This article is a tough one to write. The sting from the loss yesterday has only gotten worse. It feels like waking up on Christmas morning only to find all your presents have been stolen. It feels like going to an all you can eat buffet and finding out it is the vegetarian only day. It’s like, OK you get it. It hurts like hell. So I have decided to do two write-ups for this game review. This first one will be my take on the game as a fan. It will be filled with subjective arguments. I will post a writeup later today that takes a more objective approach to what went wrong. So lets get this over with.
The referees won the game, not the 49ers. The first half was filled with penalties (and a lack of them for the 49ers). The first bad call was an unnecessary roughness called on Mike Mitchell’s hit on Vernon Davis. The ball was deflected and therefore it was legal to make a hit on the the receiver (Joe Buck described it as a “terrible call”) It gave the 49ers a first down and led to 3 points they should not have had.
The next terrible call was a “headbutting” penalty committed by Captain Munnerlyn. Review clearly showed it was not a headbutt. Players talk trash like that all the time. I’ve seen it happen thousands of times this season and yet I have never seen it called a penalty. To make it even worse, the same ref who made the first headbutting call refused to penalize Anquan Boldin for an even more forceful headbutt committed right in front of him! Rather than back the Niners up 15 yards they were allowed to keep driving and eventually score a touchdown before the end of the half. Now on the play Vernon Davis scored the touchdown, the 49ers had 12 men in the huddle. That is an illegal formation and an automatic 5 yard penalty. Rather than throw the flag, the referee simply told the player to get off the field. That is about as blatantly bad as it can get. The 49ers were allowed to keep 20 yards on that drive. So after all these terrible calls in the first half the score was Carolina 10, referees 13.
The Panthers wanted to play physical, but they simply were not allowed to. It got in their heads. The 49ers were allowed to play as physical as they wanted and that gave them the edge defensively. This has to be one of the worst displays of officiating I have ever seen. Completely inconsistent. These guys are payed good money to make the right calls. It is the playoffs and these are supposed to be the best referees in the NFL, yet it did not look that way. The only call I could agree with in the first half was the pass interference that set the 49ers up on the Panthers 1 yard line.
The second half was more consistent and the 49ers simply outplayed the Panthers. I believe they should have had 13 less points leaving the game tied going into regulation but that is not the case. The game will be remembered as a 49ers beatdown. ESPN refused to show any of the calls, simply continuing their bandwagonning of the 49ers. To top it all off, one of the writers for Golden Gate Sports had the audacity to complain on a clear helmet to helmet hit on Cam Newton. Like they didn’t get every single call all game. Golden Gate Sports is a great site but I have to disagree completely with the article posted by Phil Watson.
Well that was my biased take on the game. A more objective and comprehensive recap of the game will be posted shortly. I just needed to vent the frustrations I had with this game. It was clearly the Panthers against two teams in that first half, the 49ers and the officials. The 49ers got the benefit of the doubt simply because they were a more established team. It was shameful and a disgrace to football. Let both teams play physical. This is by no means meant to be taken as a serious analysis of the game, hence the biased approach.