clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers vs. Seahawks: Jim Harbaugh declines penalty, Seattle covers

We break down the intriguing end to the 49ers game, which allowed Seattle to cover the point spread.

Brian Bahr

The 49ers won a wild and wooly 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, and the ending was a perfect cap to the evening. In a game where the spread was sitting at 7 or 7 1/2 points, depending on your casino of choice, a decision on a chop block penalty likely swung a lot of money in Las Vegas and around the gambling world.

The 49ers led 13-6 with less than a minute to play. The Seahawks had the ball at their own four and faced a 4th and 17. Russell Wilson dropped back into his own end zone and fired a pass to Ben Obomanu. Obomanu caught the pass incredibly close to first down yardage, but it was a little too close to tell, and was likely to be reviewed.

At the time of the pass, however, Paul McQuistan committed a chop block on Aldon Smith.


The chop block penalty would have resulted in a safety had the 49ers accepted. Coach Harbaugh had the option to decline the penalty if the completion to Obomanu was short of the first down mark. When the review ruled that it was short, Harbaugh declined the penalty and the two points. The 49ers took two knees and that was the game.

There were some questions why Coach Harbaugh would turn down the points. My guess is that he wanted to avoid potential injury on the ensuing safety kick. I believe the Seahawks could have gone for an onside kick as well. Given that the 49ers would have been up by two possessions, I am inclined to think the issue is more the former with injuries rather than the latter.

Whatever the case, money swing with that decision. If you had the seven points you got a push. However, if you had 7 1/2 points one way or the other, things swung wildly on that decision.