49ers' Thomas baffled by call on Wilson's controversial slide originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson drew a critical unnecessary roughness call late in the fourth quarter of a 37-27 win over the 49ers on Sunday, and it didn't take long for an injured 49er to sound off on the decision.
Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, who is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, tweeted Sunday that 49ers safety Jimmie Ward had little choice but to hit Wilson when it wasn't clear the quarterback was trying to slide.
What do you do in that situation????? Cmon.....
— Solomon Thomas (@SollyThomas90) November 2, 2020
Here is the play in question:
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) November 2, 2020
Thomas was by no means alone in his assessment, as many reporters and analysts argued on Twitter that Wilson baited Ward into the hit.
Russell Wilson totally baited that personal foul penalty. What is the defender supposed to do? Wilson faked like he was going to slide and then kept going so the defender went to tackle him.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 2, 2020
If Russell Wilson wants the protection of a sliding QB that’s given himself up, he should be required to make it plainly obvious that’s what he’s doing. The added fake and last-second slide essentially baits Jimmie Ward into initiating a tackle. #49ers #SFvsSEA pic.twitter.com/ggKUpNQjwh
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) November 2, 2020
Your leveraging a rule that is already too punitive in defensive players and you’re doing it purposely. It’s so cynical.
— Cian (@Cianaf) November 2, 2020
Wilson put Jimmie Ward into an impossible situation. If he's "giving himself up," he needs to actually give himself up and not fake
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) November 2, 2020
Let's be clear, that was a messed-up slide by Wilson.
— Stephen Cohen (@scohenSEA) November 2, 2020
The NFL's 2020 rulebook says that "[if] a defender has already committed himself, and the contact is unavoidable, it is not a foul unless the defender makes forcible contact into the head or neck area of the runner ... or commits some other act that is unnecessary roughness." It also says a runner must start his slide "before contact by a defensive player is imminent." Unnecessary roughness can be called when a defender "[runs], [dives into] or [throws] the body against or on a runner ... who has slid."
After Ward was called for unnecessary roughness, the Seahawks moved to the 12-yard line with a fresh set of four downs. Seattle put the game out of reach when Deejay Dallas rushed for a one-yard touchdown, and a made extra point gave the Seahawks a 37-20 lead with 3:33 remaining.
Had Ward not been flagged, Seattle would've faced third-and-2 from the 24-yard line. The Seahawks were in four-down territory regardless, and the 49ers still would've faced (at minimum) a 10-point deficit with fewer than five minutes remaining. Whether or not backup QB Nick Mullens -- playing for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo -- could've led a comeback, the Seahawks scoring soon after the call on Ward all but ended any (faint) remaining hope for the 49ers.