It’s really, really cold here in St. Louis. Thank goodness, they play football in a dome.
The walk to the Edward Jones Dome from my downtown hotel exposed this California boy to the coldest
whether weather he has experienced in his life. The temperature was in single-digits, and it was not real fun to be walking against the wind.
About two hours before kickoff, Frank Gore was out there on the field under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Duane Carlisle, head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson and running backs coach Tony Nathan. Gore ran at about quarter-speed and he was grimacing a lot as he tested his sprained left ankle. It does not look good.
UPDATE: Gore will not play today. No big surprise. He hasn’t practiced in two weeks, and he has said he needs that practice time to get ready. They gave it a shot during warmups today, but it was pretty obvious he’s just not ready. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back on the field next week in the season finale against the Redskins and get his 22 yards for 1,000.
49ers: Jamie Martin (third QB), Gore, CB Marcus Hudson, CB Reggie Smith, RB Thomas Clayton, LB Ahmad Brooks, C Cody Wallace and T Jacob Bender.
So those who wanted to see Clayton get some playing time will be disappointed. He is not even in uniform.
Rams: Brock Berlin (third QB), RB Antonio Pittman, CB Quincy Butler, S Eric Roach, C Cory Withrow, G Roy Schuening, T Anthony Davis and DT Antwon Burton.
DE Victor Adeyanju relaces Leonard Little at LDE; Adam Carriker replaces La’Roi Glover at DT; and Chris Draft replaces Will Witherspoon at MLB.
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Barry Sims will start at RT for the 49ers, with Adam Snyder still hobbled with an ankle sprain.
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This is Joe Starkey’s final road game as the 49ers’ play-by-play radio man. More than two hours before kickoff, Rams coach Jim Haslett paid a visit to the KNBR broadcast booth to wish Starkey well and offer his congratulations on a great career as the voice of the 49ers. Starkey was deeply touched by the classy move.
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As I sit here watching the 49ers in pregame warmups, Delanie Walker is taking snaps at running back. Watch for that in today’s game.
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This is the smallest crowd I’ve ever seen for an NFL game — regular- or exhibition season.
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–Walt Harris with a huge hit on Bulger on a corner blitz to lead to an incomplete pass on the the first play of the game.
–ROMAN WITH AN INTERCEPTION! But, of course, it’s coming back because of offsides on Aubrayo Franklin.
–After an eight-play drive, the Rams will punt. Rossum is back to return.
–Rossum runs up to catch it, but gets hammered by Larry Grant, the player the Rams signed off the 49ers’ practice squad several weeks ago.
–The 49ers take over at the 21-yard line with 9:58 left in the quarter.
–Third and 8 . . . Niners have four wideouts on the field, as Morgan replaces Vernon Davis. Hill looks to get it down the field to Isaac Bruce, but Fakhir Brown breaks it up.
–Lee punts 57 yards to Looker, who makes Tarell Brown miss on his 14-yard return. Looker returns it to the 34. Rams take over with 8:24 left in the quarter.
–Steven Jackson with runs of 7 and 5 yards. Rams are going no huddle.
–Michael Lewis with a nice tackle of Klopfenstein. He’s a yard shy of the first down. The Rams will go for it on fourth down.
–Jackson gets the yardage up the middle for a first down . . . and the crowd is going crazy. All 14 of them.
–Patrick Willis with a huge hit on Darby to stop him short of the first down.
–Rams going for it again on fourth and 3 from the 36 . . . Roman and Harris had good coverage in the end zone. The 49ers take over with 4:21 remaining in the quarter.
–Bruce gets his first reception. It goes for 21 yards, much to the delight of the 12 fans (two of them went to the concession stand).
–Deep for Vernon Davis on third down, but he can’t locate it over his right shoulder. Incomplete. The 49ers will settle for a field goal.
–Joe Nedney with a 48-yard field goal. It’s 49ERS 3, RAMS 0 with 2:00 left in the quarter.
–On this drive, the 49ers are going with McDonald at right end, Fields at nose tackle and Balmer at left end.
–Rams have the ball in 49ers’ territory.
–Haralson drops into coverage and causes an incomplete pass in the flat to Jackson on third down.
–Josh Brown on for a 43-yard attempt. It’s good. He squeezes it inside the left upright. 49ERS 3, RAMS 3 with 13:07 left in the half.
–Niners open this drive with three straight runs after throwing five of the six plays on last drive.
–Shaun Hill takes off running for 24 yards on a scramble. Ball is on the Rams’ 35.
–Tight end screen to Vernon Davis, who gets it inside the 20 before he fumbles. The Rams receover at the 18. Let’s see if the 49ers are going to challenge it during the TV commercial break.
–Niners don’t challenge it. The Rams keep possession.
–Niners defense holds the Rams to a three-and-out.
–Donnie Jones shanks one, and the 49ers take over at their own 40 with 9:21 left in the half.
–Man, what a boring game.
–Shaun Hill throws a floater down the field for Davis. It’s intercepted by Atogwe. That’s not the Shaun Hill we know. Why did he make that throw? It was a horrible pass. That’s the kind of pass Hill has been seen throwing in practice. Rams take over at their own 18
–Another Rams three-and-out.
–Niners take over at their own 37. Does anyone see the same spark the 49ers have shown in recent weeks? They look dead. Let’s see if they show us something now.
–Hill is sacked and fumbled. Brown got past Foster to strip Hill. Foster recovers it.
–Niners pick up 6 on a pass to Foster on third-and-13. Lee is on to punt.
–This might be the worst game — with absolutely no energy — that I’ve ever seen.
–Steven Jackson gains 12 yards out of the “Wildcat” formation. The Rams have the ball at the 33-yard line at the two-minute warning. He has 71 yards on 16 carries.
–It’s third and 7 after Michael Lewis breaks up a pass to Holt (he might have gotten there early).
–Michael Lewis gives it back. He did not see the pass that was being thrown over his head to Kennan Burton for a 30-yard touchdown. Lewis was absolutely lost on the play. The Rams made the 49ers pay for their blitz. It’s RAMS 10, 49ERS 3 with 1:12 remaining in the half.
–Mike Singletary can’t be happy about what he’s seeing today. This has been a horrendous performance from his team. The Rams are dominating.
–Completion to Morgan to the 39. That sets up a third and 3 with :51 left in the half.
–Hill to Hill for 6 yards and a first down. The 49ers burn their second timeout.
–Shaun Hill with another horrendous pass. It’s intercepted by Bartell. The Rams take over at the 32 with :37 left. This is the worst I’ve ever seen Hill in a game. (But it’s pretty close to how he looks sometimes in practice.)
–The Rams move close to midfield on a screen play to Darby. There’s 28 seconds remaining in the half.
–Darby with a nice move at the sideline on another dump-off pass. He gets down to the 23-yard line with :19 left. It was a 25-yard gain.
–Another pass to Darby for 3 yards. The Rams burn their final timeout with :10 remaining.
–Josh Brown attempts a 38-yard attempt. He makes it. RAMS 13, 49ERS 3 with :06 left.
–I would love to be in that 49ers’ locker room at halftime to hear what Singletary is going to say to his thoroughly uninspired team.
–I missed practices Thursday and Friday this week because I was sick. But I’m told Shaun Hill had a good week of work. Hmmm . . . maybe he should practice poorly every week.
–Niners will receive the kickoff to open the second half.
–Third and 3 for the 49ers from their own 31 . . . three-man rush, Hill with time to throw but it’s broken up by Witherspoon. That’s a three-and-out.
–Lee with a 62-yard punt. Tarell Brown downs it at the 7.
–Lawson with a nice hit on Jackson for an incomplete pass. Lawson goes off the field on third and 12.
–Niners go with five DBs with Stickland on the field. Jackson on a draw play, gains 7.
–Jones with a monster punt — a 66-yarder. Rossum returns it 15 yards to the 49ers’ 37.
–Hill misfires for Bruce on a deep out.
–Hill is sacked on a blitz. Vernon Davis looked down, and Tinoisamoa came off the right side untouched.
–Hill is sacked again. The 49ers have ZERO answers for what the Rams are doing. Andy Lee is on to punt.
–Dominique Zeigler with a great tackle as the gunner on the return. Lee had a 55-yard punt. Rams take over at their own 27 with 10:34 left in the third.
–Marc Bulger with a reception from Looker out of the Wildcat. Bulger caught it for 6 yards at the sideline. Niners defensive coordinator Greg Manusky tapped Bulger on the head with his play-sheet after Bulger stepped out of bounds.
–Bulger sacked by Takeo Spikes off the edge to force a Rams punt. Neither team has recorded a first down yet in the second half.
–Niners take over at their own 28 after Strickland missed a block and Rossum got clobbered on the return.
–Hill throws behind Johnson, but he makes the grab near midfield. The Rams were holding on the penalty, but it’s declined. It’s a 21-yard gain.
–Third and 2 from the Rams’ 40 . . . Foster is buried for no gain on a delay.
–Niners will go for it on fourth and 2 from the Rams’ 40 . . . Hill scrambles for the first down.
–Chris Long beat up on Staley to get pressure on Hill, who has to throw it out of bounds.
–Another Hill interception.
–J.T. O’Sullivan is grabbing a football and he’s warming up. Singletary goes over to O’Sullivan, and O’Sullivan sits down. Now Singletary is talking to Hill. It looks like they told O’Sullivan he was going in, and then Singletary changed his mind.
–While the 49ers’ defense is on the field, Singletary is laying into the offensive unit on the bench. The Rams just picked up a first down at their own 47 with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.
–Clements called for pass interference. Singletary came out on the field to argue the call. Looked like a good call to me. Rams at the SF 41.
–On third and 1, Jackson gets the call up the middle. It’s close. It’s a first down by the nose of the football. Rams have a first down at the SF 31.
–Bulger hits Holt down to the 16-yard line.
–Michael Lewis stops Jackson for a 3-yard loss at the 8-yard line, bringing up a second-and-goal. But Lewis is injured on the play. Dashon Goldson enters the game for what might be the first time today.
–Now, it’s third and goal from the 7 . . . Bulger tries to run but doesn’t get far. Roderick Green brings him down.
–Josh Brown on for a 22-yard field goal. It’s good. RAMS 16, 49ERS 3 with 11:36 remaining.
–Shaun Hill is jogging out as QB, but I’m sure he’s on a short leash. The 49ers take over at the 21.
–St. Louis radio analyst Jim Hanifan says, after the 49ers run on first down, “This is not Mike Martz’s offense.”
–It’s third and 4 . . . incomplete to Johnson. The 49ers are 1 for 8 on third downs. This is really, really pathetic against a really, really pathetic opponent.
–Rams take over at their own 38 after a fair catch.
–Rams pick up a first down. Jackson has 102 yards. They’re just pounding the 49ers in all areas of this game.
–Jackson fumbles as he goes down. They rule that he’s down by contact. Right before the next snap, Singletary throws the challenge flag. Remember, former NFL official Ron Blum has been in the 49ers’ coaches booth. Referee Carl Cheffers will review it. This is a big call.
–The ruling stands, and the 49ers just lost a timeout.
–The defense holds. Jones’ punt is a touchback.
–Niners take over at the 20 with 7:00 remaining. Hill is back at QB.
–Hill hits Bruce for his second catch of the game. It goes for 12 yards. The 49ers are not in hurry-up mode. Why not?
–Eleven-yard pass to Foster. Now the 49ers are going with the no-huddle offense.
–Third and 4 . . . Hill scrambles for 17 yards up the middle. Hill has three carries for 46 yards. He’s their leading rusher.
–Bartell knocks the ball loose from Jason Hill in the end zone. That’s where Shaun Hill’s arm strength is an issue.
–It’s third and 10 with 4:26 to go . . . penalty on the Rams for neutral-zone infraction. So now it’s third and 5 . . . Hill burns a timeout with the clock stopped. That’s not good.
–Niners are in the red zone after 15-yard pass to Johnson.
–Bruce with the grab at the 10. It’s second and 6. That’s Bruce’s fourth catch of the game.
–Bruce again for a first down at the 3. He now has 999 receptions in his career.
–Isaac Bruce makes the TD catch. That’s catch No. 1,000 of his career. It comes with 4:03 left in regulation, and the crowd is yelling, “Bruuuuuuuuce!” It’s a standing ovation from the sparse crowd.
That makes the score RAMS 16, 49ERS 10.
–The Rams take over at the 20.
–Jackson takes up the middle for a couple yards out of the “Wildcat.”
–At least we have a game now. It is simply amazing tht the 49ers have a chance to win this game. Jackson stopped for 1 yard.
–It’s third and 6 . . . Niners bring five, and Clements makes a great play to break up the pass to Holt along the right sideline. Donnie Jones is on to punt.
–The punt goes out of bounds. The 49ers will take over at the SF 33 with 2:27 remaining. The 49ers have one timeout remaining.
–Hill gets taken down on a coverage sack. He should’ve gotten rid of the ball. Instead, he takes a 7-yard sack, and the clock ticks down to the two-minute warning. The 49ers need a touchdown to win. It’ll be second and 17 from the 26.
–Second and 12 after another neutral-zone infraction. Bruce catches an 8-yard pass. Bruce moves past Tim Brown into No. 2 all time in yards receiving.
–Thirteen yards to Johnson. The 49ers are at the Rams’ 48.
–Are you kidding me? Josh Morgan makes the TD grab, a 48-yarder. He essentially took it away from Jason Hill. That is unbelievable. What a great catch for the rookie. It’s 49ERS 17, RAMS 16 with 1:22 remaining.
–Justin Smith sacks Bulger for a loss of 5. He destroyed Rams rookie John Greco.
–Holt on a crossing pattern, but Willis makes a great tackle to hold him to a 6-yard gain.
–It’s fourth and 9 from the Rams’ 38 with :32 remaining. All the Rams need is a field goal . . . Avery with the catch of a tipped pass from Harris. Did he get both feet down? I’m not sure. The play will be reviewed.
–Looks like he got both feet down. Josh Brown will need about 10 more yards to get into range to win this game. The Rams have the ball at the SF 49.
–Patrick Willis stops Jackson for a loss of 3 on a draw play. Rams call a timeout with :22 remaining.
–Tarell Brown with the game-ending interception. And that’s the ballgame, folks.