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Rams vs. 49ers final score: Tie game is the inevitable end to history's worst overtime

The St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers go through a wild overtime at Candlestick, and nobody—including the viewers—wins. Tie ballgame.

Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers traded comebacks in the fourth quarter and traded mishaps in overtime, and after all those wild score changes it was two missed field goals that made the difference. Or the lack of difference. Final score? A 24-24 tie.

In overtime the Rams had every chance to pull away for good when Sam Bradford found Danny Amendola for an 80-yard bomb of a pass that put them within a few yards of a game-ending touchdown. But Austin Pettis, who scored their fourth-quarter touchdown, failed to line up correctly at the line of scrimmage, and the result was a very strange illegal formation penalty. That led to a punt and a conversion back to the old sudden-death style of overtime—but nobody seemed to want to kill anybody else, let alone die.

Then the San Francisco 49ers, who seemed to have won the game, failed themselves when Dave Akers missed his fifth field goal of the season. (An inexplicable pitch play that cost Frank Gore yardage might have made the difference.)

Huge games from Steven Jackson (28 carries, 102 yards) and Danny Amendola (10 receptions, 97 yards) gave the Rams their most impressive offensive performance of the season. But finally it came down to Greg Zuerlein, the Rams' rookie kicker. He set up to nail a 53-yard field goal, only to be forced back five yards on an inexplicable delay of game penalty. Lining up again at 58 yards, Zuerlein missed it, giving the ball back to the 49ers with less than three minutes to play.

Then Chris Long sacked Colin Kaepernick, giving the Rams the ball back with a minute to play. Truly poor clock management from the officials helped, but in a game that everybody wanted to lead but nobody wanted to win, the inevitable happened: Nobody did. Tie ballgame.