Saw Mad Max with the kids the other day, and Road Warriors (0-5) these guys aren’t. In a familiar turn though, the home 49er defense was stingy and tough as it rattled and shook (and was hosed by a shit call) and stuffed the vaunted AZ Cardinals offense. This one saw the defense make plays time and again, including an 8-play ‘drive’ from the 3 yard line punctuated by 3 (!) PI calls. The laundry was flying all over the place, and the Niners got their share of bad ones. They were pretty much legit, but my beef with those calls is Vance McDonald got called for offensive PI on a play that looked exactly like what Eric Reid got called for on Larry Fitzgerald.
Like the Chicago and AZ games last year, these calls played a big part in determining the outcome of the game. The worst however, was the roughing the passer penalty on Quinton Dial. On a clear shot where Dial led with his shoulder, he sacked Palmer. A typical straight ahead play. Alas, the laundry came out and dinged Dial. So, instead of 3rd and 18 from the AZ 24, it was 1st and 10 from the AZ 47. This lead to AZ keeping the ball for an extra 5 minutes, and the game-winning touchdown. On that same drive, Palmer clearly got the snap off after the play clock had expired, so the play should have been blown dead. Instead, he connected on a 34 yard pass down the middle to set up the Palmer score.
Sure, whining about the refs is all verboten and shit, but fuck that. The refs were atrocious. After a penalty on the Niners for 12 men on the field early in the game, it took the refs 6 minutes to determine the correct down as beleaguered ref Pete Morelli ran around putting on and taking off his headphones trying to figure out the down and the distance. As it was, they got it wrong. What should have been 1st and 5 from the 10 turned into 2nd and 3 from the 8. AZ lost a down and ended up kicking a FG. As Bruce Arians said, “I mean, they can’t count to three.”
The second FG by AZ was marred by another stupid display of ineptitude. On a pass where the AZ WR went OB and came back and caught the ball, a flag was thrown for illegal catch. The refs mistakenly gave AZ another down. It didn’t matter as they didn’t convert that one either, but things like down, distance, and basic penalty enforcement should be easy to figure out.
Throw in the bad roughing call, and the insane laundromat posse on the goal line, and you have a shit-fest. As is becoming more and more apparent, the refs and the league are ruining this sport with stupid rules (explain ‘football-move-after-a-catch’ to me again. 2 feet down, and getting hit OB, and the ground can STILL cause an incomplete pass?) and the random enforcement of PI, roughing, illegal use of hands, and many other penalties leaves me to think the refs and the league are looking to control some aspects of the game that should not be in their control.