Maiocco's Instant Replay: No winner on this day with 24-24 tie


Maiocco's Instant Replay: No winner on this day with 24-24 tie


SAN FRANCISCO -- Seventy five minutes of football was not enough to determine a winner at Candlestick Park Sunday afternoon.

Both David Akers and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed potential game-winning field goals in overtime, and the NFC West rivals tied 24-24.

It's the first time the 49ers have taken part in a draw since October 19, 1986 against the Atlanta Falcons, and it's the first tie in the NFL since November 16, 2008 when the Eagles and Bengals tied 13-13.

KAEPERNICK TO THE RESCUE (ALMOST): The 49ers traded up to select quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round of last year's draft.They got him for moments like Sunday, when starter Alex Smith was forced out of the action against the St. Louis Rams due to a concussion in the second quarter.It wasn't always graceful, but Kaepernick ran for a second-half touchdown when he engineered an 11-play, 81-yard drive, culminating in a seven-yard touchdown scamper at the left pylon to cut the 49ers' deficit to 17-14 with 8:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.On the ensuing kickoff, Tramaine Brock stripped Rams return Isaiah Pead of the ball and Darcel McBath made the recovery at the 20-yard line. On the next play, Frank Gore got around the left side for a 20-yard scoring run to give the 49ers a 21-17 lead with 8:23 remaining.Kaepernick finished the game completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards with no touchdown passes and no interceptions.He ran eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Until the fourth quarter, very little went right for the 49ers, who still lead the NFC West with a 6-2-1 record.
Smith took a huge, legal hit from Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar at the beginning of a 12-play series. Dunbar hit Smith at the end of a 4-yard run. Dunbar hit Smith high in the back of his right shoulder, a legal hit because Smith was out of the pocket and considered a runner.The jarring hit clearly fazed Smith, but he remained in the game long enough to complete the 49ers' only scoring drive of the first half. Smith hit Michael Crabtree on a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the 49ers' deficit to 14-7 with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter.At that point in the game, Smith completed 7 of 8 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. He had also been sacked twice.But when the 49ers took over for their next series three minutes later, Smith remained on the sideline and Kaepernick went into the game.Dr. Daniel Garza, the concussion expert on the 49ers' medical staff, walked with Smith into the team's locker room a short time later.Smith sustained a concussion in the 49ers' second game of last season but did not miss any playing time. Smith sustained his concussion in the first half of a Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys but did not report his condition to the medical staff until after the game. He was back in the starting lineup for the next game.SLUGGISH START: The Rams thoroughly dominated the first 13 minutes of the game on both sides of the ball to take a 14-0 lead. St. Louis struck first when quarterback Sam Bradford hit rookie Brian Quick on a 36-yard touchdown after 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver fell down in coverage.The next time the Rams touched the ball, running back Steven Jackson took care of most of the work on the ground, including a 7-yard scoring run up the middle for a 14-0 lead with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter.INACTIVES: The 49ers did not have a third quarterback because Scott Tolzien was one of the team's inactive players. There is no longer an emergency third quarterback rule in the NFL. Teams are allowed to suit up 46 players.The 49ers' seven inactive players were: Tolzien, receiver A.J. Jenkins, running backs LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs, guard Joe Looney, nose tackle Ian Williams and safety Trenton Robinson.Meanwhile, the Rams deactivated rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins and wide receiver Chris Givens for violating team rules.THIS 'N' THAT: Crabtree has caught a touchdown pass in each of his past five games against the Rams. He has six touchdown receptions in that time. . . . The Rams out-witted the 49ers toward the end of the first half when 49ers special-teams coordinator Brad Seely sent Culliver off the left corner to attempt a block. Punter Johnny Hekker took the snap on a fourth-and-4, and immediately threw a pass to a wide-open Rodney McLeod for a 21-yard gain. The Rams ran out the clock to go into the locker room leading 14-7. . . Safety Dashon Goldson was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for taking off his helmet in the field of play. And at the end of a third-down play, defensive lineman Ray McDonald was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on quarterback Sam Bradford. Those plays enabled the Rams to increase their lead to 17-7 late in the third quarter on Greg Zuerlein's 27-yard field goal. . . The 49ers return to action next week on "Monday Night Football" to face the Chicago Bears, who enter Sunday night's game against the Houston Texans with a 7-1 record.

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

In Kyle Shanahan’s first breath after being introduced as 49ers head coach on Feb. 9, he mentioned Jim Harbaugh, along with Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Steve Mariucci.

The head coach of Michigan was listening, and he appreciated the gesture.

“It was very flattering that he said nice things about us at his news conference, and I appreciated that,” Harbaugh said on "The TK Show," a podcast from Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“Now, I don’t think I was there long enough to be compared with Bill Walsh or Coach Seifert, etc. But I think did – and correct me if I’m wrong – I think we did set a record for coaching there the longest under the present ownership, if I’m not wrong.”

That is correct.

Since John and Denise York took over control of the 49ers in 2000 from Denise’s brother, Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers have employed eight head coaches. Mike Nolan was fired after seven games of his fourth season. The two coaches who followed Harbaugh -- Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly -- were fired after 5-11 and 2-14 seasons, respectively.

Harbaugh’s teams advanced to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance. He and the 49ers “mutually parted ways,” the club announced, immediately after the team finished with an 8-8 record in 2014.

“I take pride in that,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe there should be an endurance medal, a courage medal, for that.”

Shanahan mentioned Harbaugh during his opening remarks at the introductory press conference earlier this month:

“I’ve got to start out thanking Jed and the whole York family. Giving me this opportunity is, it’s a dream come true and it’s not just an opportunity to be a head coach, but to be a head coach at a place like this where you talk about Bill Walsh, you talk about George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, Jim Harbaugh and you can go down the line with the coaches.”

Said Harbaugh, “Just appreciated it. Appreciated it, and not just for me personally, but appreciated that for all the wonderful players we had and the wonderful coaches and the effort that was put in. People poured their hearts and souls into those years. It’s just appreciated that Kyle would make that comment.”

Harbaugh said he has deep respect for Shanahan and new 49ers general manager John Lynch, whom Harbaugh asked to speak to his Stanford teams during his four-year tenure as head coach.

“Yeah, I would’ve loved to have worked for John Lynch,” Harbaugh said. “He reminds me a lot of the athletic director we have here Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player and a teammate of mine. Common sense guys who are team guys, just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes.

“I thought John took note when they were going through the process. e didn’t want his name mentioned and I think that’s . . . I don’t know if a lot of people noticed that, but I think that’s a profound thing. I think that speaks volumes for who he is as a person. He wants to do a good job and it’s for the right reasons. He’s a competitor at the highest level, so I have great respect for that.”

Kawakami also asked Harbaugh about whether he believes quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still capable of being an NFL starter.

“There’s no doubt he can be an NFL starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m sure Kyle, the coaching staff there and John will meet on it, they’ll think about it, they’ll watch, much like we did when we got in there in 2011. And they’ll make the best decision they can for the team and the organization and it’ll play out the way it’s going to play out.”

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

During the month the 49ers had no general manager or head coach, Tom Gamble was the next-highest-ranking football official and was charge of the personnel department on an interim basis.

But CEO Jed York made it clear from the beginning Gamble, whom Trent Baalke promoted to assistant general manager just prior to the start of training camp last summer, would not be considered for a promotion to general manager.

John Lynch, with no front-office experience, was hired over Arizona’s Terry McDonough and Minnesota’s George Paton. Before Lynch’s introductory press conference, he hired two top lieutenants in the personnel department to usurp Gamble on the organization's power structure.

On Wednesday, the 49ers announced what had become inevitable: Gamble was leaving the organization.

“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” Gamble said in a statement. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Lynch’s first move as general manager was to hire Adam Peters away from the Denver Broncos to serve as 49ers vice president of player personnel.

Lynch worked alongside Peters when Lynch took part in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, which included a trip to the NFL scouting combine, prior to the 2013 draft.

“That month, month-and-a-half, I actually sat next to Adam every day,” Lynch told “Those are long meetings. I’d listen to him and we’d talk in between about players. I just saw way back then, he’s a guy who’s highly respected in the league. I firmly believe in two, three years, he would’ve been a GM. He was on that track, at least.”

During Lynch’s introductory press conference a week later, he announced the hiring of Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive. Lynch and Mayhew were teammates in the secondary for Lynch’s first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayhew spent seven seasons as Detroit Lions general manager. Mayhew should be able to provide Lynch with valuable counsel as learns on the job after spending the past eight seasons as a TV analyst on FOX.

“Martin has sat in the seat as a general manager and his experience will play an integral role in helping us locate the type of football player we want representing this organization both on the field and in the community,” Lynch said.

Gamble recently completed his 29th NFL season and his 10th with the 49ers in two stints. After he was fired as Philadelphia Eagles vice president of personnel late in the 2014 season, and came back to the 49ers in the 2015 offseason.

While with the Eagles, Gamble was one of the few individuals in the front office who worked well with Chip Kelly. Gamble played an important role in speaking up for Kelly and bringing him to the 49ers last offseason.

Kelly and Baalke were fired after the 49ers' 2-14 season, and the 49ers promoted the ability to create a fresh start when a new coach and general manager. While the 49ers were expecting Gamble to remain with the organization through the draft, his spot with the organization was going to be tenuous with a new regime.

“He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him,” Lynch said in a statement. “After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities.”