Every classic game comes with controversy and at least one head-scratcher. Sunday night in Seattle certainly wasn't an outlier.
While 49ers and Seattle Seahawks fans held their breath as San Francisco's rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw stopped tight end Jacob Hollister at the half-yard line with nine seconds left, Hollister was part of another controversial call -- well, no-call -- one play before.
On third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tried to hit Hollister in the end zone, but he was swarmed in coverage by 49ers linebacker Fred Warner. Seattle was begging for pass interference, but no flag was thrown and the booth didn't review the play.
Apparently former NFL head coach Tony Dungy believes there should have been a flag, too. But 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was having none of that on Monday morning.
So now you want to allow the WR to initiate contact... Push off from the defender and get the P.I. Yea that sounds about right. 👍🏾 https://t.co/Rt8x3wQike— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) December 30, 2019
NBC Sports Northwest's Joe Fann also chimed in on Twitter, saying "It's a fair point by Sherm. I still think there's enough there to review it beyond the time the play clock allows. Again, that call isn't why Seattle lost the game. Not even close."
Sherman responded to the Seahawks Insider.
They reviewed it. Made the exact point I made. If he doesn’t initiate contact he wouldn’t have been in that predicament— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) December 30, 2019
When watching the play in full speed, you can see that Hollister does lower himself and initially make contact right away with Warner to try and create separation.
This is like the Crabtree play in the SuperBowl. The Tight End initiated the contact. Like dude.. YOU ran into the LB to push off and created space.. and couldn’t.. and you want a flag? No pic.twitter.com/mAvdCvyaoX— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) December 30, 2019
That's exactly what the NFL saw, too.
“Well, we actually looked at it here in New York,” NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron told pool reporter Tim Booth of The Seattle Times. “We had a great look. NBC gives us a great look of the entire route. So, we actually did perform a review, but based on what we saw, we didn’t see enough to stop the game. But we did review it.
"What we see is, we see the offensive player come in and initiate contact on the defensive player -- nothing that rises to the level of a foul which significantly hinders the defender, nothing that is clear and obvious through visual evidence, which hinders the defender. The defender then braces himself.
"And there is contact by the defender on the receiver. Again, nothing which rises to the level of a foul based on visual evidence. Nothing happens that rises to the level of a foul while the ball is in the air before it gets there by either player.”
The 49ers wound up winning 26-21 to take home the NFC West crown and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Seahawks fans can clamor all they want on Twitter, but the officials clearly saw more than a screen shot.
These two teams also could meet up again in two weeks for a wild end to an entertaining trilogy if Seattle beats the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.