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49ers hold on late, sew up second seed

Michael Crabtree AP

Things got a bit hairy near the end, but the 49ers figured out a way to get past the Rams in St. Louis.

The Niners went up 34-13 with 6:30 to play in the game, but the Rams scored two quick touchdowns sandwiched around a successful onside kick to draw within a touchdown. The Rams then got the ball back with 3:37 to play and drove the ball into San Francisco territory before the drive fell apart when they lost Kellen Clemens to an injury. Clemens was sacked by NaVorro Bowman, knocking him out of the game and sending Tom Brandstater into the game. He threw two incompletions and the Niners were able to run out the clock.

With such a big lead and the first round bye in sight, it isn’t surprising that the 49ers might have been caught looking past the end of the game with the Rams. Defensive end Justin Smith and some other regulars were out of the game for long stretches in the fourth quarter, giving the impression that the Niners were already looking toward the playoffs.

Even if that’s what happened, give St. Louis credit for continuing to fight when they had little on the line. It remains to be seen if that effort will have an impact on owner Stan Kroenke’s decision about the future of coach Steve Spagnuolo, but he can feel a little pride that his team refused to quit on him.

The Niners now get a week off before finding out who they will meet in their first playoff game since 2002. The end might not have gone exactly as hoped, but 2011 was quite a debut for Jim Harbaugh.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Top Stories
13 Responses to “49ers hold on late, sew up second seed”
  1. jdandcoke says: Jan 1, 2012 4:32 PM

    they secured the second seed…..and will probably be eliminated in the second round.

  2. eknirb says: Jan 1, 2012 4:36 PM

    Harbaugh is gonna let somebody have it for the 4th quarter lapse. Gotta keep the accelerator down for 60 minutes here in SF.

  3. jayman35 says: Jan 1, 2012 4:40 PM

    Mark it down now. Coach of the year:Jim Harbaugh. Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aldon Smith. Comeback Player: Alex Smith. Should be fun watching New Orleans hgh octane offense v the 49ers defense.

  4. pacificnw7722 says: Jan 1, 2012 4:48 PM

    10 wins in 3 years…..Steve Spagnuolo is as good as GONE.

  5. johnshawisgay says: Jan 1, 2012 4:53 PM

    Congrats Niners!!!

  6. otissor says: Jan 1, 2012 4:53 PM

    49ers “elite” Defense looked like a bunch of bums in the 4th quarter. They will be one and done in the playoffs. Good luck next year Niners fans.

    worst 13-3 team in the history of football.

  7. orthomarine says: Jan 1, 2012 4:57 PM

    hope leavitt gets a ring

  8. sweetzinger says: Jan 1, 2012 5:27 PM

    The worst 13-3 team ever? How about the Patriots? They’ll beat one team, maybe two, with a winning record all season (9-7 Raiders/Broncos and maybe the Cowboys). The worst defense in the league and all they have is 1-1/2 TEs, and a system receiver and qb.
    Wakey wakey, Son.

  9. niner13 says: Jan 1, 2012 5:37 PM

    Nawlins cain’t play on grass. Turf’s up.

  10. linkinxr says: Jan 1, 2012 8:17 PM

    turf isn’t as easy to break on as grass is. New Orleans can’t run on the Niners so Drew is gonna have to kill the Niners. we just started opening up the passing game and it is starting to roll. I think the Lions are going to beat the Saints.

  11. sweetzinger says: Jan 2, 2012 12:48 AM

    Let me re-phrase the worst 13-3 team ever: The Patriots haven’t beaten one team with a winning record all season. The 49ers have played 5 playoff teams, and played against 8 of the best 12 defenses in the league. They’ve been holding back on offense AND defense. And when they play the Saints (if they play the Saints, because they just might lose to Detroit) and the Packers, they are going to let it all out.

  12. mondzy805 says: Jan 2, 2012 11:06 AM

    Haters are gonna Hate. For a New Coach, two weeks of training camp and Alex Smith at QB, the 49ers are 13-3 and the second seed in the NFC. As a 49ers Faithful, I cant be happier. Go 49ers. Were just getting started.

  13. oaktown49er says: Jan 3, 2012 4:03 AM

    Said it before and I’ll say it again. The 49ers will not win more than 3 games in the playoffs.

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