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49ers clinch playoff berth with stunning 27-24 overtime victory over Rams

Despite Mathew Stafford's recent struggles, Chris Simms believes the Los Angeles Rams will continue to play well and win a close game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers’ playoff hopes were hanging by a thread late in Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Los Angeles held a 24-17 lead with 1:11 left in the contest, as the 49ers got the ball back at their own 12-yard line with no timeouts.

But that’s when Jimmy Garoppolo went into action and brought the team back, leading the club to a 27-24 overtime victory.

Garoppolo made several big-time throws late in regulation, starting the drive with a 21-yard completion to receiver Brandon Aiyuk. A couple of plays later, Garoppolo hit receiver Deebo Samuel over the middle for a 43-yard gain down to the Los Angles 19-yard line.

Two plays after that, Garoppolo hit receiver Jauan Jennings for a 14-yard touchdown that tied the game and set up overtime.

On the first possession of overtime, Garoppolo hit another big play on third-and-6 to Jennings, this bringing the 49ers all the way down to the L.A. 24. But the 49ers couldn’t get into the end zone, settling for a Robbie Gould 24-yard field goal with 2:45 left in the game.

The Rams had a chance to respond, but with two minutes left in the contest, quarterback Matthew Stafford was intercepted by rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas on a deep pass intended for receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

That pick punched the 49ers playoff spot, as San Francisco needed to win or tie to get in. As the No. 6 seed, the 49ers will head to Dallas to play the Cowboys next week.

Even though the Rams lost, it wasn’t all bad news, as the club actually clinched the NFC West in overtime when the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks. But with the loss, Los Angeles fell to the No. 4 seed, which means the club will host Arizona at SoFi Stadium next week.

The Rams got off to a 17-0 start on Sunday, with tight end Tyler Higbee catching a pair of touchdown passes. But the 49ers scored 17 straight points to tie the game late in the third quarter.

Receiver Cooper Kupp caught a 4-yard touchdown to give L.A. its 24-17 lead with 2:29 in the fourth quarter. But the defense couldn’t hold it.

Garoppolo finished the game 23-of-32 for 316 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. But Deebo Samuel was the star for San Francisco, catching four passes for 95 yards, taking eight carries for 45 yards with a touchdown, and throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

On the other side, Stafford finished 21-of-32 for 238 yards with three touchdowns and a pair of picks. Kupp finished just shy of a pair of single-season NFL records, catching seven passes for 117 yards.

While the Rams clinched their third NFC West title in five seasons under head coach Sean McVay, they also lost for the first time under McVay when holding a halftime lead.

The 49ers have now won six consecutive games over the Rams.