ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- Before Greg Zuerlein’s game-winning field goal and even before his game-tying one, there was one play that changed it all.
One could argue that it was Janoris Jenkins’ fumble recovery for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the play that changed the momentum at the Edward Jones Dome came from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
In the third quarter, the Rams brought heavy pressure after Kaepernick, who was trying to escape in his own end zone. His only option was to throw the ball away -- so he did.
The only problem being that the referees ruled that he be penalized for intentional grounding since he did not make it back to the line of scrimmage with the throw. A safety was called because the intentional grounding occurred with Kaepernick standing in his own end zone.
“It was an intentional grounding. The quarterback rolled out of the pocket and he needs one of two things: he either needs a receiver in the area, or he needs to throw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage,” Referee Carl Cheffers said of the play. “The official on that side of the field came to me and reported that neither of those things took place. So, we have intentional grounding and because he threw the ball from the end zone, by rule, that penalty is enforced and the result of the enforcement is a safety, by rule.”
The call made it 7-2 late in the third quarter and had the dome at the loudest its been in recent memory. For the 49ers, it was all different.
“I thought I was outside the tackle box” Kaepernick said. “I thought I got it past the line of scrimmage. That’s something you can’t review because it’s a penalty. They said it didn’t make it to the line of scrimmage. I think it did.”
When asked if he understood the call, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh simply stated “no.”
The 49ers were able to tack on a field goal to go up 10-2 early in the fourth quarter, but were not able to retain the lead after the Rams recovered a fumble for a touchdown and converted the two-point conversion.
The teams then traded field goals, but the Rams came out on top with a field goal late in overtime to win it 16-13.