Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, December 26, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Rams 25, 49ers 17

By Mike Sando

Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 25-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers:

What it means: The Rams eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention and rendered the Seattle Seahawks' game against Tampa Bay meaningless in the NFC West race. The winner of the Week 17 game between Seattle and St. Louis will emerge as the NFC West champion. The 49ers can finish no better than 6-10. It's a huge upset if coach Mike Singletary keeps his job.

What I liked: The most talented players for both teams made big plays. Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford responded when the Rams put the game in his hands in the second half. Rams receiver Danny Amendola provided an 84-yard kickoff return when St. Louis needed a boost. Chris Long, the second player chosen in the 2008 draft, came through for the Rams with a fumble-forcing sack when the Rams were trying to protect their late lead. Teammate Fred Robbins recovered. The 49ers' Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr. and Patrick Willis -- all high draft choices when they entered the league -- made huge plays. The team with the best quarterback prevailed even though the 49ers had far more firepower at the skill positions, particularly on the perimeter.

What I didn't like: Singletary engaged one of his quarterbacks in another sideline shouting match. Troy Smith fought back, yelling into Singletary's face near the bench area. Singletary simply doesn't know how to handle quarterbacks.

Tomorrow's talker: Who should the 49ers hire as their next head coach? It's a foregone conclusion the team will make a change. Can the 49ers land a big-name coach to give them credibility, steadier leadership and a better shot at securing a new stadium down the line?

Big revelation: Bradford found a way to squeeze a few decisive plays from a supporting cast without enough talent. For example, he scrambled hard to his right and threw back across his body for Laurent Robinson in the end zone. Bradford showed athletic ability, poise and accuracy on the play. The Rams had bogged down on offense in recent weeks. This performance marked a significant step forward for the first player chosen in the 2010 draft. Bradford completed 28 of 37 passes for 292 yards, one touchdown and a 107.0 rating.

What's next: The Rams visit Seattle in Week 17. The 49ers finish their season at home against Arizona.