San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks called a foul on the officials after his team lost to the New Orleans Saints on a last-second field goal on Sunday. Brooks was fuming over a key penalty whistled against him after delivering a hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
"I didn’t hit him with my hand or my helmet. I basically bear-hugged him. That’s just how football is played," Brooks said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think this s*** is bull****. Football, the way they call stuff these days, it’s watered down. It ain’t real no more.”
Trailing 20-17 and facing 3rd and 2 with 3:20 left in the game, Brees took a shotgun snap and dropped back to San Francisco's 45-yard line. Brooks got around the offensive line and nailed Brees with his outstretched right arm, forcing a fumble. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis recovered the ball, but the officials called a personal foul on Brooks for making "contact to the neck of the quarterback." Instead of giving the 49ers a chance to seal the win, the penalty negated the turnover and gave the Saints another opportunity to rally in the final minutes.
The penalty led to a game-tying field goal by New Orleans' Garrett Hartley. The Saints went on to win with another field goal from Hartley on the last play of the game.
Following New Orleans' victory, an unnamed league source told ProFootballTalk that the officials made the "absolutely correct call" on Brooks.
The NFL rulebook states (Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9, C) that refs will be "alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area."
Later in the locker room, Brooks suggested that the officials might have favored New Orleans.
"It was at home," Brooks told the Chronicle. "It was Drew Brees. And maybe the officials were for the New Orleans Saints a little bit more than the 49ers. I think it’s B.S., man."