There was a rather odd play on Sunday in the third quarter of the San Francisco 49ers 12-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. With 12:20 left in the quarter, Daniel Kilgore hiked the ball to Brian Hoyer, but the whistle attempted to blow the play dead. However, Frank Clark kept on going and got a big hit on Hoyer. If you can’t see the video above, click here.
Kyle Shanahan managed to get a timeout called right before the play started. He likely saw something in the Seahawks coverage that he didn’t like. After the game, Brian Hoyer and Joe Staley were both not happy that Clark was not flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Shortly after the game, Joe Staley was pretty heated about the lack of a call (via Niners Wire).
“The (referee) was blowing the whistle for like five seconds. I saw him (motioning) with his hands, so I stopped,” said Staley. “Then the guy killed the quarterback. Then I was screaming, ‘Dude, that’s unnecessary roughness. What the hell is that?’”
In his post-game press conference, Hoyer said, “you’d like to think that they would keep him from hitting you when they blow the whistle, but didn’t.” When asked about Staley’s comments, he said, “I think everybody heard the whistle.”
I went back to watch and listen to the video, and each time, I see two things:
1. As soon as the ball is hiked, Staley slowly gets out of his crouch like he thinks the play was blown dead.
2. I don’t actually hear a loud whistle until Clark is well past Staley and Matt Breida is going to block him in front of Hoyer. I do hear what seems like maybe a fainter whistle slightly before that.
We’re not down on the field, so we can’t know for certain exactly when the referees blew the whistle. Staley said the referees excused Clark’s play, saying it was so loud you can’t hear the whistles, but Staley told them, “I blatantly heard it for like three seconds.” At one point it looks like Clark hesitates on his pass rush, but that might just be his move to get around Breida.
What do you make of this? It was a big hit, so I get being pissed off, but when do you first hear a whistle? When I initially watched and listened, it appeared to be after Clark was approaching Breida. Upon several attempts to listen to it again, I think I’m picking something else up, but I don’t know if that’s just in my head. And without being on the field during the play, it’s hard to know for sure.