SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Jim Tomsula kept the focus on his players until the very end, just as he has strived to do all season long.
Then, after smiling in his last news conference as 49ers head coach, he was fired less than 90 minutes later Sunday night.
Tomsula’s tenure ended after another lost season following a 19-16 overtime win against the St. Louis Rams, leaving San Francisco with a 5-11 record in Tomsula’s lone season.
“Jimmy has been a valuable member of the 49ers organization for the last nine years,” CEO Jed York said in a statement. “We all know he is a man of high character, and his contributions on the field and in our community have always been greatly appreciated. This entire organization is proud and grateful to have worked so closely alongside Jimmy. We all wish him and his family great success in the future.”
York was to meet with the media Monday morning.
The Niners missed the playoffs for the second straight season. They were 8-8 a year ago in then-coach Jim Harbaugh’s fourth season before his “mutual” parting with the franchise, as the team described it.
“I got a group of guys here, players that just won a football game,” Tomsula said. “They’ve been through a very tough season. They’ve stuck together. They went and won a game in overtime. They fought like crazy. And today is about those players.”
With the game on the line Sunday, Phil Dawson maintained his focus on making one more kick and nailed the winning field goal from 23 yards out for his fourth of the day.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher finished 7-9 for his fourth straight losing season running the team and called it “very disappointing.”
“We had numerous opportunities earlier in the year to win games, and we didn’t get it done,” he said. “I’m all right with being 4-2 in the division. I’m not all right with some of the other losses.”
Here are some things to take away from Sunday’s game:
SO LONG, ST. LOUIS?: For the Rams, this loss came after a week in the Northern California wine country between West Coast games – and now the biggest question facing the franchise: Will the team relocate to Los Angeles for next season?
“Until we know what’s going on, there’s no reason to discuss it,” Fisher said. “You just wait it out and see what happens. I’ve been through this before.”
ZUERLEIN MISFIRES: Greg Zuerlein missed two big field goals, including having one blocked in overtime that would have won the game.
Dontae Johnson swatted Zuerlein’s 48-yard field goal attempt in OT. The kicker also saw a 52-yarder said wide right with 1:13 left in the third.
“Any time you don’t go up and convert and do your job, you’re not going to be happy about it,” Zuerlein said.
Case Keenum went 22 of 37 for 231 yards as St. Louis had its three-game winning streak snapped with the Rams trying for four consecutive victories for the first time since seven straight in 2003.
The Rams failed to score after halftime.
“Heartbreakers like that are tough,” Keenum said. “It’s the last game of the season, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And now we’re going to have that taste in our mouth the rest of the (year).”
BOWMAN’S YEAR: 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman finished his comeback season with 154 tackles, proving plenty to himself and the league.
He missed the entire 2014 season after surgery for a devastating left knee injury suffered in the NFC championship game at Seattle in January 2014.
“It meant a lot. To get out there and move the way I was moving prior to the injury and receive the respect I’ve received from players throughout the league continued to motivate me and drive me,” Bowman said. “I didn’t get down on the missed tackles that I made. I had several missed tackles this year where I felt I could have made them but I didn’t. Guys were still pushing me and saying that I was doing a good job. All of those things continue to drive me to fight throughout the year.”
ANOTHER SEARCH: The 49ers go into another offseason of uncertainty.
Two years, two head coaches named Jim out for the once-proud franchise.
“I’m always comfortable with the direction,” said Bowman, also noting how much he loved Tomsula. “I trust the 49ers operation and I’m always going to give it 110 percent every time I step on the field.”
GABBERT FINALE: Blaine Gabbert passed for 354 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin as the 49ers avoided their worst finish since going 4-12 in 2005.
He was promoted in November in place of Colin Kaepernick, who wound up injured and needing surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.
LEVI’S TURNOVER: The NFL was to assume operational control of Levi’s Stadium on Monday in preparations for next month’s Super Bowl.
The field will soon be replaced, likely this week.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.