His players may have complained about the officiating after being penalized for 107 yards in Arizona, but Jim Harbaugh tried his best to steer clear of the blame game during his Monday press conference.
“In terms of officiating, we never point any finger of blame or make excuses in terms of the officiating,” he said. “Sometimes the football gods can be unforgiving. And I say gods with a small 'g.' But you work to fix it, and I'm confident we'll do that.”
The team's MVP from last season, receiver, Anquan Boldin, certainly didn't hesitate to point fingers at the officials. He noted that the penalties in the last two games have been lopsided – 26 to the 49ers and 15 for their opponents.
“The amount of calls that have gone against us and the amount of calls that we’ve gotten hasn’t been close,” Boldin said Sunday night in the visiting locker room. “Every week, it’s the same thing – send the tape in, the NFL just reports back, ‘We made a mistake.’ But at the same time, the crap cost us another game.”
Even Harbaugh couldn't quite stay neutral on the topic.
The critical drive for the Cardinals came one possession after Arizona had cut the lead to 14-13 in the third quarter. First, outside linebacker Dan Skuta was called for an illegal hit on quarterback Drew Stanton. On the next play, Patrick Willis was called for the same infraction, even though his hit on the quarterback seemed legal.
The penalty moved the ball to the San Francisco 25-yard line and drew animated protests from Willis and his fellow 49ers defenders.
“It looked like his face was up,” Harbaugh said Monday. “It looked like he was making a tackle (in which he) was seeing what he hit.”
Harbaugh noted that the 49ers were 1-2 after three weeks last year. They went on a five-game winning streak before their bye week. The 49ers have four games before this year's bye.
“There are ebbs and flows to the season,” he said. “We're in one of those right now.”
One silver lining from Sunday: The 49ers did not appear to suffer any more serious injuries. Defensive end Ray McDonald left the game in the fourth quarter with a dislocated finger. Meanwhile, Harbaugh said he was optimistic Vernon Davis would be back after missing the Arizona game with an ankle injury.
Davis has missed some or all of four games since Harbaugh became coach in 2011. The 49ers are 0-4 in those contests.