That Week 17 play drew attention to the coaching advantages San Francisco seemed to enjoy so frequently last season. The play was also an embarrassing tactical defeat for a Rams' staff that had gone into survival mode amid a long list of injuries.
The tables turned Sunday when the Rams, led by new coach Jeff Fisher, fooled the Seahawks with a similar play. Punter Johnny Hekker, the Rams' field-goal holder, found Danny Amendola uncovered for a touchdown. Amendola had wandered toward the sideline between plays, just as the 49ers' Michael Crabtree had done against St. Louis last season. The play was legal because Amendola never left the field between plays.
Note, too, that the Rams drafted Hekker in part because Fisher liked the way Hekker threw the football. A few paragraphs from our camp coverage:
The Rams had played San Francisco tough through most of three quarters of their Week 17 game last season when 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree scored on a 14-yard reception from kicker David Akers. The 49ers won, 34-27. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was probably on his way out anyway, but if there had been any hope for him, that play had to kill it.
"It was just probably the lowest I've ever felt," Rams safety Quintin Mikell said this week. "I felt so bad for 'Spags' and I felt bad for the Rams' fans and I felt bad for everyone that was associated because that was just inexcusable at that point."
Sounds like the Rams plan to be on the other end of such plays.
They needed only four games to demonstrate how.