49ers’ Phil Dawson Attempts Rare Free Kick in Final Seconds of First Half (GIF)

The first half of Thursday night’s 49ers-Rams game concluded with one of the most seldom seen plays in football — a free kick. 

The Niners fair caught a St. Louis punt at their own 39-yard line with enough time left in the second quarter to run one play. Instead of taking a knee or trying for a Hail Mary into the end zone, coach Jim Harbaugh elected to evoke the obscure rule that allows a team to attempt an unopposed field goal from the spot of any fair catch. 

A missed kick automatically turns the ball over to the other team, however, making this a rather undesirable option under most circumstances. Entering the game, San Francisco hadn’t attempted one since 1989, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Mike Maiocco.

No NFL kicker has successfully converted a free kick since Ray Wersching did so in 1976, and Phil Dawson failed to break that drought on Thursday, pulling his 71-yard attempt wide left. 

Check it out in the GIF below, courtesy of SB Nation

phil dawson