Once again, the referees have decided to grab some headlines during a Green Bay Packers game. Many fans saw it, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman pointed it out, but unfortunately, it did not matter. The referees missed a call and it cost the Packers points. With that being said, the incorrect call cannot be used as an excuse for Green Bay’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.
The Packers stopped the 49ers’ drive in the second quarter. Fans rejoiced as their team had just forced a field goal attempt instead of allowing San Francisco to score another touchdown. Unfortunately, linebacker Clay Matthews changed all of that when he put a late hit on quarterback Colin Kaepernick after the signal caller was well out of bounds.
The play sparked a skirmish that broke out between the two teams, something that was bound to happen at some point during the contest. The good news for Green Bay was that San Francisco offensive tackle Joe Staley got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for engaging with Matthews. The offsetting penalties would force the 49ers to kick the field goal after all. Instead, the referees screwed up by allowing San Francisco to replay the down even though it had already been played, with the penalties occurring afterwards.
“The down should have counted,” referee Bill Leavy said, according to USA Today Sports. “The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down.”
The unfortunate mistake allowed Kaepernick the chance to throw a 10-yard touchdown pass on the very next play, which changed the dynamic of the game.
As angry as fans were after the loss, it is unfair to blame the defeat solely on the referee’s mistake. The Packers’ two turnovers were huge plays that swung the momentum in favor of the 49ers. Not to mention, allowing Kaepernick to toss 412 passing yards is unacceptable. There is no question the referee’s blunder was costly, but there were numerous reasons why Green Bay did not come out victorious.