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Jerry Rice says 49ers should have gone for it on 4th-and-2 in NFC championship

The greatest receiver in NFL history wanted the San Francisco 49ers to be more aggressive in the NFC championship. Rice questioned the 49ers' decision to punt on a crucial 4th-and-2 late in the contest, saying, "You gotta go for it."

Rice spoke about that game — and a number of other topics — with Jared Quay of Yahoo Sports. Rice wasn't too keen to talk about the NFC championship at first, but quickly aired a complaint about the contest.

"You just hurt me, big time," Rice said. "Because here I am, I'm cheering for these Niners and I'm thinking, 'OK, we got a legitimate chance.' That 4th down and 2, it's a little suspect for me. I think you gotta go for that."

Rice also brought up the dropped interception by safety Jaquiski Tartt. Following the contest, Tartt said he deserved all the criticism for dropping an easy interception in the fourth quarter of the 20-17 loss.

After that, Rice got back to harping on the 4th-and-2 play.

"I never like to point the finger anywhere, because there are so many opportunities during the game and you have to capitalize off those opportunities," Rice explained. "But, it's just that, I feel that 4th-and-2, you gotta go for it."

Rams beat 49ers in NFC championship

The play in question occurred in the fourth quarter with the 49ers up by 3 points. With roughly 10 minutes to play, the 49ers decided to punt on a 4th-and-2 from the Rams' 46-yard line. Coach Kyle Shanahan actually sent his offense back on the field for the fourth-down play, but allowed the clock to run down to give his punter more room.

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That decision nearly worked out. On the next drive, Tartt dropped an interception that hit him right in the hands. The Rams eventually drove down the field and kicked a game-tying field goal. They then hit another field goal late in the contest to pull ahead. Jimmy Garoppolo tossed an interception on the 49ers' final drive, sealing the win for Los Angeles.

Jerry Rice at a 49ers game.
Jerry Rice wanted the 49ers to be more aggessive against the Rams. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)