VIDEO: Remembering When the 49ers Fooled the Rams on This Perfect Fake Field Goal

Tristan Jung
Michael Crabtree scored one of the easiest touchdowns of his career on a fake field goal.
Michael Crabtree scored one of the easiest touchdowns of his career on a fake field goal. / YouTube/Anh & Sports

Fake field goals are had to pull off, especially at the NFL level. If you fail, you've given up a chance at three points and likely given your opponent good field position. That makes any attempt at a fake field goal contingent on perfect execution.

On New Year's Day 2012, the San Francisco 49ers pulled off one of the best trick plays in recent memory against the St. Louis Rams. With the 49ers up 20-10 and lining up to kick a field goal from fourth-and-7 in the third quarter, they pulled out the "Sleeper" play, which resulted in an instant touchdown.

How did this play work? You can't see in the video, but 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree had been hanging near the sideline since the previous play. The Rams, too focused on the field goal, didn't notice that Crabtree was eligible. With the Rams asleep, kicker David Akers took the snap and lobbed the ball to Crabtree, who was wide open.

At this time, the Rams under Jeff Fisher were known for their own fake punts and trick plays, so it was surprising that they completely missed Crabtree on the sideline. Perhaps, the Rams' staff thought 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't risk a fake field goal from that position.

The play turned out to make a big difference in the game, as the Rams were thus unable to come back in the fourth quarter. The 49ers would ultimately win, 34-27, and clinch a first-round bye in the NFL Playoffs, where they would later lose to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.

Opposing coaching staffs would remain vigilant against this play going forward, but at least the 49ers got to use it once.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.