Offensive coordinator Mike Martz took a brief break from his game-planning to face the Rams this week to explain what happened in the final hectic minute.
He discussed the confusion in the final minute and how he really didn’t learn what had actually occurred until he spoke on the phone this morning with former 49ers coach Mike Nolan.
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“There was a lot of confusion there at the time. The other thing that I wish had happened,” Martz said, “is that officials always come over and explain to you what’s going to happen based on what they saw on the replay. And for whatever reason they neglected to do that. That’s a courtesy that’s always afforded. Why they didn’t do that, I don’t know.
“We did not know the ball was going to be on the 3 1/2 (actually, the 2 1/2) or obviously we never would’ve called that play. We thought we were going to be given back time on the clock, and somewhere around the 1-yard line. The play gained two yards, so it’s a moot point whether it was the the 1 or 1 1/2. He would’ve scored.”
Q: Why did you think it was at the half-yard line? (The ball was spotted after Frank Gore’s run at the 1 1/2.)
Martz: That’s what I could see out there. From where I was standing . . . then they walked it off at the last second and said it’s going to start at the official’s whistle. I thought the quarterback did a great job because the back (Gore) was supposed to motion out on the play. And he wouldn’t have had time to motion out. He told him just to go ahead and line up out there.
“If they’d moved it back to the 10-yard line, we wouldn’t have had time to change the play. It wouldn’t have mattered. We had to run that play. So I thought that was unfortunate. We were trying to spike the ball. Had we been allowed to spike the ball, none of that would’ve happened. The clock was stopped and we could’ve gotten in the personnel we wanted. You can do a play you want.”
Q: Why not spike the ball with four seconds left?
Martz: I didn’t know it was the 3 1/2 until this morning. I didn’t know. I left the stadium thinking we didn’t make it from the 1 1/2 or 1 yard line. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t punch it in from the 1-yard line. I was upset with that. I couldn’t see from where I was.
Q: Shouldn’t the guys in the booth be feeding you that information?
Martz: “When they spot the ball (and wind the clock) and say, ‘You got to spike it, you got to spike it.’ There’s no headset on. With 15 seconds you can’t talk to the quarterback. What are you going to do.”
Q: At what point are you watching the film and realize where the ball really was?
Martz: “I got a call from Mike Nolan this morning and he knew exactly what happened. He’s the only one smart enough to look at the TV and he knew immediately. He’s the only one who really knows football well to know exactly what happened.”
Q: What did he say?
Martz: “He said, ‘You got victimized by the replay.’ Which is basically what happened. Because if we’d been allowed to get that spike . . . Just angry and frustrated with the way that whole thing developed. Nobody really to blame, other than a lack of communication.”
Q: Before that when Jason Hill was stopped at the 1-yard line. What happened there?
Martz: ”That was chaos that I created on the sideline. I did a bad job there. We were trying to spike it and I called a personnel change. And the personnel change went in when we were trying to spike it. There was a lot of confusion. I just went too fast with everything and created too much confusion. That’s my fault, more than anything else. And then poor Shaun (Hill) is standing there waiting for everybody to get off the field. It was just a bad job of coaching on my part. I knew what we wanted to do. I called out two different things at the same time and it all happened at the same time.
“I wanted to spike it and (then) get the personnel group in.” (The 49ers were trying to get their “tank” group on the field, which they use in goal-line situations.)
“I was excited. I knew we were going to score. I wanted to get the personnel group in quickly and we got this thing rolling. I screwed it up, basically.”
Q: Were you impressed with how Shaun Hill calmed things down?
Martz: “I love his demeanor in the game. I don’t like his mistakes. The one interception was just a very poor decision. The other interception he got fooled a little by the receiver. He was going one way and when he threw it, he took off going another way.”
The underhand shovel pass that was intercepted was Gore’s fault, Martz said. Gore broke a rule that Martz has when a quarterback is scrambling. Gore should have continued to run the direction he was going instead of going upfield.
Q: After the replay review, why did you think you’d get 12 seconds put back on the clock instead of :04?
Martz: “That’s what we were told over the headset from upstairs. We have some experts up there who are affiliated with that. And not to go any further about it, (we were told) you should be getting 12 seconds back on the clock and we didn’t get. Why we thought that, I don’t know.”
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