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49ers-Chargers final score: Frank Gore big game not enough as 49ers blow lead, lose in overtime

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The 49ers blew a big lead in Week 16, dropping a 38-35 overtime game to the San Diego Chargers. It was as ugly an ending as it sounds.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have one more week to go, but Saturday was kind of a fitting bow on an ugly season. The 49ers blew a pair of 21-point leads, losing to the San Diego Chargers in overtime, by a final score of 38-35. The 49ers led 21-0 and 28-7, but Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense did some huge work in the second half to pull off the huge comeback win. The 49ers drop to 7-8, and will need to win next week against the Arizona Cardinals in order to avoid their first losing seasons since 2010.

For significant stretches of the night, this was the most entertaining 49ers game of the season. The team relied on their dominant ground game, and mixed in some creative runs with Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington. The 49ers jumped out to the 21-0 lead thanks to the run game and a great early defensive performance. The 49ers picked Rivers three times, and an Antoine Bethea pick six put the 49ers up 21-0.

Unfortunately, the defense collapsed just as the offense went into its shell. After Colin Kaepernick put the 49ers up 35-21 with a 90-yard touchdown run, Rivers went to work against a secondary that seemed to be playing a little too soft. Add in the fact that the 49ers could not get a pass rush going virtually the entire game, and the ending almost seemed inevitable as the second half progressed. The 49ers gave up the game tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime. The 49ers got the ball to start overtime, but Quinton Patton fumbled on an end-around, and the 49ers lost 38-35.

It's a shame the game ended the way it did because it wasted Frank Gore's best performance of the season. The 49ers all-time leading rusher rushed for 158 yards, which was far and away his best performance of the season. His previous high was 119 yards in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The performance gives him an excellent shot next week of reaching 1,000 yards for the season, and 11,000 yards for his career.

The 49ers wrap up their 2014 season next Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals. If the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Arizona clinches the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If the Cardinals lose to Seattle, Arizona will be tied with them, but the tiebreaker (head-to-head sweep) will belong to Seattle. The Cardinals have clinched a playoff berth, but they would still have a shot at the division next week with a win and a Seahawks loss.