NFL players often admit to making mistakes. Coaches usually take the blame when they make a poor decision. The officiating crew from San Francisco’s home game against the Green Bay Packers believed they were wrong. Meanwhile, the league office pointed out a second officiating error this morning.
49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick scrambled to the left on third-and-6 with only a few second remaining before halftime. Kapernick ran out of bounds, but that is when linebacker Clay Matthews went airborne and tackled the quarterback from behind. Matthews was penalized for a personal foul for that hit.
San Francisco tackle Joe Staley immediately defended his quarterback and retaliated on Matthews. Staley received an unsportmanlike penalty for his reaction.
Those penalties should have resulted in fourth-and-short because of the dead-ball penalties that occurred after the play was over. However, the referees incorrectly decided to replay the third-down. As a result, Kaepernick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.
NFL referee Bill Leavy admitted he made a mistake after the game, according to USA Today.
"The down should have counted," Leavy told a pool reporter after the game. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds And it would have been fourth down."
However, the league office reviewed the film and determined Staley should not have penalized for his reaction, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Instead, there were two incorrect calls on one play.
If the officials did not penalize Staley, and avoided replaying the third-down, San Francisco would have faced first-down on Green Bay's 3-yard line after Matthews' hit.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked about replaying that third-down after his team’s 34-28 loss, and he refrained from blaming the officials.
“Yes. I mean, I’m aware of it now,” McCarthy told the Green Bay Press-Gazette “That’s part of the game. The ball doesn’t always bounce your way.”
McCarthy is probably more concerned about Kapernick being able to shred his defense once again.
Green Bay spent this offseason trying to improve defensively after Kapernick eliminated the Packers from last year’s playoffs, and the quarterback threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, plus added 22 rushing yards, in the season opener.
In addition, Matthews made a mental mistake by drawing the penalty.
“First off, it wasn’t a very smart play,” Matthews said. “I had already committed to hitting the quarterback, and I guess I should have figured he was going to step out of bounds It was nothing personal I went up to him later and was joking around with him. Not a very smart play.”