NFL admits costly penalty against 49ers was wrong call
A roughing the passer flag helped Seattle beat San Francisco Sunday. According to the NFL’s head of officiating, it shouldn’t have been called.
The NFL has admitted a controversial roughing the passer penalty that helped the Seattle Seahawks pull away from the San Francisco 49ers Sunday should not have been called. In a Monday morning appearance on NFL Network, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said 49ers’ linebacker Nick Moody should not have penalized for his fourth-quarter hit on Russell Wilson.
Trailing 10-7 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the game, the 49ers appeared to have made a critical third-down stop on their own 15-yard line and forced a Seattle field goal. But referee Ed Hochuli pulled out the yellow laundry on Moody, who collided with Wilson’s chest just after the pass was released. The personal foul set the Seahawks up with a first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, and two plays later, Wilson found Paul Richardson in the end zone to push the score to 17-7, the final margin of victory.
Moody’s hit was clearly not late, but Hochuli ruled that he had illegally led with the crown of his helmet. Blandino said Monday that was not the case.
“It’s close, but when you look at it on tape, Moody’s head is up, he hits with more the side or the facemask to the body of the quarterback. So in our review, with the ability to look at it in slow motion, it is not a foul.”
Hochuli, whose crew has called the fourth most penalties in the league, explained his reasoning after the game.
“I felt that he hit the quarterback in the chest with the hairline, and that’s a foul unless he has his face completely up and would hit it face on with the face mask. It’s a foul, and that’s why I called it,” Hochuli said. “The facemask, after you hit him, the facemask comes up. But the first thing that hit him was the hairline of the helmet.”
The problem with that explanation is that from Hochuli’s position behind Wilson, it’s hard to see how he had a clear vantage point of the hit.
Ed Hochuli’s vantage point for roughing call he made, and defended pic.twitter.com/fWBPmy0rDC
— Tre9er (@Tre9er) December 15, 2014
“Certainly, if he doesn’t see the whole action we don’t want him to throw the flag, and Ed was getting into position, and he saw him — or what he thought he saw, ducking the head and making the contact,” Blandino said. “He wouldn’t throw the flag if he didn’t see it, but it obviously happened quick at full speed, and he didn’t have the benefit of the slow-motion replay that we all do after the fact.”