Maybe if the 49ers had been able to play the Rams every week, this season would have been much different.
Unfortunately for the Niners, they only were scheduled to play their Southern California rival twice – but beat them both times.
Saturday, the 49ers pulled off an unlikely victory, with two late touchdowns and a gutsy two-point conversion to beat the Rams 22-21 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was San Francisco’s first victory since a 28-0 win over the Rams in the season opener. In between were a franchise-record 13 straight losses.
Trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter, the 49ers cut it to a one-score game, with Colin Kaepernick running 13 yards for a touchdown with just over 5 minutes remaining. Then, after forcing the Rams to punt, San Francisco marched 73 yards in 10 plays to score on Kaepernick’s 10-yard pass to Rod Streater. With nothing to lose, head coach Chip Kelly decided to go for the two-point conversion instead of the tying kick, and Kaepernick made it work, getting into the end zone for a 22-21 49ers lead with 31 seconds left.
The Rams had one last chance to get into position for a go-ahead field goal, but Rashard Robinson intercepted rookie QB and former Cal standout Jared Goff to seal the win.
The victory, however, spoils the 49ers’ chances at landing the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Winless Cleveland had defeated the Chargers earlier in the day, giving San Francisco the inside track to the top spot because of the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. Now the 2-13 49ers remain a game behind the Browns for the top spot going into the New Year’s Day season finale vs. the Seahawks.
Kaepernick had a good day, completing 28-of-38 throws for 257 yards and two TDs, while also rushing for 39 yards. Carlos Hyde rushed for 38 yards before having to leave with an injury.