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Fake punt kills St. Louis Rams this time around against 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO — The Rams thought it was a play that might get them back into the game. Instead, it wound up sealing their doom.

Trailing 16-6 early in the fourth quarter, St. Louis dialed up a fake punt from deep in its own territory. The 49ers were not fooled. They remembered being victimized by two fake punts in a 24-24 tie here a year ago.

“We figured something,” San Francisco's Anthony Dixon said. “It's the Rams. That's what they do. We were just on alert. Everybody was on high alert: 'Watch the fake, watch the fake.' ”

San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams


Matt Giordano, who used to play for the Raiders, took the snap as the upback and ran to his left. He was supposed to toss the ball to Stedman Bailey on a reverse, but never got the chance. The interior of the 49ers' line pushed the St. Louis blockers backward and disrupted the play. Head coach Jim Harbaugh said his special teams coordinator, Brad Seely, had his unit practice a very similar play on Thursday.

“I saw something try to go down, whether it was a fake or what,” Dixon said. “I didn't know what he was trying to do. I just know the punter didn't have it.”

He pounced on Giordano for a 5-yard loss, and the Niners took over at the Rams' 17. Colin

Kaepernick passed to tight end Vernon Davis for a touchdown on the next play.


Before last week's game at Washington, the same five men had started along the 49ers' offensive line for 26 consecutive games. That streak came to an end when left guard Mike Iupati sprained his MCL at New Orleans and missed the Redskins game. Iupati did not suit up against the Rams, either.

When it rains, it pours. On San Francisco's opening drive against St. Louis, left tackle Joe Staley went down with an injury. After the shuffling, long-time backup Joe Looney was at right guard, and usual right guard Alex Boone had moved to left tackle. Adam Snyder was filling in for Iupati at left guard.

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