Jan 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the fourth quarter during the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers went on an incredible, improbable run to make the NFC Championship Game, but they’re surely kicking themselves after losing the game 20-17 to the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers had a 17-7 lead entering the fourth quarter, but they proceeded to make big mistakes — and blow great opportunities — on both sides of the ball to assist the Rams’ comeback and victory.

San Francisco’s three drives in the fourth quarter featured two punts and a game-sealing interception. And the 49ers’ usually-effective run game wasn’t able to do much of anything — 20 carries for 50 yards and no touchdowns in the game — against Aaron Donald and company, which prevented San Francisco from being able to at least chew clock and move the chains. That also forced quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to have to try to make more plays, which didn’t go well- especially on the final drive.

The biggest missed opportunity for the 49ers came when they had a 17-14 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining, and Los Angeles had the ball at its own 15-yard line. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford gifted an arm punt to San Francisco’s Jaquiski Tartt, and the safety flat-out dropped the ball.

And on the next play, Stafford connected with Odell Beckham Jr. for a 29-yard play, but 15 more yards were added on due to a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jimmie Ward.

Three minutes after the Tartt drop, the Rams tied the game on a Matt Gay field goal.

Tartt tweeted about the dropped interception after the game:

The Rams took a 20-17 lead on another Gay field goal with 1:46 remaining.

That still gave the 49ers time to tie the game or go 75 yards to win it (they also had one timeout remaining), but the ensuing “drive” was a disaster.

On first down, Garoppolo threw an incomplete pass.

On second down, Garoppolo threw a checkdown pass behind the line of scrimmage to Jauan Jennings that wasn’t at all worth it considering the time remaining and their field position. Even worse, it turned into a three-yard loss.

And on 3rd-and-13, well, yikes. Garoppolo tried to avoid being taken down by Donald for a sack and made a desperate toss that was picked off by Travin Howard for a game-sealing interception.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan also made a very questionable decision in the fourth quarter, choosing to punt on 4th-and-2 at the Los Angeles 45-yard line with 10 minutes remaining

Here’s how the football world reacted to the 49ers’ miscues:

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.