Football

Mike Pereira: 49ers robbed again by a game-changing call – and they’re not alone

Why Mike Pereira thinks 49ers, 'best 0-6 team in history,' are getting a raw deal

Mike Pereira, Fox Sports rules analyst and former NFL head of officiating, breaks down the pass interference call on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
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Mike Pereira, Fox Sports rules analyst and former NFL head of officiating, breaks down the pass interference call on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon.

Each week throughout the NFL season, Mike Pereira, the league’s former vice president of officiating, will answer readers’ questions about officiating and league rules.

To put your questions up to Pereira’s review, email them to askmike@sacbee.com and include your name and location in the submission.

Q: WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON OUT THERE?

– Vince Lombardi. The immortal coach was famously caught uttering the question during a Packers game in the 1960s, but it also works perfectly for Week 6 of the NFL.

A: Once this season is over, we may look at the just-completed Week 6 and say, “That was the week that was.”

Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone on a tackle I saw as legal. New York Jets fans felt their optimism dissipate after a controversial call that I do not agree with – at all. An incorrect offensive pass interference penalty once again took away a chance for the 49ers to win their first game. Two double-digit underdogs, Miami and the New York Giants, won.

The injury to Rodgers is really a killer. It’s bad for everybody including the Packers, the NFL and the networks.

There has been talk that Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr should have been called for roughing the passer. No way!

I disagree with Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy’s assessment that the hit was illegal and unnecessary. Rodgers was out of the pocket and on the run when he threw the pass. Therefore, he loses some of the rule protection that he gets in the pocket, such as not being hit in the knee area or not being hit after the defender takes two steps from the time the ball leaves his hand.

The hit wasn’t late and Barr didn’t lift Rodgers and drive him into the ground. It was a hard hit and Barr did land on top of Rodgers but, in my opinion, it was a legal tackle.

The Jets were hurt by a decision that overturned an Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown into a fumble and a touchback. The touchdown early in the fourth quarter would have cut the Patriots’ lead to three.

Was there enough clear and obvious evidence to overturn the call? It depends on whom you ask. Alberto Riveron, the senior vice president of officiating, feels adamant there was. The referee, Tony Corrente, said in his pool report to the media that it was obvious.

Yet Dean Blandino, who made those decisions last year, said there was not. The guy who was in charge of the officials before Blandino – that would be me – feels the same way.

Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball before it broke the plane of the end zone, but it appeared that he repossessed it, got a knee down in bounds before he landed out of bounds and he maintained control of the ball when he hit the ground. Could you tell for sure? No. But it was certainly not clear and obvious that he didn’t, and that the ruling of touchdown was wrong.

Then there are the hard-luck 49ers. Offensive pass interference on Pierre Garcon? The only possible penalty on that play was defensive pass interference.

Garcon was working his way upfield when a Redskins defensive back made contact with him as the pass is being thrown to Garcon. It is not a “pick.” When you pick a defender, you pick the guy covering another receiver and the pass is thrown to that receiver.

The 49ers have now been burned twice by OPI calls at the end of a game. There is just too much emphasis on OPI.

Better days are ahead for San Francisco. After all, the Dolphins beat the Falcons in Atlanta and the 0-5 Giants beat the Broncos in Denver.

So, to answer your question, Coach Lombardi, “HELL, I HAVE NO IDEA!”

Mike Pereira is a rules analyst for Fox Sports who lives in Sacramento.

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