Observations from 49ers loss to Rams in NFC championship game

The 49ers were cruising ahead 17-7 in the second half. Then the wheels came off and they allowed the final 13 points and took a 20-17 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles.

Here are our observations from each quarter:

First quarter

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– Jimmy Garoppolo airmails his first throw of the game to a wide open George Kittle on the 49ers’ first possession. Instead of a conversion San Francisco has to punt. Brutal throw from the QB.

– The Rams offense is rolling now against the 49ers’ zone defense. Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. are finding room in their second drive.

– Interception! On a third-and-goal from the 3, K’Waun Williams tips a pass in the air and Jimmie Ward snags it for the pick. That was a terrific play from Williams on Cooper Kupp.

– Incredible play by Trent Sherfield on Mitch Wishnowsky’s punt after the interception. He toe tapped at the goal line to keep the ball out and San Francisco downed it at the Rams’ 3.

– Pass interference on Ambry Thomas extends the Rams’ drive. That’s not a good play by the rookie.

End of first quarter: Rams 0, 49ers 0

Second quarter

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– Stafford ran for a first down on a third-and-10. Embarrassing for the 49ers defense.

– The Rams just tried to block Nick Bosa with Odell Beckham Jr. It didn’t go great.

– Ambry Thomas is struggling bad. Third-and-6 and Kupp dusted him with ease.

– Nick Bosa came up with a sack after the first down to Kupp. That’s 7.5 for him in his postseason career which ties the franchise’s career-high.

– Easy touchdown for Kupp makes it 7-0, Rams. Jaquiski Tartt got on his heels and lost him. 97 yards on 18 plays for LA. The 49ers offense needs a long drive here if for no other reason to give their defense a breather.

– Huge completion down the left side to Brandon Aiyuk for 31 yards. The 49ers needed that bad.

– Deebo! A quick screen, Samuel works his way through a ton of defenders and then broke for a 44-yard touchdown. Unbelievable play by the receiver and a huge game-tying TD.

– The 49ers cannot get off the field on third down. LA has converted five straight.

– San Francisco’s defense is getting exceedingly lucky. They’ve benefitted from a pair of Rams drops, one of which would’ve gone for a touchdown.

– A missed 54-yard field goal by the Rams is huge. The 49ers will get the ball with 1:50 left near midfield. If they can get points they have a chance to lead at the half and get the ball to start the second half.

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– Samuel got whacked over the middle and stayed down for a bit before running off the field. Clean hit.

– Nice drive to close the half by San Francisco. They went 36 yards in eight plays to burn the final 1:50 and ended the half with a 38-yard field goal from Robbie Gould. It’s 10-7 49ers and they get the ball to open the third quarter.

End of second quarter: 49ers 10, Rams 7

Third quarter

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– Garoppolo’s first throw of the second half was nearly intercepted by Jalen Ramsey.

– Impressive job by Garoppolo to avoid a couple sacks and throw the ball away.

– Garoppolo’s third-and-9 pass got tipped and nearly caught by Kittle and then nearly intercepted. Instead it’s a punt for San Francisco. Not a good start to the second half. Garoppolo is under siege every time he drops back.

– 2nd-and-12 and the Rams convert easily. Then a 26-yard gain to Odell Beckham. That’s an adjustment San Francisco needs to make because they’re getting torched in coverage.

– Stopped! The 49ers on a fourth-and-1 stuff a QB sneak by Stafford. Charles Omenihu got home first.

– Big-time throw on third-and-5 from Garoppolo to Aiyuk. 13 yards on an in-breaking route.

– What a conversion on third-and-10 by Jauan Jennings. He caught a throw a couple yards short and then fought through a tackle to fall forward for a first down. Unbelievable play.

– BANG! Garoppolo throws a dime to Kittle for a 16-yard touchdown. Huge drive after the fourth-down stop. 10 plays, 58 yards and a touchdown that makes it 17-7, 49ers.

– The third quarter ends on a 20-yard gain for the Rams and they’re into the red zone. Awful response from San Francisco’s defense.

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End of third quarter: 49ers 17, Rams 7

Fourth quarter

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– Easy touchdown for Kupp. 17-14 now. Awful response for the 49ers defense. They got absolutely scorched on that series.

– Second-and-1, unimaginative run up the middle gets stuffed for a loss. Then third-and-2 another unimaginative run up the middle gets stuffed. A pair of abysmal play calls in a huge spot.

– The Rams challenged the third-and-2 play thinking Kyle Juszczyk had fumbled. The challenge failed and burned LA’s last timeout. San Francisco came out to run a play on fourth-and-2 but just tried to get the Rams to jump offsides. They punted instead. That feels like it might swing the game.

– Jaquiski Tartt dropped an interception that hit him square in the chest. Then a huge completion to Beckham with 15 yards tacked on thanks to a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jimmie Ward. The wheels are coming off.

– Huge stop by Fred Warner in the red zone on a third-and-3 for the Rams. They nailed a 44-yard field goal to make it a 17-17 game.

– Three incompletions and a punt. This is a putrid offensive performance by the 49ers.

– Big completion to Kupp puts the Rams inside the 15 with less than 3 minutes left and that might just about do it.

– The 49ers got a first-down stop with 2:32 left and chose not to call one of their three timeouts. Interesting.

– A sack and a screen leave the Rams to kick a field goal to take a 20-17 lead. There’s 1:46 left and the 49ers have one timeout.

– First-down throw gets batted down. Four consecutive incompletions.

– Second-down throw is complete for minus-3 yards. Brutal.

– A Garoppolo interception ends the game. Perfect.

Final score: Rams 20, 49ers 17

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