Top five developments from 49ers' Christmas Eve win vs Rams
Rally for win No. 2
The 49ers scored first on Saturday for the 11th time this season. Still, the 49ers had repeatedly squandered leads while losing a franchise-worst 13 consecutive games.
For the second time this season, though, the 49ers scored first against the Los Angeles Rams and ended up winning. This one, however, required an improbable 15-point rally late in the fourth quarter to pull out a 22-21 victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Here are the top five developments from the 49ers’ victory on Christmas Eve:
5) Full coverage
It wasn’t until the 13th game of the season before a 49ers cornerback recorded an interception. On Saturday, both of the team’s starting cornerbacks came through with picks. Tramaine Brock set up the 49ers’ first touchdown with an interception. And Rashard Robinson clinched the victory with his first career interception.
It’s amazing what a little pass rush can do for a defense. The 49ers got pressure on Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who was sacked four times. Goff was able to complete only 11 of 24 pass attempts for 90 yards. His passer rating was just 35.1.
4) Hyde’s quest for 1,000 ends
The bad news is Carlos Hyde’s season is over and he fell just 12 yards short of reaching his goal of 1,000 yards rushing. The Pro Bowl second alternate needed 50 yards entering the game and he was held to just 38 yards on 13 rushing attempts.
The good news is his MCL tear will not require surgery and has no long-term effects that would carry over into the 2017 offseason. The immediate concern was that Hyde sustained a more-serious injury as the result of E.J. Gaines’ low hit that was timed just as Hyde was turning upfield after catching a short pass. It certainly could have been a lot worse.
3) 49ers got Gurley’s number
The 49ers have already given up more rushing yards than any team in franchise history. But Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley did not get in on the fun against the 49ers this season.
In the season-opener, Gurley managed just 47 yards on 17 attempts (2.8-yard average). The 49ers then surrendered seven consecutive 100-yard rushing games. In all, there have been 11 running backs who have gained more than 100 yards against the 49ers.
Gurley, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 draft, is not one of them. On Saturday, he had 67 yards on 23 attempts for a 2.9 average.
2) Kap’s comeback
Colin Kaepernick threw a first-quarter interception. Hyde lost a fourth-quarter fumble. In between, the 49ers had seven consecutive possessions end with punts. So there was no indication the 49ers’ offense was on the verge of an explosion.
Kaepernick’s time with the 49ers might be coming to an end. The organization drafted him in 2011. The next year, he was the quarterback of a Super Bowl team. This might have been his last great moment. And it was thoroughly entertaining.
Kaepernick ran for a 13-yard touchdown. He hit Rod Streater on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Then, Kaepernick kept the ball on a run-pass option and flew into the end zone for the winning points on a two-point conversion with 31 seconds remaining.
1) No longer atop the draft
The previously winless Cleveland Browns broke into the win column before the 49ers’ game began. That development put the 49ers in line for the No. 1 overall pick. If the 49ers lost their final two games, San Francisco would've had the first crack to select Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett, the presumptive top selection in the draft.
But it was clear none of the players or coaches wanted anything to do with being the worst team in the NFL and securing the top draft pick. When Kaepernick scored on the two-point conversion, the 49ers’ sideline erupted in joy. And Robinson’s game-sealing interception set off a celebration that was even-more wild.
The 49ers’ postgame locker room, for the first time in more than 3 ½ months, was a place where there were smiles all around. And nobody was talking about the 49ers' draft spot.