SAN FRANCISCO -- The final seconds of overtime ticked off the clock at Candlestick Park on Sunday, and not many people knew what came next.Most realized the game had ended in the NFL's first tie since 2008. But then what?The fans fell silent at the conclusion of the 49ers' 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams. Many delayed their trip toward the exits. Players wandered aimlessly onto the field.INSTANT REPLAY: 49ers 24, Rams 24
"I don't know exactly how if feels, yet," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I don't know quite how to feel right how. I've asked several people, some of our players. And I think they feel like I do. Don't know quite how to feel right now. But the way I feel is that it was a good football game. A hard-fought football game, and we came out even."The 49ers came out with a 6-2-1 record. It's a record that still leads the NFC West, but the Seattle Seahawks (6-4) gained a half-game in the standings with a 28-7 victory over the New York Jets.The 49ers own a one-game lead in the division over the Seahawks, who enter their bye week.
The 49ers trailed 14-0 after one quarter early. But on the same drive in which they cut the Rams' lead in half, they also absorbed a blow that stopped their momentum.Quarterback Alex Smith sustained a concussion on a quarterback sneak. He finished the drive, and even threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree. But Smith was removed from the game after reporting blurred vision. He was diagnosed with a concussion.RELATED: Smith sustained concussion on sneak
His status for the 49ers' next game, Monday, Nov. 19, against the Chicago Bears is not known. He must be cleared by an independent neurologist in order to play, per league protocol. Smith sustained a concussion last season and did not miss any action.
Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick entered the game and initially struggled. But then he made plays with his throwing and running. The 49ers made a big play on special teams to set up Frank Gore's go-ahead 20-yard touchdown with 8:23 remaining.Kaepernick completed 11 of 17 pass attempts for 117 yards. He also gained 66 yards rushing on eight attempts."He was pretty solid," Harbaugh said. "We felt that everything that was in the game play he was good with, comfortable with and could execute. And he did a very good job. There was no sense of uptightness or tenseness. He was very good."Said Kaepernick, "I thought I did pretty well. Obviously, there is a lot of room for improvement and a lot of things I would like to do differently. I just went out there and tried to do what I could do to help this team."The 49ers finally gained the lead, but then special teams and defense could not close the deal in regulation -- or overtime.The Rams converted a fake punt when Johnny Hekker, a former scout-team quarterback at Oregon State, completed his second pass of the game to keep a drive alive."It's tough," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. "Any time you think you are getting off the field after third down, you are thinking you are going to over there, look at the plays they just ran, get some Gatorade and get off your feet. Next thing you know, you have that sudden change and have to go right back out there on defense again."The Rams completed a 14-play, 81-yard touchdown drive to re-take the lead on Sam Bradford's 2-yard scoring pass to Austin Pettis with 1:03 remaining. Bradford finished with 26-of-39 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns."We saw an opportunity there, and we didn't seize it," 49ers safety Dashon Goldson said.The 49ers forced overtime when Kaepernick led the 49ers down the field. Receiver Kyle Williams dropped a pass around the Rams' 5-yard line in the closing seconds, the 49ers settled for David Akers' 33-yard field goal.And in overtime, things got even more strange.Receiver Danny Amendola torched 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers for an 80-yard pass play on the first play of the extra session. But referee Clete Blakeman ruled the Rams in an illegal formation. The 49ers used the gift to get the ball back.Akers had a chance to send the crowd home, but his 41-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Akers has made just 15 of 21 field-goal attempts this season. He did not stick around to speak with reporters afterward.The Rams had their own chance to win with a field goal in overtime. And rookie Greg Zeurlein appeared to do just that when he nailed a 53-yard attempt. But the Rams inexplicably let the play clock run out and were called for delay of game before the snap. His 58-yard attempt was wide right."I've been doing this a while and I don't think I've ever been in a game like this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "We had a number of chances to put this one away and unfortunately we didn't."We just didn't win it. But we didn't lose it, either."All in all, it might have been a game that the 49ers were lucky to achieve a tie."It feels like we didn't even play, mentally not physically," 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said.Goldson admitted that he did not know the rules, and was surprised when the game ended without a declared winner. He did not know the game was over until he saw players on both sides walking onto the field at the conclusion."I've never heard of a tie in football," Goldson said. "Where's everybody going? Did somebody quit? Forfeit?"The 49ers came out slowly on Sunday, prompting many to wonder if the team was affected by the layoff. The Rams were also coming off their bye week."I think we had the same exact schedule last year after the bye," 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin said. "They played better than us in the first quarter, but I don't think it had anything to do with the bye."Gore, who finished with 97 rushing yards on 21 carries, sensed that the Rams beat the 49ers to the punch early in the game."We came out sluggish," Gore said. "You could tell we had some time off. But the Rams came in and played hard. We didn't get the job done. We got to get better and get back to what we do and how we play."