Now he does, due to a rare sequence of events during the extra period that kept the two teams even.
The Rams had an 80-yard pass on the first play negated by an illegal formation penalty. Then stalwart David Akers missed a 41-yard field goal for the 49ers. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein made one from 53 yards, but that didn’t count because of a delay-of-game call. His next attempt from 58 yards was wide right.
By then, the anticlimactic ending seemed inevitable.
“Ties just don’t seem to make sense in football,” said Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who played in that previous draw in 2008. “There’s too much effort, too much sacrifice that goes into this game to end in a tie, that’s for sure.”
The 49ers (6-2-1) now have a hard-to-figure-out lead on the Seahawks (6-4) in the NFC West, which makes Sunday’s outcome all the more maddening.
“A division game? Oh, wow. I guess that could make it interesting at the end of the year,” Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker said.
Overtime was introduced at the college level in 1996, and there the teams trade possessions from the 25-yard line until there’s a winner. But the time when ties were permitted below the NFL was so long ago that current players never experienced that.
Denver safety Rahim Moore dug deep in his memory bank to Pop Warner ball to recall one.
“I believe we went triple overtime and we ended up winning and I don’t remember how it all went down,” Moore said. “It was like the 90s, so I forget. Also, I would say it was in the rain.”
Even the NHL has abolished ties, using a penalty shot competition after scoreless overtimes in a regular season game with mixed reviews. (Imagine the NFL switching to a punt-pass-kick contest to settle the score!)