The San Francisco 49ers dropped a 23-14 decision to the Arizona Cardinals, and while the 49ers shot themselves in the foot with some stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, blown coverage, and poor offensive execution in the second half, they did not get any help from the officials. A week after the 49ers were called for 16 penalties, they accrued 9 penalties for 107 yards.
Some of these penalties were deserving, but several were questionable at best. And wide receiver Anquan Boldin was none too pleased about it. Boldin spoke to the media after the game, and he was not shy in his comments. Matt Maiocco has the full run-down, but here are a few highlights:
For me, it's been obvious the last two weeks the amount of calls that have gone against us and the amount of calls that we've gotten. It hasn't been close. And every week it's the same thing. You send the tape in, and the NFL just reports back, 'We made a mistake.' But at the same time, the crap is costing us games. At some point they need to be held accountable.
The most notable penalties were the roughing penalties on Dan Skuta and Patrick Willis. Skuta went at a diving Drew Stanton, but Skuta began his tackle before Stanton had fully gone into the slide. I believe Willis's roughing penalty was for something similar to Quinton Dial last week, although I can't recall the specific wording of the official for Willis's penalty. Both were incredibly questionable in the context of each player.
At first glance, people might question Boldin criticizing officials given his personal foul for head-butting Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson. After a big catch to set up first and goal, Boldin butted his head against Jefferson's helmet. It wasn't hard enough to knock him over, but it was enough for the official to notice and throw a flag that changed the complexion of the drive.
After the game, Boldin said that he had repeatedly told the officials Jefferson was "taking shots at me the whole game." I don't really know what that means, but he said he told the refs this three times, and they never did anything. He said the ref told him he would look for it, but the only call was Boldin's retaliation. Boldin admitted it was stupid. And frustration was clearly visible on this team. That being said, given the pattern of horrific officiating, I am not at all surprised a player would react that way. It does not make it any less poor a penalty, but it helps to get an idea of what Boldin was thinking on the play. And
I would not be surprised to hear Boldin receiving a Fed Ex package from the league docking his pay. I'd be curious to see how the NFL handles this. We hear criticisms of officiating, but this is the most intense comment I've heard in some time. And really, it's rightfully so. He will be fined, and the NFL will continue on with their crappy officiating. Some have suggested it is retaliation for the 49ers not punishing Ray McDonald, but I don't buy that. I don't buy into conspiracies, but I do buy into crappy, inconsistent officiating. That is the easiest explanation. The refs suck. Others will look more into it, I'll stick with basic incompetence.