San Francisco 49ers fans were prepared to start the manhunt for Super Bowl head referee Jerome Boger and his staff following the team's 34-31 loss to the Ravens. And while much and more has been made of non-calls like the fourth-and-goal pass to Michael Crabtree, there is another play that fans should be focusing on.
When Jacoby Jones returned the second half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, 49ers fullback Bruce Miller appeared to be occupied by two blockers, a situation that rarely draws a holding penalty. Further inspection reveals that No. 50 and No. 51 on the Ravens each latched on to 49ers' No. 49 for close to 35 yards of Jones' return.
The 6-foot-2, 248-pound Miller first enters the screen after Jones crosses the 10-yard line, already occupied by 6-foor-1, 225-pound special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo (No. 51) and 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker Albert McClellan (No. 50).
Ten yards later, Jones makes a cut to his right, directly through the gap that was Miller's responsibility. But Ayanbadejo, with his right arm around Miller's back, has the edge sealed, and together with McClellan lifting Miller by his shoulder pads, the two Ravens lift the 49er off the ground.
As Jones hits the hole to Miller's left, the fullback attempts to disengage from his block and make the tackle, but his turn away from the double block was stopped by McClellan's handful of jersey, which exposed Miller's pads below.
With Jones off to the races and crossing the 45-yard line, Ayanbadejo and McClellan can still be seen engaging Miller, nearly 10 yards downfield from where they originally made contact.
As 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh says, "Would've, could've, should've is undefeated." What's your take?