SAN FRANCISCO -- When St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher addressed his team after its 23-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, he pointed the finger at himself in large part because of a failed fake punt that allowed the game to get away early in the fourth quarter.
"I tried to provide a spark for them and I take responsibility for that," Fisher said. "It was probably unfair to them. We elected to try to steal a possession."
Fisher called for the trickery with 14:42 to play and his team backed up to its 22-yard line. The play design asked for a snap to safety Matt Giordano who was then charged with flipping the ball to receiver Stedman Bailey running a reverse in the opposite direction. The first part of the play went fine as Giordano got the snap but not much went right after that.
The Niners got good penetration and Giordano never got the ball to Bailey as he was dropped for a loss of 5 to the Rams' 17. The Niners scored on the next play to make it 23-6 and effectively put the game out of reach. Had Giordano been able to get the toss off, Fisher believes the play might have worked.
"It was there, we had the whole thing walled off but they got penetration," Fisher said. "We had some replacements up front, we felt like they understood what we were doing but there was too much penetration because he flips it to Sted coming back around and who knows? Maybe he’s still running."
Fisher explained the decision by saying he wanted to steal a possession and give his struggling offense a boost. In all honesty, taking blame for the call and saying it cost the team is admirable but it wasn't really such an awful idea considering the extent of the offense's struggles.
Now, the timing and certainly the location weren't ideal but remember the Rams converted two fake punts against San Francisco last year, including one from their own end zone. The blown fake clearly didn't help the Rams win this one but it also didn't lose it for them.
A roundup of Sunday's Rams stories appearing here on ESPN.com. … In this week's Rapid Reaction, we look at Sunday's loss to the Niners with some quick hit thoughts on the game. … Next, we revisited three things to watch in Sunday's game and how the Rams are in those key areas. … From there, it was a look at the Rams' playoff hopes vanishing in the San Francisco fog. … Finally, we took a look at how Sunday's loss showed the Rams still have a ways to go to be a legitimate contender in the NFC West.
Jim Basquil and Eric Allen break down Sunday's game.
At stltoday.com, Jeff Gordon hands out grades. Most of them not pretty.
Gordon also participated in a game day chat.
Jim Thomas and Joe Lyons offered running commentary on the Rams' loss.
CBSSports.com gives the Rams a passing grade. Barely.
Quick reaction from Turf Show Times on the Rams-Niners game.