Jim Harbaugh Blames Officials, But Poor Playcalling Doomed Niners on Final Drive
John Fennelly , Executive Editor
Jim Harbaugh can get emotional during games. We know that. But last night he acted like a spoiled child in front of the whole world when calls (especially on the final play from scrimmage) didn’t go in his favor.
Sometimes, he has a point. On the 49ers’ final play from scrimmage, there was a non-call on an incompletion that resulted in San Francisco turning the ball over on downs. Looked like a fairly clean exchange to me. Harbaugh didn’t think so, but then again, he didn’t have my angle.
His receiver, Michael Crabtree, was in a shoving match with Ravens CB Jimmy Smith and was slowed down in his effort to run a corner fade. Colin Kaepernick’s pass sailed over his head and out of bounds.
Let us remind Jim the line of scrimmage was the five yard line and Smith has the right to engage Crabtree within those five yards. The tussle carried past the five yards into the end zone, which would validate Harbaugh’s argument.
In reality, both players were providing contact and Crabtree actually pushed off on Smith to get to the pass, which appeared to be overthrown. Doesn’t look like he would have caught that pass under any circumstances.
Truth be told, the play calling was remiss on the final series. Three passes in a row to Crabtree inside the five when you have a strong inside runner such as Frank Gore on your roster? How about Kaepernick tucking it under one play and giving it a shot? Nope.
Then when the third forced pass to Crabtree failed, Harbaugh went wild after not getting a call on dual contact, which the officials ignored all night long.
Not to mention, Crabtree is the shorter of the Niners’ two wideouts. That play should have been called for the 6’4″ Randy Moss, who probably has run more corner fades than any WR in history.
Face it, Jim. You blew it. Don’t take it out on the refs.
Here are some of his comments after the game….
On the outcome of the game: “We want to handle this with class and grace. Had several opportunities in the game. Didn’t play our best game. Ravens made a lot of plays. Our guys battled back to get back in it. We competed and battled to win. Yes, there’s no question in my mind that there was a pass interference and then a hold on (Michael) Crabtree on the last one.”
On Colin Kaepernick’s game: “I think he was making good throws the entire game. There was one that got a little high. Again, in my opinion, that series should have continued.”
On the final minutes of the game: “Still haven’t gotten an explanation on the safety. It was obviously the intent of the Ravens to tackle and hold him, but not one holding flag came out. It’s a good scheme on their part to hold as many people as they can and you teach them just to tackle when you’re taking a safety like that, but not one holding penalty was called. I haven’t gotten an explanation. Again, I realize I’m on the side of the 49ers, I’m the coach of the 49ers. I probably have some bias there. In my mind, I thought it was obvious. That’s not the way they saw it.”
On what he said to John Harbaugh after the game: “Congratulations. And that I was proud of him.”
On what John Harbaugh said to him after the game: “I think the same thing.”
On why Frank Gore didn’t get the ball on the final four snaps: “We had other plays called.”