NFL: Foolish finish for 49ers
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Upon further review, 49ers coach Mike Singletary simply wishes the officials had given him more information more quickly in the final seconds of San Francisco’s heartbreaking loss at Arizona.
Communications lapses among the officiating crew, the 49ers’ coaching staff and the San Francisco players were responsible for the ugly end to a riveting game Monday night: Michael Robinson’s ineffective attempt to run the ball in from the 21/2-yard line on what turned out to be the final play in San Francisco’s 29-24 defeat.
Although Singletary accepted all the blame Tuesday, he also wished the officials had made it clear they were moving the ball back 2 yards after video review on Frank Gore’s run on the previous play. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz called a fullback draw that’s designed to get only about a yard ó which is about how far the 49ers thought they had to go.
“No one came to our sideline to say the ball was going to be moved,” Singletary said. “Someone should do that. There should be some people ó we shouldn’t have to stand over there and see the ball is being moved while everything is going on, because we’re trying to make the correct (play) call.”
Right before Robinson’s run, Gore stumbled and fell on a run around the end before dragging himself into the end zone. The play required a video review to determine whether Gore had been down by contact. The officials determined former 49ers defensive lineman Chike Okeafor had knocked Gore off balance, and they also decided Gore was down 2 yards farther from the line than the initial spot.
Singletary said nobody told the San Francisco sideline about the changed spot. He couldn’t understand why so much time was allowed to come off the clock after Gore’s play was reviewed, with just four seconds remaining when play resumed ó and he also didn’t know why officials restarted the game when the ball was ready for play, and not at the whistle.
“The only thing I’d like to have happen as a result of this game, all over the league, is for … one official to go to one sideline, and one official should come to our sideline and say, ‘This is the scenario, this is what’s happening,”‘ Singletary said. “Because we have no idea. We have no clue what’s going on. The referee is standing out in the middle of the field and says whatever he’s saying, but you can’t hear it on the sideline.”
The result of all that confusion was a haphazard run by Robinson while Gore improbably was used as a decoy on the biggest play of the night.