The officiating crew botched two calls during the 49ers-Packers game on Sunday after a scuffle broke out. One of those calls gave the 49ers an extra chance to score a touchdown -- and they did.
The confusion started when Packers linebacker Clay Matthews' delivered a late hit on San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick after the quarterback ran out of bounds a yard short of the first-down marker on a 3rd-and-6 play in the second quarter. The late tackle sparked a shoving-match between both teams on the sideline. The officials called a personal foul on Matthews and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on San Francisco's Joe Staley after he rushed over to defend his teammate. Claiming that the penalties were offsetting, the refs ruled that the 49ers would have to re-do their play on 3rd and six.
As former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira, pointed out on Twitter, this was the wrong call.
Back to the SF/GB melee, QB #7 was short of the first down. Dead ball fouls offset. Should have been 4th and 2. Might have cost GB 4 points.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 8, 2013
With a re-do on 3rd down, Kaepernick fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, giving the Niners to an early 14-7 lead. After San Francisco hung on to win 34-28, referee Bill Leavy admitted that he incorrectly gave the 49ers an extra down after the play.
"The down should have counted," Leavy said after the game, via USA Today Sports. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down."
Hours after the game ended, the NFL reviewed the play and pointed out another mistake the officials made. The league determined that Staley should never have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, per ProFootballTalk. So, as Michael David Smith explains, if the officials had made the correct calls then it would have been first-and-goal for San Francisco inside Green Bay's 5-yard line.
Do two wrongs make a right?