Rams at 49ers final score: San Francisco tops Los Angeles in wild game on Robbie Gould field goal at buzzer

The 49ers trailed for most of Saturday night's game before rallying to beat the Rams, 34-31. After facing two double-digit deficits earlier in the game, the 49ers won the game on Robbie Gould's 33-yard field goal as time expired. Jimmy Garoppolo's 46-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders on 3rd-and-16 set up Gould's game-winning kick. 

With the win, the 49ers improved to 12-3 and are temporarily ahead of 11-3 Seattle for first place in the NFC West. The Rams, who fell 20-7 to the 49ers back in Week 7, fell to 8-7 and will miss the playoffs a year after representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. 

After both teams combined to score 35 points in the second quarter, Jared Goff's 22-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp was the only score of the third quarter, as the Rams took a 28-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Rams defense went to work on Garoppolo in the third quarter, with Morgan Fox, Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler coming up with sacks on San Francisco's quarterback. 

Garoppolo and the 49ers battled back in the fourth quarter. After their defense forced punts on back-to-back possessions, Garoppolo hit George Kittle for a seven-yard score with 6:06 left. Kittle jump-started the 91-yard drive with a 36-yard catch, while fellow tight end Ross Dwelley's 25-yard catch (which also included a 15-yard penalty for a high hit on Rams defensive back Eric Weddle) helped set up the score. 

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The Rams quickly responded, tying the score on Greg Zuerlein's 52-yard field goal with 2:30 left after Zuerlein missed from that distance earlier in the game. The game wouldn't be tied for long, however, as Garoppolo's 18-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne and 46-yard completion to Sanders set up the game-winning kick. 

Here's a more in-depth look at how the 49ers were able to pull out the victory. 

Why the 49ers won 

It wasn't perfect, but the 49ers came up with enough plays to defeat the Rams while staying alive in NFC West division title chase. After falling behind early, Garoppolo and the 49ers' offense took flight, with Garoppolo engineering two second quarter scoring drives and two more scoring drives in the fourth quarter. His seven-yard touchdown pass to Kittle gave the 49ers a 31-28 lead, while his 46-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders set up Robbie Gould's game-winning field goal. 

Speaking of special teams, Richie James' 82-yard kickoff return in the first quarter set up the 49ers' first points. Defensively, the 49ers received a 46-yard interception return for a score by linebacker Fred Warner. And while they allowed nearly 400 yards of total offense, San Francisco's defense forced two critical punts in the fourth quarter after the Rams had taken a 28-24 lead.

While they never did find a way to keep Goff from getting outside the pocket, the 49ers' defense shut down Todd Gurley and the Rams' rushing attack, as Los Angeles rushed for just 72 yard on 23 carries. While he was able to find the end zone twice, Gurley gained just 48 yards on 15 carries with his longest run being a mere eight yards. 

Why the Rams lost 

While the Rams played well enough to win, their lack of a consistent rushing attack led to two wasted opportunities to distance themselves from the 49ers after taking a 28-24 lead on Kupp's touchdown catch with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. 

Los Angeles' defense, despite sacking Garoppolo six times in the second half, allowed two late scoring drives while also allowing the 49ers to convert on a pair of third-and-16 plays on their game-winning drive. Los Angeles also failed to capitalize on Darrius Williams' interception on the second play of the second half, as kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 52-yard attempt. 

Los Angeles fans can't pin Saturday night's loss on Goff, who avenged his ugly performance against the 49ers back in Week 7 by throwing for 323 yards with two touchdowns against San Francisco's formidable pass defense. Goff enjoyed tremendous success getting to the outside and finding receiver Robert Woods and tight end Tyler Higbee, who combined to catch 17 passes 221 yards, while Higbee broke the 1,000-yard receiving barrier for a fourth consecutive year. 

Turning point 

The Rams appeared to be in the driver's seat after forcing a punt and getting the ball at their own 43 with 11:18 remaining and leading 28-24. But on 3rd-and-1 from their own 48, Goff's short pass to Woods was short-circuited by DE Kentavious Street and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, forcing the Rams to punt while giving their offense the ball back with plenty of time left on the clock. 

San Francisco's defense capitalized on their defense's big stop, as Garoppolo hit Kittle and Dwelley before finding Kittle again for the go-ahead score. 

While the Rams would tie the score moments later, the momentum gained by the 49ers' offense during their 91-yard scoring drive would serve as a confidence-builder when they got the ball back with 2:30 left. 

Play of the game

With fans bracing themselves for overtime, the 49ers quickly ended any thoughts of that following Garoppolo's 46-yard pass to Sanders, whose clutch catch set up Gould's game-winning kick. 

Quotable

"We're feeling good about where we are; we feel really good as a team. We never lost confidence. We never lost confidence throughout the season, win, lose or draw. You can't let (adversity) rock your boat. It's just waves. You're gonna get big waves, you're gonna get small waves, but you just gotta steady your boat. (Expletive) is just gonna keep floating, and we gotta keep moving on and moving towards our destination, and that's the plan. 

"We've had bigger waves rock the boat, but we've got some great leadership, we got some great players, we got some poised young guys and some great coaches that quickly steadied the ship." -- 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman when asked about his team's current state heading into next Sunday's game against the Seahawks 

What's next 

The 49ers will travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks in a game that will likely determine which team will win the 2019 NFC West division title. Seattle, 11-3 through 14 games, will host the 4-9-1 Cardinals on Sunday before hosting the 49ers in Week 17. The Rams will look to end their season on a high note when they host the Cardinals next Sunday. 

Re-live Saturday night's action by checking out our live blog that includes instant updates, highlights, and expert analysis. 

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SF -7, O/U 45.5

Season Leaders

passing
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M. Stafford761 YD, 4 TDS, 5 INTS
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M. Stafford761 YD, 4 TDS, 5 INTS
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J. Garoppolo365 YD, 2 TDS, 1 INT
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J. Garoppolo365 YD, 2 TDS, 1 INT
rushing
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D. Henderson Jr.27 ATT, 111 YD, 1 TD
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D. Henderson Jr.27 ATT, 111 YD, 1 TD
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J. Wilson39 ATT, 181 YD
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J. Wilson39 ATT, 181 YD
receiving
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C. Kupp28 REC, 280 YD, 3 TDS
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C. Kupp28 REC, 280 YD, 3 TDS
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B. Aiyuk10 REC, 142 YD, 1 TD
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B. Aiyuk10 REC, 142 YD, 1 TD
Live updates
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2019, 5:09 AM
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@RamsNFL via Twitter
December 22, 2019, 4:40 AM
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Really fun game, as 49ers come up with another clutch win to improve to 12-3 on the year. Despite their best efforts, the Rams fall to 8-7 and are all but eliminated from the NFC playoff picture. Thanks again for following us, have a great night!

December 22, 2019, 4:25 AM
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A good time for Kendrick Bourne to make his first catch of the game, an 18-yarder that gives 49ers a huge first down. Garoppolo loves going over the middle with the game on the line, it's where he's most comfortable. 49ers spend a timeout here, their first.

December 22, 2019, 4:16 AM
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This Rams' pass rush has made its mark this half, with five sacks on Garoppolo since halftime. Donald picks up his second sack there. We're at the 2-minute warning.

December 22, 2019, 4:12 AM
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Greg Zuerlein able to hit this 52-yarder. It's 31-all with 2:30 left.

December 22, 2019, 4:09 AM
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Higbee playing through injury gets his fourth straight 1,000-yard game. The 49ers have been unable to consistently prevent Goff from getting to the outside.

December 22, 2019, 4:06 AM
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Really clutch completion from Goff to Cooks. Honestly this may be the best game I've seen Goff play in a long time.

December 22, 2019, 4:05 AM
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