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49ers comeback victory comes with a price

First, the good news: The 49ers won 23-20 over the Rams in a game they absolutely needed to stay alive in the NFC West race.

It was a stirring victory. With the game on the line, Troy Smith converted a fourth-and-19 pass to Frank Gore and then hit Michael Crabtree for a 16-yard score to briefly take the lead with under three minutes left.

The 49ers won on a Joe Nedney field goal in the extra session after the 49ers defense stopped the Rams on a three-and-out. The 49ers are 3-6 and still two games behind the Seahawks.

Now, the bad news. Joe Staley suffered a fracture in his leg during the game, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Matt Maiocco of Comcast Bay Area says Staley will miss 4-6 weeks.

Smith’s protection was shaky on Sunday, as the Rams’ Chris Long almost won the game by himself. But Smith’s improvisational skills helped him throw for 356 yards and a touchdown on only 28 attempts.

Alex Smith isn’t likely to start again anytime soon.