Greg Roman grades himself on wins and losses

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Greg Roman grades himself on wins and losses

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh took full responsibility for allowing the disastrous play call of an option -- without an available audible for quarterback Colin Kaepernick — to make its way to the field on Sunday.

The resulting fourth-quarter fumble was turned into a touchdown in the 49ers' 16-13 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman made the play call. But Harbaugh, who calls in the play to the quarterback via a radio transmitter, took full responsibility.

"I should have not let that play be called," Harbaugh said on Monday.

On Thursday, Roman stopped far short of admitting the play call was a mistake.

"You go back and you look at every call and judge your intent, relative to who you're asking to do what," Roman said in his first public comments since the 49ers’ loss. "You assess that decision. And one thing is, when plays work, you generally say that was a good decision. When they're not executing or they don't work, for whatever reason, maybe we should've done something else.

"In that case, there were too many moving parts for that situation. Certainly, when it was called, the result was not what we expected."

When Roman was asked to assess the risk-reward of that play call late in the game from the 49ers' 17-yard line with the club holding an eight-point lead.

"Not going to get into the X's and O's aspects of it," Roman said. "The result was not the intent of the play call. I always look back and say, ‘Did it work?’ "

Kaepernick's pitch intended for Ted Ginn was high. Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins picked up the loose ball at the 2-yard line and scored. The Rams added the two-point conversion to tie the game with 3:04 remaining in regulation. It was the only touchdown the Rams scored in the game.

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The 49ers had a difficult time on offense against the Rams, who took away the 49ers' deep-passing game and also stacked the line of scrimmage to make it difficult for running back Frank Gore.

"The Rams big thing was they wanted to take away the deep ball," 49ers guard Alex Boone said. "They wanted to keep everything close and I don't think we were really prepared for that. At the same time, as an offense, we have to execute better."

The 49ers also committed 11 penalties in Sunday's game. Six of the penalties were on offense.

"It's not about play-calling, it's about execution, ultimately, on the field," Roman said. "That's something we got to get a lasso around real quick. You know, 49er football is smart, tough, opportunistic, football and penalties certainly don't fit into that equation."

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, in comments after the game, pointed to the 49ers' play-calling as a reason his team was able to come out with a victory.

"I don't know what they were trying to accomplish there, but we took advantage of one of their mistakes," Fisher said.

On Wednesday, Harbaugh responded.

"That's the low-hanging fruit, 'What the heck were they doing?' " Harbaugh said. "But again, you learn from it. It's like somebody reached into your chest and stomach and started pulling the innards out without using any anesthesia. All you can do is learn."

As for Roman, he said his self-assessment of his play-calling is black and white.

"If we win the game, I generally think it was good," he said. "If we don't, it's got to be better. That's how I look at it."

Rodgers, Packers headed to NFC championship after thriller with Cowboys

Rodgers, Packers headed to NFC championship after thriller with Cowboys

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas -- This time it was a catch, and another win for the Green Bay Packers.

Call it a "Half Mary" from Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers threw a 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Jared Cook on the sideline, and Mason Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Packers to the NFC championship game with their eighth straight win while thwarting a huge Dallas rally in a 34-31 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs Sunday.

The throw on the run from Rodgers to Cook on third-and-20 with 12 seconds left - confirmed on review - wasn't nearly as debatable as Dez Bryant's famous catch that wasn't in the Cowboys' divisional round loss to Green Bay (12-6) two years ago.

Cook, who led Green Bay with 104 yards receiving, kept both feet inbounds with a knee just above the ground out of bounds.

And it came after the Cowboys tied the game twice in the final 5 minutes behind rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in their playoff debut.

It was the third field goal of more than 50 yards in the final 1:33 - two from Crosby and one from Dallas' Dan Bailey. And Crosby had to make the winner twice after Dallas coach Jason Garrett called timeout before the first attempt.

Rodgers, who sparked last week's wild-card win over the New York Giants with another Hail Mary before halftime, is headed to an MVP showdown with Atlanta's Matt Ryan next Sunday. It will be his third NFC title game - all on the road.

"Unbelievable effort. I mean, what a game, what a game," said Rodgers, who threw for 356 yards with two touchdowns. "We're going to celebrate this and move on to Atlanta. We're just going to enjoy this right now."

Green Bay's win was the first by a road team after 12 straight home victories in the playoffs dating to last season. The Packers were the previous road team to win - over Washington in last season's wild-card round.

The Cowboys (13-4) almost became the third team in the Super Bowl era to win in the playoffs after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter. The first was Dallas in 1972, when "Captain Comeback", Roger Staubach, rallied the Cowboys for a 30-28 win over San Francisco.

Instead, top-seeded Dallas ended up with its fifth straight loss in the divisional round and a 21-year drought in trips to the NFC championship game.

Prescott, whose 11-game winning streak during the regular season sent Tony Romo to the bench when he was ready to return from a back injury, rallied the Cowboys in a way that probably made Dallas' 10-year starter proud.

The fourth-round pick, who was supposed to be the No. 3 quarterback before injuries changed everything, got Dallas' rally going with a 40-yard touchdown toss in the first half to Bryant, the first playoff TD for the star receiver.

Then he set the stage for the first tying score on a 6-yarder to Jason Witten, also the first postseason touchdown for the 14th-year tight end.

Rodgers led the Packers to a go-ahead 56-yard field goal from Crosby with a big boost on a pass interference penalty against rookie Anthony Brown that wiped out an interception from Jeff Heath, whose pick earlier in the game helped Dallas rally.

The Cowboys answered with a 52-yarder from Bailey.

Prescott threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and Elliott had 125 yards rushing.

Rodgers didn't seem to miss receiver Jordy Nelson, out with a rib injury sustained in the win over the Giants.

Rodgers found six different receivers, including a 34-yard touchdown to Richard Rodgers that was his longest since catching one of three successful Hail Mary passes from Aaron Rodgers in the past 13 months.

SAY AGAIN?

The Cowboys had a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that doesn't happen often. Dallas had a first down wiped out by the penalty against receiver Brice Butler, who wasn't even part of the play. And that was actually the issue.

Referee Tony Corrente threw the flag immediately after the snap. After Terrance Williams made a catch the referee announced that Butler was penalized for going into the offensive huddle and then leaving the field.

There was even more confusion when the penalty was initially marked off only 5 yards. After Packers coach Mike McCarthy pointed it out, Corrente announced the correction and the ball was moved back another 10 yards. The Cowboys punted soon after.

UP NEXT

Packers: At Atlanta in the NFC championship game next Sunday.

Report: Jags interviewed Chip Kelly 'very quietly' before hiring Marrone

Report: Jags interviewed Chip Kelly 'very quietly' before hiring Marrone

The 49ers fired Chip Kelly on January 1. But it didn't take long for Kelly to get a job interview.

Between January 1 and January 9, when the Jaguars hired Doug Marrone, Jacksonville reportedly interviewed Kelly for the job.

The interview happened "very quietly" according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Jaguars had interviewed six known candidates: Marrone, Tom Coughlin, Harold Goodwin, Mike Smith, Kyle Shanahan and Josh McDaniels.

While the Jaguars hired Marrone and most other teams filled their head coaching vacancy, the 49ers are the lone team remaining without a head coach.

The leading candidates for the 49ers’ job appear to be McDaniels and Shanahan. The 49ers interviewed Shanahan and McDaniels on Friday and Saturday, respectively, as their teams earned first-round playoff byes.

The 49ers are also scheduled to interview Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable on Sunday.

Three days after he was fired by the 49ers, Kelly addressed his next possible career move with CSNBayArea.com.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” he said. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”