Amendola returned for the Rams following a three-game absence with a shoulder injury to make 11 catches for 102 yards. Bradford went 26 for 39 for 275 yards and two touchdowns — yet the outcome still left him feeling, well, incomplete.
"I think anyone would like to keep playing. I really don't know what good a tie does," Bradford said. "It's frustrating when you play a game and you put so much into it during the week and during the course of it, today five quarters, you'd like to come away with either a win or a loss."
Smith took a hard hit on the back of the neck from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar after a scramble with 1:10 left in the first quarter. But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft stayed in the game and completed his next five passes, including Crabtree's TD.
Smith, who has started 28 straight games, wound up 7 for 8 for 72 yards.
The 49ers didn't face Bradford in either meeting last season as the 2010 top draft pick missed six games with a high left ankle sprain. This time, he had all kinds of extra opportunities.
Bradford found Steven Jackson for a 14-yard gain and first down late in the third period to keep a drive going. Jackson's helmet flew off as he bowled through Willis. St. Louis benefited moments later from two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, extending the Rams drive each time, before Zuerlein kicked a 27-yard field goal.
Crabtree's touchdown midway through the second quarter gave him a TD reception in five straight games against the Rams. It was his third touchdown in two games, and all of his team-leading four TD catches have come in the last five games.
Kaepernick took over on San Francisco's next possession after Smith went to the bench to be examined by medical personnel and later left to the locker room with a concussion.
One wild play late in the first half summed up this wacky day on both sides: Hekker, the Rams punter, completed a 21-yard pass to safety Rodney McLeod from the end zone after Chris Culliver left McLeod.
Hekker did it again in the Rams' 14-play, 18-yard drive over the final minutes of regulation when he faked an end-around and threw a 19-yard completion to Kendricks on fourth-and-8 from the Rams 33. He finished with a notable 118.8 passer rating.
But the defense couldn't get a stop, allowing Kaepernick to get his team back into field-goal range for Akers to tie it.
Notes: Rams CB Janoris Jenkins and WR Chris Givens were held out for an unspecified team rules violation. Fisher said afterward he isn't sure if the starters would play next week at home against the New York Jets. ... Rams LT Wayne Hunter played after missing two games with a back injury.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
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