Niners had 155 seconds to get consider possibilities, get organized

The 49ers would have had 40 seconds to get things together for that final play of Monday’s game if Shaun Hill’s spike with :02 remaining had counted after Frank Gore’s failed run at the goal line. (He was tackled with :15 on the game clock.)

But two seconds before Hill killed the clock, the whistle blew. Referee Tony Corrente immediately announced that the play was going under review. This entire episode gave the 49ers an additional 2 minutes, 35 seconds before they had to run the next play.


That should have been plenty of time for interim coach Mike Singletary, offensive coordinator Mike Martz and the 49ers’ staff upstairs to go through the possible scenarios to get ready for the next play.


The officials appeared to spot the ball at the 1-yard line after getting ready for the next play in the immediate aftermath of Gore’s attempt on the previous play.


Thirty-two seconds after stopping the play to announce it was going under review, Corrente announced that the play was being reviewed to see “if the runner was down by contact.”


A full minute later, Singletary is seen speaking with line judge John Hussey on the field about what was happening. Shaun Hill is over there, too.


Then, 2:08 after the play was stopped, Corrente announces that Gore was down at the 2 1/2 yard line and that the game clock would be reset to :04 and it would start “on my signal.” The time was reset to :04 because that’s when the whistle blew to signal the replay challenge – initiated from replay official David Coleman in the booth.


The coaches on the 49ers sideline said they never heard that explanation. Martz said he did not find out the ball was moved to the 2 ½ until he spoke with Mike Nolan the next morning.


Eighteen seconds after Corrente made the announcement,  the 49ers were at the line of scrimmage ready to run the play. Corrente is seen telling Hill exactly what’s going on. Hill then conveys that message to center Eric Heitmann.


When the 49ers snapped the ball, it was after a break in action of 2 minutes and 35 seconds – plenty of time to prepare for any possibility. The coaches in the 49ers’ replay booth should have been able to anticipate the 49ers would’ve had the ball at the 2 1/2 yard line.


One thing to remember is that the 49ers were out of timeouts, yet they had an opportunity to take advantage of an extended timeout while the play was being reviewed.


It would have been unfair to the Cardinals for the 49ers to be able to run a play with the game on the line from the 1-yard line. The officials ultimately got that part of the play correct. The 49ers, in essence, were asking for additional time to think about a play call from the 2 ½-yard line. Wouldn’t that have been unfair to the Cardinals to give the 49ers even more time to consider the possibilities?


And as for Martz’s assertion that Robinson gained 2 yards on the play, that is incorrect. The play started at the 2 1/2 yard line. It appears as if he did not quite make it to the 1-yard line.


Here’s the official statement from the NFL Office in New York:


“At the end of (Monday night’s) game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, there was a replay review with four seconds remaining in the game to determine if 49ers running back Frank Gore was down by contact or had scored a touchdown. The replay review stopped the game clock and nullified the attempt by the 49ers to spike the ball after Gore’s run.


“The replay review determined that the runner was down by contact at the two-and-a-half yard line. Referee Tony Corrente followed normal procedures by announcing on his microphone where the ball would be spotted (at the 2 1/2-yard line) and that the clock would start on his signal. The officials then reset the ball at the line of scrimmage and Corrente reminded the quarterback that the clock would begin on his signal. He then made sure the quarterback had time to get under center before signaling for play to resume.”


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