SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 27: Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a pass over William James #41 of the Detroit Lions during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 27, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
The officiating crew for Super Bowl XLVII used their flags quite sparingly down the stretch, which many believe helped the Baltimore Ravens hold on to beat the San Francisco 49ers. On what turned out to be the Niners’ last drive of the game, Jim Harbaugh felt that the Ravens got away with pass interference on two plays.
The first came on 2nd-and-goal, when Colin Kaepernick rolled to the right and tried to hit Michael Crabtree near the sideline. Baltimore cornerback Corey Graham appeared to jump on Crabtree’s back to break up the play, and it looked as though he may have gotten there early. It was a bang-bang play that could have gone either way and there was no call.
Then on 4th-and-goal, it seemed a bit more obvious that the Ravens got some help from the refs. Baltimore sent several blitzers on the play, forcing Kaepernick to just float a pass toward Crabtree in the back right corner of the end zone. As you can see from the video above, it appeared that Jimmy Smith held him while the ball was in the air.
“Yes, there’s no question in my mind that there was a pass interference,” Harbaugh said, via SI.com, “and then a hold on Crabtree on that last one.”
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks agreed.
“The guy was holding Crabtree,” he said. “The officials called it as if it was a regular play and didn’t throw the flag. I think if anybody has seen it on film, they would say it’s pass interference.”
For starters, no official wants to throw a flag on 4th-and-goal in the Super Bowl. While I do believe there was pass interference, it takes a lot of guts to throw the flag that’s going to affect the outcome of the game. Most refs are hesitant to do that in that situation. Also, the way the play transpired with Kaepernick seemingly crossing his fingers and throwing the ball up probably made the ref less inclined to call anything.
The bottom line is the Niners’ did not play well enough defensively to win. They came back in the second half yet again, but it was too late after a certain somebody got torched multiple times in the first half. They simply didn’t make enough plays.
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