioned pocket, threw a dime to the end zone to a wide open Vernon Davis. The ball hit Davis right in the hands but the tight end could not hold on; a rare mistake by Davis. Gore, with great vision, hit his cutback lane with a nifty move up the middle for a nice gain and a first down.
With the receivers covered, Chris Long got good pressure inside and brought Smith down for a sack. On 3rd and goal, Smith threw a pass low and at the feet of Walker who was running an out-route, and the 49ers had to settle for yet another field goal.
Akers hit a 28-yarder to go 3 for 3 and give the Niners a 9-0 lead over the Rams before halftime.
Feely completed to his receiver Brandon Gibson for a gain of 13 and a first down. On 3rd and 10, Larry Grant blitzed up the middle and ran down Feely for a sack.
On 1st and 15, Smith missed a wide open Ginn who went vertical down the left sideline beating his man, but a holding on Mike Iupati backed the 49ers up anyway. On 2nd and 11, Smith missed Ginn deep again, but another holding on Iupati backed San Francisco up again. On 2nd and 21, Smith fired short to Davis who went out of bounds.
On 3rd and 17, Chris Long and Robert Quinn closed on Smith for a sack, which ended the first half.
On 3rd down, Brandon Lloyd made a circus catch down the left sideline over Tarell Brown. A pass interference penalty on Brown was declined and the result of the play was a Rams first down. On the following play, an unblocked Parys Haralson blasted Feely as he released deep down field; the ball was short of the receiver and intercepted by safety Dashon Goldson who was playing centerfield.
Gore took the handoff on first down for a medium gain up the left side. On 2nd and 4, Ginn took a fly-sweep, with Smith faking the run action inside. After getting a nice block by Miller, Ginn picked up 16 down the right side line.
On the next play San Francisco came out of the bunch set; Delanie Walker took a pitch off the snap, and went around the left side for a 14-yard gain. On the following play, Smith went deep down the middle to Crabtree, throwing a perfect ball over the shoulder of the receiver for a 52-yard touchdown.
The touchdown extended the 49ers lead to 16-0.
Jackson took the handoff and with the middle congested, bounced it outside but was stopped short by Tarell Brown. Jackson got a second consecutive carry, which went for a loss when he was stopped by Ray McDonald, who was having a strong game. On 3rd and 8, a short pass from Feely was broken up by Carlos Rogers.
Smith rolled out to his right and threw a dart to Ginn, who put a move on the corner and reversed field for a big gain up the left sideline. An illegal block by Kyle Williams limited the gain on the play but the Niners still had a first down.
On 1st and 10, Williams got the handoff; Snyder got the seal and Iupati came with the kickout block for a big gainer of 22-yards. The 49ers ran Gore on first down with two extra lineman (Boone, Rachal) for a medium gain. On 2nd and 3, Gore took another carry in the red zone for a short gain.
On 3rd and 2, Hunter lined up in the wildcat package took the snap, faked right and ran left but the play was blown up by the Rams defense and the 49ers had to kick another field goal. David Akers made the game 19-0 in the third quarter.
On a Rams 3rd and 4, Aldon Smith, with ferocity, sacked Feely. Smith, with great reach and lower body explosion, took out Adam Goldberg like it was nothing.
On 3rd and 4 from the shotgun, Smith felt pressure, stepped up and threw past the first down marker to Ginn, timing the comeback for a first down. On 1st and 10, Smith went down the middle incomplete; overthrowing a double covered Vernon Davis. On 3rd and 9 from the shotgun, Smith can't find a receiver in time and has his legged wrapped up by defensive lineman James Hall who beat Iupati on the stunt.
Steven Jackson took the first down handoff for a gain of 9. On 2nd and 1, Grant busted through the middle and stopped Jackson, blowing him up for no gain and lost his helmet in the process.
On 3rd and 1, the fullback Brit Miller took the handoff but McDonald was in the backfield to drop him at the line - blowing up the play almost immediately. McDonald split the guard and center, connecting with the full back and being supported by Bowman who hit the hole behind him.
Two consecutive runs went for short yardage, putting the 49ers in 3rd and 6. On third and medium, Smith from the shotgun delivered to Williams on a stop-route, and Williams bolted up field for a 56-yard touchdown, splitting defenders.
It was now 26-0 San Francisco over St. Louis.
On 3rd and 8 for the Rams, Feely completed to Denario Alexander and a late hit penalty on Larry Grant gave St. Louis a first down. Norwood got the carry on first down off the right side but was run down behind the line by Justin Smith. On third and long, Feely with a tough throw completed to his man for a first down, stopped by Chris Culliver.
On 3rd and 6, a pitch to Pettis was stopped for a loss by Bowman to force a fourth down.
On 4th and 12, Aldon Smith converged on Feely for his second sack - beating the right tackle and right guard - and instantly ran to the sideline, took his helmet off and sat down.
Alex Smith, along with Frank Gore, sat down for the game.
On 2nd and 8, Colin Kaepernick came in and threw incomplete to tight end Justin Peele. On 3rd and 8, Kaepernick went to Walker on an out-route, a little too high for the receiver and the 49ers had to punt back to St. Louis.
On 2nd and 8 for the Rams, Norwood took the carry up the middle for a medium gain. It was pretty obvious that St. Louis had accepted defeat with 5 minutes left in the game. The Rams couldn't convert on third down and punted back to San Francisco.
On 2nd and 12, Anthony Dixon took the ball up the middle for a short gain, trying to run some clock.
Frank Gore had been on the sidelines for the entire quarter, walked down the railing high-fiving 49ers fans after his big day - showing love to the fans.
The Rams with a minute of clocking running down, went through the motions attempting to engineer a drive but the game was long over. San Francisco extended their home win streak and rebounded from the loss to Baltimore in a shutout win, locking up the division title.
Congratulations to the 2011 NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers.
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