While we continue to lose our minds over the 49ers losing Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter for the rest of the season, I thought I'd take a few minutes to look back at a play that proved slightly important, and also provided a few laughs.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the 49ers leading the Saints 28-21, San Francisco put together a strong 16-play, 85 yard drive that ended with a field goal. The Saints still had a good chunk of time left to try and come back, but that kind of lengthy drive was critical in giving the defense some time to rest, and keeping Drew Brees & Co. off the field.
The drive almost ended up without any points on an end zone pass from Colin Kaepernick to Randy Moss. The pass appeared to be a fade to Randy Moss, but it seemed to be underthrown. Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins had turned and was reaching for the ball when this happened:
As you can see, Moss used his right arm to basically drag down Jenkins. He was not called for pass interference on the play and it is no surprise that Malcolm Jenkins is just a little bit livid. Had Jenkins tipped the ball before the contact it would have been clearly legal, but in watching this GIF over and over again, I am still surprised the ref didn't make the call. He is on the right just before the end zone marker and he doesn't throw the flag. Some kind of Jordan rules, right? Even Michael Irvin thought this was pass interference!
Obviously I am plenty pleased the call was not made, but even if it had been made, I'm not sure it necessarily would have been a big deal. Offensive PI is a ten yard penalty. The 49ers would have had 2nd and 15 from the 15-yard line (unless it's spot of the foul, but I don't think so). Had they attempted two unsuccessful plays, it would have been a 33-yard field goal. David Akers has struggled at times this year, but more often than not it has been 40+ field goals, as opposed to chip shots. More likely than not, the 49ers still make the field goal.
It was a bad throw by Colin Kaepernick, but this is one more example of the value having a veteran receiver like Randy Moss on the team. I'm curious how many times a wide receiver will make that kind of play, even with the situation in their favor to do so?