A magnificent season was shat upon yesterday when the 49ers met the Cardinals. Alex Smith was sacked five times by the Cardinals defense which prevented San Francisco’s offense from building and sustaining any momentum. Smith had 175 passing yards on 18 completions in 37 attempts, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Frank Gore rushed for 72 yards and ran in the only 49er touchdown of the game. A game where Alex Smith passes 37 times and Frank Gore runs 10 times is not a good one for the Niners. And while our defense had a 19-7 lead to work with in the third quarter, they simply could not shut down the combination Skelton and Fitzgerald. Damn, damn, damn.
If all that were not enough, the officiating was horrendous. Whistles were blown more times than I can recall, each time followed by the announcement that there was “no foul on the field,” a Cardinal was called for “roughing the passer” after he was shoved and scrapped Smith’s foot on the way to the ground, and then there was the shittiest call of the day:
Second quarter with the Niners leading 6-0, Akers lined up for the field goal on a fourth and 7 from the Cardinal’s 32-year line. Andy Lee, the ball holder, took the snap and rolled right on a fake. Center Jonathan Goodwin ran a corner route and made a spectacular catch. The the whistles blew.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt threw his red flag to challenge the previous play and did so after the completed pass and after the whistles blew range. Referee Alberto Riveron decided Whisenhunt threw flag before the snap of the ball. HE WAS WRONG, and every replay showed the completed pass, then the flag, then the whistle. Shitty doesn’t begin to describe the call.
Seeing and hearing what everyone in the statdium and watching on TV saw nd heard, Harbaugh disputed Riveron’s decision to blow the play dead. Teams are allowed to challenge only before the next snap of the ball. The ball was snapped BEFORE Whisenhunt threw the flag.
In one of the most FUBAR situation I’ve seen, Riveron never ruled on the challenge. He said there was some sort of an equipment malfunction! An equipment malfunction? Really? I saw the series of events from at least 5 different angles while Riveron was sticking his thumb up his ass!
Of course, Akers then missed the 50-yard attempt, and the Cardinals took over at the 40-yard line. On the next play Skelton hit Early Doucet for a 60-yard touchdown.
Now, I am not saying the shitty officiating caused the 49ers to lose; the 49ers didn’t need any help in that area. They had lots of opportunities to score and couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. That’s on them. The Cardinals won because they outplayed the Niners.
But the officiating stunk up the game. Officials should be fined every time they blow the whistle only to announce there is no foul on the play, and if they miss what everyone in the world can see and hear, they ought to be tossed out of the game.