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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Just prior to the 49ers’ first touchdown of the game, TV replays clearly showed the 49ers had 12 players in the huddle.
Referee Carl Cheffers said after the game that he saw the same thing the FOX cameras showed the entire country. But he said he had not yet marked the ball ready for play, so there was no penalty.
With 37 seconds remaining in the half and the 49ers with possession at the Carolina Panthers’ 1-yard line, offensive linemen Adam Snyder and Daniel Kilgore reported as eligible receivers. Tight end Vance McDonald was also in the huddle before running off the field.
Cheffers told a pool reporter that he was going through the process of announcing the linemen were eligible.
“I saw the player (McDonald) come off, but I had not yet marked the ball ready for play, so that is why I did not call it as a foul,” Cheffers said. “The ball was not in play, yet. That’s why I didn’t call the foul on the play.”
If Cheffers had called the 49ers for 12 men in the huddle, the 49ers would've been backed up 5 yards for a first and goal at the 6-yard line.
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From the 1-yard line, 49ers running back Frank Gore was stopped for no gain on first down. Then, the 49ers got to the line of scrimmage and ran another play which resulted in Colin Kaepernick’s 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis with :05 remaining in the half.
The touchdown gave the 49ers a 13-10 lead at halftime. The 49ers held the Panthers scoreless in the second half for a 23-10 victory.