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Golden Nuggets: The worst call to go against the 49ers

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I felt like kicking my TV during a game from the 2013 season.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

NFL refs are far from perfect. They have cost every team in the league a win with an egregious call at some point in history.

Even with today’s technology, officials manage to bungle calls. No one expects the referees to be perfect, but they should be pretty damn close at this point. Can you imagine how many bad calls were made during the 80s and 90s without the advantage of replay?

Just like every other NFL squad, the San Francisco 49ers have been on the wrong side of a terrible ruling multiple times. Fansided’s Mike Phillips came up with the worst call against every team, and had this one for the Niners:

“The 49ers were bidding for a trip to the Super Bowl in 1983 and made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to tie the game. Washington got the aid of the refs at a key juncture in the fourth quarter when Lott was called for holding on a 3rd-and-5 from the San Francisco 13. Lott’s infraction was nowhere near the play and it enabled the Redskins to run out more clock before Mark Moseley kicked the go-ahead field goal with 40 seconds to go.”

The penalty against Lott wasn’t the only one that gave Washington a fresh set of downs. 49ers’ corner Eric Wright was flagged for a 27-yard pass interference infraction when the zebras said he impeded Washington receiver Art Monk from catching a ball that was over his head, and landed out of bounds, moving Washington up to the San Francisco 18-yard line.

Niners’ head coach Bill Walsh was livid after the game.

“It was a ball a 10-foot tall Boston Celtic couldn’t catch, let alone a receiver. [Washington’s] final drive was really a pair of penalties. Right now I’m a little bitter about the officials. It’s just too bad that a championship game’s decided by a call that close. I’d rather lose by (them) driving for a touchdown than on a call so close.”

Washington went on to beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 in the Super Bowl.

One terrible call from recent years that comes to mind is the 2013 game against the New Orleans Saints. The 6-3 49ers were on the road taking on the 7-2 Saints for a Week 11 matchup.

It was close the entire way —as the San Francisco-New Orleans games usually are— and the Niners led 20-17 with just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Saints took over on their own 28-yard line, putting together a nice drive to get to setup a 3rd-and-2 on the Niners 35 with just over three minutes left. Drew Brees dropped back, and 49ers’ linebacker Ahmad Brooks came and smoked him to cause a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Patrick Willis on the San Francisco 45. Of course, because it was Brees, the refs threw a flag on Brooks for roughing the passer, saying he made contact with the QB’s head. As we can see, that wasn’t the case:

New Orleans’ kicker Garret Hartley kicked a 42-yard field goal to tie the game at 20-20. Unfortunately, the San Francisco offense went three-and-out, giving Brees and the Saints offense enough time to drive down and kick the winning field goal with three seconds left on the clock.

If the refs don’t make that call, the Niners would have taken over with a three-point lead, and just over three minutes on the clock. If they hang on to win that game, the 49ers would’ve had home-field advantage through the playoffs. Instead of traveling to Seattle for the NFC Championship, the Seahawks would’ve made the trip to Candlestick Park.

Who knows what would have happened, but I do believe San Francisco wins at home, and goes on to beatdown the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

The refs didn’t do the 49ers any favors in the recent Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. I didn’t know it was completely legal to constantly hold defensive lineman, but maybe the NFL changed the rules prior to the game, and didn’t announce it.

What do you think is the worst call to go against the 49ers?


On to some links:

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have done a phenomenal job of turning the franchise around. A former legendary Niner tells NBC Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that he believes the team is in good hands with the Shanalynch calling the shots.

Speaking of Shanahan, he has been climbing up the NFL head coach rankings since taking over in 2017. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd weighed in with his thoughts, and clearly has tremendous respect for Shanahan’s abilities. (49ers Web Zone)

San Francisco is pretty much set at every position. Fansided’s Peter Panacy shares his list of three 49ers who have to exceed expectations next season in order for the team to win the ultimate prize.

49ers’ receiver Kendrick Bourne isn’t afraid to speak his mind. NBC Bay Area’s Josh Schrock highlight’s Bourne’s belief that rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk will be a big reason why the Niners can return to the Super Bowl.

Could former Niners’ QB Colin Kaepernick win a Nobel Peace Prize? The SF Chronicle’s Scott Ostler says if he does, it would be because he reached it by standing on big shoulders.

Marcell Harris did an OK job filling in at safety when starter Jaquiski Tartt went down with an injury. Fansided’s Rory Humphrey says Harris will have to have a strong showing at training camp in order to stay on the roster going into the 2020 season.