Football Zebras™

Live blog: Saints at 49ers

NFC Divisional Playoff

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Saints-49ers game.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

The referee is John Parry. Full crew listings are at the bottom of this post.

Sat • 11:47 pm EST • Ben Austro

The recap, after the conclusion of the night game. Penalties: Saints had no enforced penalties (one was declined), 49ers were penalized 3 times for 33 yards, with 2 penalties declined. Replays: The Saints challenged a fumble which was overturned; the replay booth looked at a 49ers touchdown that was upheld.

Sat • 8:00 pm EST • Ben Austro

4th qtr | 2:18. Apparently, illegal substitution was under review for the touchdown.

Sat • 7:59 pm EST • Ben Austro

Despite the protests of 10 men in the huddle, the 49ers did have 12 men in the huddle. Alex Smith retreated from the huddle while another offensive substitute exited the field. The counting starts when the quarterback enters the huddle, and just because he exits the huddle, the penalty is still called.

Sat • 7:13 pm EST • Scott Diller

3rd Qtr | 1:42 Same goes for you, Mr. Williams. Strange that the 49ers would go right back to trying another pick on the play immediately after being called for it.

Sat • 7:10 pm EST • Scott Diller

3rd Qtr | 1:48 That’s a legal check in hockey, or pick in basketball, but not in the NFL, Mr. Ginn.

Sat • 6:58 pm EST • Ben Austro

3rd qtr | 6:40 On a 49ers backwards pass that hit the ground, head linesman Derick Bowers emphatically signaled for a backward pass. This was likely something that was discussed in the officials’ meetings this week after the two incidents from last week.

Sat • 6:54 pm EST • Ben Austro

3rd qtr | 8:43 Drew Brees signaled timeout before the snap (and before the expiration of the play clock), and the play resulted in an incomplete pass. It was a sloppy call to award the timeout after hearing an appeal from Saints coach Sean Payton. Yes, they should have granted the timeout, but they should have shut down the play.

Sat • 6:30 pm EST • Ben Austro

First half statistics. Penalties: Saints 0, 49ers 2 for 28 yards, including the questionable defensive pass interference early in the first quarter. Replay: One replay review reversed a Saints fumble.

Sat • 6:19 pm EST • Scott Diller

Also, Brees’ knee was not down, nor was he past the line of scrimmage.

Sat • 6:18 pm EST • Ben Austro

2nd qtr | :04 A quick shovel pass forward is still ruled an incomplete forward pass, not a fumble.

Sat • 6:07 pm EST • Ben Austro

Once they did call down-by-contact, it is no longer reviewable. But the right call was made on the field. Also, the contact in a down-by-contact call must come after the catch, not before.

Sat • 6:04 pm EST • Scott Diller

2nd Qtr | 1:49 Tarell Brown should be down by contact. Good call to conference and get the call right without the need for replay.

Sat • 5:33 pm EST • Ben Austro

2nd qtr | 12:22. A replay reversal on a catch by Saints receiver Darren Sproles. The initial ruling was that the ball was stripped from his possession prior to his knee touching, but the replay showed otherwise.

Sat • 5:28 pm EST • Scott Diller

First bad call of the game, though that early pass interference was close, too.

Sat • 5:27 pm EST • Scott Diller

2nd Qtr | 12:22 Sproles is clearly down by contact with control. This will be overturned.

Sat • 4:50 pm EST • Ben Austro

Also, there is no helmet-to-helmet contact, as Thomas is not in a defenseless posture. Video of the play:

Sat • 4:48 pm EST • Scott Diller

1st Qtr | 8:44 Pierre Thomas fumbled. Forward progress would only be called if the runner was wrapped up and being pushed backwards.

Sat • 4:42 pm EST • Scott Diller

1st Qtr | 11:34 Enough contact + head not turned around is pass interference on Whitner.

Sat • 4:31 pm EST • Ben Austro

Line judge Rusty Banes gets a postseason assignment in his first year of eligibility.

  • R — #132 John Parry (12th year, 5th as referee)
  • U — #64 Dan Ferrell (9th year)
  • HL — #74 Derick Bowers (9th year)
  • LJ — #59 Rusty Baynes (2nd year)
  • FJ — #3 Scott Edwards (13th year)
  • SJ — #7 Keith Washington (4th year)
  • BJ — #2 Billy Smith (18th year)*
  • Alternates — Mike Spanier (#90, LJ from Walt Coleman’s crew), Kirk Dornan (#6, BJ from Mike Carey’s crew)

*Smith is a substitute from Walt Anderson’s crew.

6 comments for “Live blog: Saints at 49ers

  1. Ross
    January 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Timeout request has to be made to an official. To which official did Brees make his request?

  2. Ben Austro
    January 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    The back judge saw it. If it is seen by the official, it is granted. Although the rule says “request for a timeout by the head coach or any player to any official,” I think that it would be exceedingly technical to not allow it unless eye contact is made with the official. Rather, the rule is properly read that the timeout is granted by the official, and not merely based upon the T signal.

  3. January 15, 2012 at 12:53 am

    on the Pierre Thomas fumble- even if he is not a defenseless opponent isn’t it a personal foul if the defender uses his helmet to initiate contact?

  4. Ben Austro
    January 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    the reason that an open-field runner is not counted is that (1) the runner who is under his own power can do things to induce a helmet-to-helmet hit (such as lower his head or turn), and (2) the runner also has the ability to avoid the contact and react to it. You can also, legally, blindside a runner as well, as long as there is no other unnecessary roughness on the play.

  5. ANNE
    January 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Why wasn’t a penalty (late hit or unsportsmanlike conduct) called when a SF 49er pushed Jed Collins after the play was over and he was getting up out of bounds?

  6. Ben Austro
    January 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Collins reached back and grabbed the facemask (not intentionally) and there was a push back. Side judge Keith Washington was quick to wave that off.

    Technically, both could have been called, but they are going to let small stuff like that go.