Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan talked about the 49ers’ last-minute meltdown today on SIRIUS NFL Radio with hosts Adam Schein and John Riggins.
Schein: “What happened with the Niners at the end of the Monday night game? I mean, look, I was highly critical. John was highly critical. Everybody was highly critical. We could talk about the clock management. We could talk about the play selection. What did you see at the end of that game?”
Nolan: “Well, obviously, I’m not privy to the information on why they didn’t spike [the ball] to stop the clock. But outside of that, at the very end, which is taking some criticism, the one thing I did notice is everyone assumed, it looked to me, that the ball was going to be spotted at the half yard line. At least that’s what I thought San Francisco was thinking at the time. And watching TV I kept thinking to myself, ‘Now, guys,’ – because I was kind of pulling for them – I said, ‘Make sure you know exactly where that ball is.’ Well, anyway, as it turned out the play called was assumed that the ball was where it was. There’s one other factor, though, that I thought was, and I don’t know if the officials are going to talk about it, but that is when they do make that decision they walk up to the quarterback, and they say, ‘The ball is going to be at the two-and-a-half [yard line] and when I start the clock, it’s going to run. You’d better be ready to go.’ There’s not a lot of time in between there where they can get back and say, ‘Wait a minute, the ball is where? Well, let me change the play.’ It was a real fast operation once it came back on the field but outside of that, as we were talking about earlier, you should be prepared for all those situations. It’s unfortunate the way it came down for them, but you really have no one to blame it on but yourself. You can’t start pointing fingers everyplace else. You have to be ready for that stuff because you do practice it, and the Niners do practice it. When it happens like that you’re going to take criticism as we all do.”
Riggins: “I’m still confused because I saw that play ran again yesterday. The TV showed that a flag that had been thrown on the play preceding where they looked to see if he was down by contact. And it was never explained. Have you ever heard any follow up on that?”
Nolan: “Here’s what I’m going to say about that. I’m going to change it a little bit on you and I’m not going to answer your question but I want to say this. On the last two drives, you talked about last night’s game and how the two minute situation going down looked so methodical and everybody had their, it was just all very planned out. It looked good by all [standards]. It looked good by play call. It looked good by the other thing. Whether it was Arizona trying to keep the ball at the end of that game last week or the 49ers drive, there was more frantic kind of involved in that. And I don’t know if you sensed that same thing but it kind of was that way. And the other thing was there were flags on the field picked up [or] dropped. Last week’s game I’m talking about. I don’t know how many times I saw a flag on the field. I think there were two, it may be three times, I know two times where the flag was on the field, they picked it up [and] waved it off and said, ‘No flag,’ or didn’t talk about it like you said. So from officiating on down it was a little bit like everyone looking at each other saying, ‘What was that about? Wait a minute, how about that one? What about this?’ There’s a lot of questions in that, that were unanswered I guess you could say.”