Garoppolo, 49ers eliminate Rams from playoffs with late drive

Jimmy Garoppolo converted a pair of third-and-16s in the final two minutes to set up Robbie Gould for a 33-yard, final-play field goal Saturday night, giving the host San Francisco 49ers a dramatic 34-31 victory that eliminated the Los Angeles Rams from postseason contention.

Gould’s kick capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive and pushed the 49ers (12-3) a half-game ahead of Seattle (11-3) for the NFC West lead and the inside track to top seeding in the NFC playoffs.

The win also capped a season-series sweep for the 49ers over the Rams, after they won 20-7 in Los Angeles in Week 6. The Rams (8-7), the defending NFC champions, needed to win out and have Minnesota lose out in order to reach the postseason.

The 49ers, who were coming off a home loss to Atlanta, took possession of the ball for their final drive after the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein had nailed a game-tying, 52-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining.

After hitting Kendrick Bourne for 18 yards on third-and-16 from their own 19-yard line, Garoppolo and the 49ers faced the same distance three plays later at their own 31 with 58 seconds left. Garoppolo lofted a 46-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders, advancing San Francisco into field-goal position at the Los Angeles 23.

After two runs, the 49ers called their final timeout with three seconds left, setting the stage for Gould’s game-winner.

Garoppolo finished 16-for-27 for 248 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to George Kittle from 7 yards out that gave San Francisco a 31-28 lead, before Zuerlein’s game-tying kick. Garoppolo had two passes picked off.

Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert scored on runs for the 49ers, while linebacker Fred Warner had the other touchdown, a 46-yard interception return in the third quarter that put San Francisco ahead 24-21 after facing a 21-10 deficit.

Jared Goff threw TD passes of 10 yards to Brandin Cooks in the first quarter and 22 yards to Cooper Kupp in the third. Todd Gurley got Los Angeles’ other two touchdowns on runs of 5 and 1 yards.

Goff threw for 323 yards with one interception, going 27 of 46.

Los Angeles had the game’s top two pass-catchers, with wideout Robert Woods gaining 117 yards on eight catches, while tight end Tyler Higbee was good for 104 yards on nine catches.

The 49ers’ Mostert was the game’s leading rusher with 53 yards on 11 carries in a game that featured 35 combined points in the second quarter.

Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)