The St. Louis Rams managed to keep themselves in the NFC West playoff race all the way into Week 17, topping the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 25-17 to halt a losing streak and assure themselves of a shot at the NFC West title next week against the Seattle Seahawks. Sam Bradford delivered one of the best games of his young career with the help of Danario Alexander.
Bradford finished the game 28-for-37 with 292 yards and a touchdown, putting together big games from Alexander, Danny Amendola, and Brandon GIbson, and looking downfield to break up the suffocating defense teams have played against him since he emerged as one of the top rookie quarterbacks in recent memory. Steven Jackson was held tight by the 49ers, running 24 times for 48 yards and a touchdown, but they couldn’t stop the passing game.
The 49ers took a 14-12 lead on the back of a punt return touchdown from Ted Ginn and a long reception from Michael Crabtree, but they weren’t able to keep the string of big plays going and the Rams eventually fought back with some of their own. Troy Smith was 7-for-19 before being removed in favor of Alex Smith, who finished 10-for-15 for 120 yards.
The Rams will watch the Seattle Seahawks tonight, to learn just what they’ll have to do next week. It all comes together for a more meaningful Week 17 than any Rams fan could have expected, and a tenser one, too.