NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino admitted referee Ed Hochuli should not have called a roughing the passer penalty late in Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. 49ers linebacker Nick Moody was called for roughing the passer for a hit on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on a third-down play in the fourth quarter.
Blandino made the comments during a Monday appearance on NFL Network.
49ers linebacker Nick Moody was called for roughing the passer for a hit on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on a third-down play in the fourth quarter. Instead of settling for a field goal, the Seahawks got a first down and scored a touchdown to make it a two-possession game.
Blandino said replay showed the wrong call was made, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk.
“It’s close, but when you look at it on tape, Moody’s head is up, he hits with more the side or the facemask to the body of the quarterback. So in our review, with the ability to look at it in slow motion, it is not a foul,” Blandino said.
“Certainly, if he doesn’t see the whole action we don’t want him to throw the flag, and Ed was getting into position, and he saw him — or what he thought he saw, ducking the head and making the contact. He wouldn’t throw the flag if he didn’t see it, but it obviously happened quick at full speed, and he didn’t have the benefit of the slow-motion replay that we all do after the fact."
After the game, Hochuli explained why he called the penalty.
“I felt that he hit the quarterback in the chest with the hairline, and that’s a foul unless he has his face completely up and would hit it face on with the facemask. It’s a foul, and that’s why I called it,” Hochuli said. “I felt that he hit him with the hairline. The facemask, after you hit him, the facemask comes up. But the first thing that hit him was the hairline of the helmet. ... That is still a foul when you hit the quarterback with that part of your head.”
The loss dropped the 49ers to 7-7 and eliminated them from playoff contention. It is the first time in four seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh that the team hasn't reached the NFC Championship game.
The Seahawks improved to 10-4 and are one game behind the Arizona Cardinals in the AFC West. The Seahawks and Cardinals play on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
- Josh Sanchez