12 Jan A Tale of Two Jimmys, Told by Live Tweets
The Los Angeles Rams received the opening kickoff & almost immediately nickel CB K’Waun Williams’ absence was felt, as Matt Stafford hit WR Cooper Kupp for a 46-yard completion to the SF 29-yard line. Nickel CB Dontae Johnson was a poor substitute for K’Waun, who is one of the best in the league. The Rams got down to the SF 15-yard line, before DT Arik Armstead sacked Stafford for a 10-yard loss & forced them to kick a 43-yard FG, making it 3-0 LAR.
The San Francisco 49ers then took over on their own 9-yard line, with 6:01 to go in the 1st quarter. Jimmy Garoppolo hit TE George Kittle for a 4-yard gain & hit WR Trent Sherfield for a 13-yarder. The Rams committed an offsides for 5 more yards. It was then 3rd & 8 on the SF 28. Garoppolo threw to RB JaMycal Hasty on a wheel route. Hasty had a step on the defender, but Jimmy threw it short & outside, causing Hasty to need to slow down & turn around to locate the ball, which allowed the defender to catch up and get his arm out to break up the pass. Mitch Wishnowski had to punt. Jimmy G had cost us a chance to tie the game, or take the lead.
The Rams took over on their own 39-yard line. A few plays later, on 3rd & 4, Stafford went to his security blanket, aka WR Cooper Kupp, for a 7-yard gain to the SF 46-yard line.
49ers DT Kentavius Street stuffed RB Sony Michel for a 5-yard loss to open up the 2nd quarter. Then Stafford hit Kupp (part 3) for a 16-yard gain to the SF-37 yard line. At this point, I was just hoping that the 49ers’ defense could hold the Rams’ offense to only a FG. Stafford hit TE Tyler Higbee for a gain of 9 & then WR Van Jefferson for another 7, A few plays later, they were facing a 3rd & 8 from the SF 9-yard line. The Rams went to the well again: Cooper Kupp vs Dontae Johnson (part 4) for 7 yards. I was happy he at least stopped Kupp 1 yard shy of the first down marker. However Sean McVay smelled blood in the water, and wanted to deliver the knockout blow. He decided to keep the offense out there on 4th & 1.
On 4th & 1 from the SF2, Stafford hit Higbee several yards into the end zone, on a play-action fake that fooled S Jimmie Ward. The Rams now were up 10 points with 10:26 to go in the 1st half.
The 49ers took over on their own 25-yard line after a touchback. On 1st down, Garoppolo was sacked by A’Shawn Robinson. If that wasn’t bad enough, he fumbled too. Luckily, OL Tom Compton recovered the ball, but the Niners had still lost 14 yards on the play.
Then, Garoppolo was sacked again, for a 3-yard loss, by Troy Reeder. On 3rd & 27, the 49ers just ran a draw play to RB Elijah Mitchell to keep things from getting any worse. Wishnowski punted for 43 yards, but Brandon Powell returned it for 31 yards. Wishnowski was the last man standing to stop him, but he unfortunately lowered his head to do so, which gave himself a concussion that knocked him out of the remainder of the game.
The Rams took over on the SF 19-yard line, with 8:14 left in the 1st half. Akers ran for 2 & caught a pass for another 2 yards. Then on 3rd 6 from the 15-yard line, Stafford hit Higbee again, for a 15-yard TD over rookie CB Ambry Thomas, who actually played it well. it was now 17-0 with 6:44 left in the 1st half. It was do or die time for the 49ers.
The 49ers took over on their own 25-yard line. Garoppolo hit Kittle for a 2-yard loss on a very ugly looking throw.
Then Garoppolo hit WR Deebo Samuel for a 6-yard gain. On 3rd & 6, he hit WR Jauan Jennings for an 8-yard gain, which was only the second 1st down of the entire game for the 49ers. Elijah Mitchell had a 13-yard run for their third 1st down. On 1st & 10 from midfield, Garoppolo then threw an interception to S Taylor Rapp, who was downed at the LAR 21-yard line. Call it an arm punt, call it a pick, but I call it no points.
Akers ran right for a 1-yard loss, Stafford hit Kupp (part 5) for an 8-yard gain, then on 3rd & 3 Stafford hit OBJ, for a 5-yard gain, to take the clock down to the 2-minute warning. Sony Michel ran for 7, then 2 more. On 3rd & 1 from the LAR 42, Nick Bosa & Arik Armstead combined for a huge sack of Stafford for an 8-yard loss to force a punt.
The 49ers got the ball back, on their own 15-yard line, with only :38 left in the first half. It was imperative to get at the very least a FG before halftime. Garoppolo hit Aiyuk for no gain, then he lateraled the ball to Deebo, who ran for an 8-yard gain. Then Garoppolo hit Hasty for 8 yards to midfield & the Niners called a timeout with just :20 to go. On 1st & 10, Garoppolo hit Aiyuk again for a 25-yard gain to the LAR 25-yard line & then quickly spiked the ball with only :04 to go.
Normally, a 42-yard FG attempt for Robbie Gould would be pretty automatic, but since Wishnowski left the game with a concussion, FB Kyle Juszczyk would have to be the holder. Luckily, Juice did great & Robbie was good as Gould! It was now 17-3 LAR at the half & the 49ers were set to received the kickoff to begin the 2nd half.
The 49ers started on their own 25-yard line. Mitchell ran for 2 & Deebo ran for another 5, to set up 3rd & 3. Garoppolo then stood in the pocket, despite Aaron Donald bearing down on him, and hit Hasty for a 13-yard gain and a first down!
Then on 1st & 10 from the SF 45, Garoppolo hit Aiyuk for a massive 31-yard gain!
Two plays later the 49ers are facing a 3rd & 2, when Deebo ran right for a 16-yard TD!
It was now 17-10 LAR with 10:32 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Rams took over on their own 25-yard line. Two plays later, they’re facing a 3rd & 6. Stafford then threw an incomplete for Jefferson, due to being pressured by a blitzing Dre Greenlaw
The 49ers took over on their own 26-yard line. Mitchell ran for 7, then another 2 to set up 3rd & 1. Hasty then ran for a 4 yards & a first down!. Deebo ran for 8, then another 5 & another 1st down. They were finally moving the ball!
Mitchell ran for 6, then another 3 to set up 3rd & 1 from the LAR 39. Garoppolo then called his own number & sneaked for a first down! Two runs by Mitchell later, and the 49ers were down to the LAR 24-yard line!
On 1st & 10 Deebo took a sweep right, then stopped, threw the ball & hit a wide open Jennings in the end zone for the TD! The 49ers somehow tied the game at 17-17, with 1:46 left in the 3rd quarter!
Garoppolo didn’t throw a single pass on the entire drive, but his sneaking & handing off skills are elite!
The Rams took over on their own 25 yard line. DJ Jones sacked Stafford for a 6-yard loss!
Stafford tried to hit Michel, but was unable to do so. On 3rd & 16, Stafford heaved the ball deep down the left sideline. Tartt & Moseley both had good position & Moseley picked the ball off!
The 49ers then took over on their own 32-yard line, with a chance to take the lead for the first time in the game! Mitchell ran for 3, then Garoppolo threw behind Aiyuk, over the middle on 2nd down.
Then on 3rd & 7, Garoppolo missed Jennings, forcing the 49ers to punt. However with Wishnowski out, Robbie Gould would have to fill in. He boomed a 47-yarder to begin the 4th quarter.
The Rams began at their own 18-yard line. Stafford missed Michel on 1st down, then he missed Higbee on 2nd. On 3rd & 10 Stafford hit Van Jefferson for a 24-yard gain to the LAR 42. Stafford missed Michel for the second time on this drive, then missed Higbee for the second time as well. On another 3rd & 10, Fred Warner & Arden Key teamed up for a sack and a 10-yard loss!
The 49ers then took over on their own 23-yard line. Mitchell began the drive with a run for 12 yards.
Then on 2nd & 10 from the SF 35, Garoppolo hit Deebo for a 32-yard gain down to the LAR 33!
After a few runs, the 49ers were facing a 3rd & 5. Garoppolo hit Aiyuk for a 10-yard gain and a first down! After a false start, they were facing a 2nd & 14 form the LAR 22, with 7:55 to play. Garoppolo then threw into triple coverage, in an ill-advised attempt to force the ball to Kittle over the middle of the field. The ball was deflected, and eventually Jalen Ramsey came up with the interception, after bobbling it several times as he went to the ground in the end zone. Luckily, he didn’t down the ball & tried to run it back, only to get to the 8-yard line.
The Rams took over with 7:42 to go. Stafford hit Kupp for 14 yards (part 5) & then again for 30 (part 6), Dre Greenlaw was penalized for a facemask, which moved the ball 15 yards further up the field for the Rams.
Michel had 14-yard run to the SF 23, then several plays later on 3rd & goal, Stafford hit Kupp for the score from the SF 4-yard line. I thought surely that was a dagger into the heart of the 49ers’ playoff hopes. It was 24-17 LAR, with 2:29 left to play in the game. (tweet should read: we don’t deserve *to win* this)
The 49ers started on their own 25-yard line. Garoppolo hit Kittle for a 1-yard gain. Then on 2nd & 9, he threw a hospital ball to Kittle, who miraculously was uninjured.
On 3rd & 9, Von Miller came unblocked to hit Jimmy G from his blindside, for a 9-yard sack, forcing the punt. Another miraculous non-injury & a seemingly sure ending in a loss. The 49ers had a .4% of winning this game at this point per Next Gen Stats.
The Rams took over with good field position, on their own 40-yard line. Michel ran for 2 yards & the 49ers were forced to take their first timeout. Michel ran for 1 & the 49ers took their second timeout. On 3rd & 7 Michel ran for another 2 yards & the 49ers took their third & final timeout The Rams were forced to punt with 1:27 to go.
The 49ers then took over on their own 12-yard line. They had 88 yards to go, in 87 seconds, with no timeouts to stop the clock!
Garoppolo first hit Aiyuk for a 21-yard gain, then hit Jennings for another 5. On 2nd down Garoppolo hit Deebo for the play of the game – a 43-yard catch & run, where Ramsey laid out, in vain, in attempt to disrupt the catch (see my avi /pfp)!
On top of the monster gain, Leonard Floyd got called for being offsides whenn the 49ers clocked the ball on the next play. They were all the way down to the Rams 14, with :54 to go! Garoppolo then threw at least his 6th bad pass trying to hit Deebo across the middle.
On 2nd & 5 from the Rams 14, with :31 to go, Garoppolo hit Jennings over the middle for a 14-yard TD (his 2nd of the game) to tie the game 24-24, with :26 left!
The Rams took over on their own 25. Stafford hit Higbee for 12. All of a sudden, I began to worry about the Rams getting into FG range. On the next play Armstead put my worries at ease by sacking Stafford for a 3-yard loss.
The Rams then decided to let the clock expire with :21 left on the clock. Phew! 24-24 at the end of regulation.
Fred Warner won the 2nd coin toss for the 49ers, and of course chose to receive the kickoff to begin OT, which meant:
If the 49ers could score a TD on their opening drive of OT, the game would be over, with no chance for the Rams to even get the ball.
The 49ers started on their own 25 yard line. Garoppolo began the drive by missing Deebo over the middle with bad throw #7.
Deebo then ran right for 13 yards.
Mitchell ran right for another 8 yards.
The 49ers were then called for holding.
It was 2nd & 12 from the SF 36-yard line. Garoppolo hit Deebo for 6 to cut the distance in half.
On 3rd & 6 from the SF 43, Garoppolo hit Jennings perfectly, just as he came out of break, for a 34-yard catch & rumble down the right sideline!
My post 2020 draft Jennings hype tweet: (Aiyuk on top)
The 49ers now had 1st & 10 at the LAR 24-yard line. Two runs later, they’re facing a 3rd & 3. The 49ers didn’t like what they saw & called a timeout. Then, the Rams called one. After, Garoppolo hit Jennings for a 9-yard gain & a 1st down to the LAR 3-yard line! Two short runs later brought up 3rd & goal. Garoppolo then hit Kittle in the left flat, but the defender was all over him & Kittle was stopped several yards short of the goal line. However, he stayed inbounds and forced the Rams to call their final timeout! The 49ers decided to take the sure 3 points, making it 27-24 with 2:39 left in OT. If the Rams scored a TD, then they would win, any other result & the 49ers would be in the playoffs.
The Rams took over on their own 18 & got it out to their 38-yard line at the 2-minute warning. On 1st & 10, Stafford heaved it down the right sideline, but Ambry Thomas had position & made his first ever NFL interception to seal the win & send the 49ers to the playoffs as the 6th seed in the NFC!
The 49ers will now face the #3 seed Dallas Cowboys in Jerry’s World on Sunday at 1:30pm!
Deebo Samuel was hands down the MVP of the game & of the 49ers’ 2021 season.
Honorable Mention: Jauan Jennings & 49ers’ defense
Aiyuk, Mitchell & Colton McKivitz (first ever start at LT & first start of 2021) were next on the list
Armstead came up HUGE on Sunday!
Then comes Jimmy Garoppolo, who was really bad in the first half & pretty darn good in the second half (A tale of 2 Jimmys)
His passing chart was the best that I can remember for him:
Jimmy got us out of a hole, but it was one that he had largely dug for us, by himself.
Keep an eye out for my 49ers/Cowboys preview this Friday morning!