ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jeff Fisher apologized for predicting an entirely different game after the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers went to overtime for the second time in three weeks.
No apology necessary after the Rams bounded off the field in a mood to celebrate instead of tying again.
"Wow," Fisher said after rookie Greg Zuerlein kicked a 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds to go in overtime for a 16-13 victory on Sunday. "That's the case of guys just hanging in there. Guys making plays."
Zuerlien's 53-yarder at the end of regulation forced another extra period for teams that tied 24-24 in San Francisco on Nov. 11. In overtime, the Rams let the play clock run down instead of trying to get closer on fourth-and-inches from the 36, making sure the 49ers wouldn't have much time if Zuerlein missed. They needn't have worried. He split the uprights.
The last time the same teams tied twice in a season was in 1963, in games between the Eagles and Steelers. The last time teams had two ties in a season was in 1973 when it happened to four teams.
Zuerlein is 7 for 11 from midfield and beyond, but this was his first game-winner. Before the field goal that forced overtime, he had been in a 3-for-7 slump.
"I was visualizing the hold and the kick, not much else," Zuerlein said. "Just run that through your head a few times and picture yourself winning the game."
The Rams (5-6-1) scored twice in the final 3:04 of regulation to climb back into it after the 49ers (8-3-1) dominated most of the game. The breakthrough play was rookie Janoris Jenkins' 2-yard fumble return for touchdown after an ill-advised pitch from Colin Kaepernick in the general direction of Ted Ginn Jr., which combined with a 2-point conversion pass from Sam Bradford to Lance Kendricks tied it at 10.
"I thought it was an opportunity for us to make a play," Kaepernick said. "I saw their defense coming, I saw the blitz. I thought if I got it to Ted he'd be around the corner for a big play, but at that point in the game you have to play it safe and protect the ball."
Kaepernick also gave up a safety in the third quarter that cut the 49ers' lead to 10-2 when he was penalized for intentional grounding passing out of the end zone while under pressure from middle linebacker James Laurinaitis. Referee Carl Cheffers threw the flag after consulting with other officials and said after the game the penalty was warranted because the pass did not cross the line of scrimmage.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh blamed the coaching staff for calling the pitchout and indicated strongly that Kaepernick would grow from adversity and get his fourth straight start next week at home against Miami.