SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Last time out: 49ers 19, Rams 16 (OT)
Final record: 5-11 overall, 1-5 in division
Snapshot: Phil Dawson kicked a 23-yard field goal late in overtime as the 49ers ended a rough season on a positive note. The defense kept the Rams off the scoreboard throughout the second half and overtime.
Notable: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert finished the game 28-of-44 for 354 yards with a touchdown and an interception as he makes his case to compete for the starting job next year. Running back DuJuan Harris had 67 rushing yards and 86 receiving yards in the win.
Quotable: "I got a group of guys here, players that just won a football game. They've been through a very tough season. They've stuck together. They went and won a game in overtime. They fought like crazy. And today is about those players. My job status, anything going forward there, can be handled throughout the rest of the week,” – 49ers coach Jim Tomsula, who was fired a few hours later.
Season synopsis: The 49ers were expected to regress after a rash of retirements and free agent defections, but it was still worse than predicted. San Francisco was one of the worst teams in the NFL and while there are some nice pieces, the team is clearly in a rebuilding state. The 49ers first must find a coach and then decide what to do at the quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick struggled for much of the season before getting benched, and then had season-ending surgery. Questions abound for this franchise, which just two years ago made a third consecutive NFC championship game appearance.
Last time out: Seahawks 36, Cardinals 6
Record: 10-6 overall, 3-3 in division
Snapshot: The Seahawks jumped out to a 30-6 lead at intermission and cruised to the win. Quarterback Russell Wilson finished 19-of-28 for 197 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, continuing the white hot end to his season. Third-string running back Christine Michael finished with 17 carries for 102 yards.
Notable: Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett set a franchise record with 139 punt return yards, doing it all in the first half. Seattle enters the postseason with six wins in its final seven games as it aims to make it to the Super Bowl for a third straight season.
Quotable: “They should be concerned,” – cornerback Richard Sherman, when asked about Cardinals fans being concerned about seeing Seattle in the playoffs.
Next up: The Seahawks will travel to play the Vikings in the NFC wild card round.
Season synopsis: The Seahawks started slowly again this season, blowing a plethora of fourth-quarter leads during a 4-5 start. They seem to be peaking at the right time, but the poor first portion of the season combined with the Cardinals’ stellar play throughout meant the loss of the NFC West title. That forces Seattle into a wild card position for the playoffs, making it much tougher to reach the Super Bowl. If the Seahawks get there, they may have to beat the Vikings, Panthers and Cardinals all on the road. The team did allow the fewest points in the NFL for the fourth year in a row and Wilson is playing at a high level, so Seattle can’t be counted out.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Last time out: 49ers 19, Rams 16 (OT)
Final record: 7-9 overall, 4-2 in division
Snapshot: The Rams had their three-game winning streak snapped in the finale as they failed to reach .500 on the year. Greg Zuerlein had a 48-yard field goal attempt in overtime that was blocked, setting up San Francisco to secure the win.
Notable: Quarterback Case Keenum was only 22-of-37 for 231 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions as the offense failed to move the ball consistently. Starting running back Tre Mason averaged 2.4 yards per carry in place of the injured Todd Gurley. Defensive end Chris Long registered the Rams’ only sack of the game.
Quotable: “It really wasn’t about getting to 8-8. Our goal this season was bigger than 8-8,”-- Long, after the team logged its fourth straight losing season under coach Jeff Fisher.
Season synopsis: St. Louis had playoff hopes entering the season and started the year 4-3, but a lack of offensive punch sank them again. Quarterback Nick Foles finished with a quarterback rating of 69.0 before getting benched, and Keenum didn’t impress, either. Gurley is a rookie of the year candidate and should be an offensive focal point moving forward, but like the past several seasons, the Rams won’t be able to make a jump without a better passing game. The defense is solid, but not dominant enough to overcome the lack of scoring. There is a lot of talk about the Rams possibly moving to Los Angeles, which will dominate discussion of the organization this offseason.