49ers

Richard Sherman rips those wanting pass interference in 49ers-Seahawks

Richard Sherman rips those wanting pass interference in 49ers-Seahawks

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. 

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.

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.

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.”

[RELATED: Carroll saw 49ers PI on crucial play, irked refs missed it]

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.

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers are well-equipped to trade first-round pick

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AP

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers are well-equipped to trade first-round pick

The 49ers are set to pick twice in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, but that doesn’t mean they will.

San Francisco has seven picks in this year’s draft: Two in the first, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. The 49ers wouldn’t pick anywhere between the No. 31 and No. 156 overall picks.

NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah thinks the 49ers’ second first-round pick is a trade possibility, given San Francisco’s mid-round picks and the potential for a team to trade into the first round and draft quarterback.

“[It’s] not gonna be the 49ers making that pick,” Jeremiah said Tuesday on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” (H/T 49ers Web Zone), “but the 49ers trying to collect some picks they don't have in those middle rounds. I could definitely see that being a trade-up spot for some of those teams in Round 2 who want to get that extra year on the contract, come up to 31 and get your quarterback there."

Jeremiah said four QB prospects are surefire first-rounders: LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Bryce Love. All it would take for the 49ers to trade the No. 31 overall selection, then, is one team interested enough in a quarterback such as Washington’s Jacob Eason or Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts to make a deal.

The 2018 draft offers some precedent for the package the 49ers could receive. The Baltimore Ravens traded a second-round pick (No. 52 overall), a fourth (No. 125) and a 2019 second-round pick (No. 53) to select future NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.

[RELATED: 49ers favored to repeat as NFC, division champions in 2020]

That’s not to say Eason, Hurts or any other QB in the draft will reach Jackson's level, who fell to the end of the first round despite winning the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in his decorated college career. The 49ers, however, likely would be able to recoup multiple picks if they traded out of the first round.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch wouldn’t have the flexibility to do so had they not traded dominant defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this month. They acquired the No. 13 overall pick in exchange, setting them up to accumulate more draft picks if Jeremiah’s prediction holds true.

NFL odds: 49ers favorites to repeat as NFC West, conference champions

NFL odds: 49ers favorites to repeat as NFC West, conference champions

If you're expecting the 49ers to be a one-year wonder, you're in the minority.

San Francisco arguably was the NFL's biggest surprise last season, as the Niners improved by nine wins and were one fourth-quarter collapse shy of defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. The team's offseason priority has been to retain as much of its core as possible, and while there have been a few notable departures -- none larger than DeForest Buckner being traded to the Indianapolis Colts -- the 49ers have been mostly successful in that endeavor.

And, consequently, the betting public hasn't lowered its expectations for San Francisco in 2020.

Within the NFC West, the 49ers (6/5) currently are significant favorites to repeat as division champions, according to FoxBet. San Francisco is followed, in order, by the Seattle Seahawks (11/5), Los Angeles Rams (16/5) and Arizona Cardinals (10/1).

Should the 49ers win the NFC West in 2020, it would mark the first time they've won the division in consecutive seasons since 2013, the last of San Francisco's three straight trips to the NFC Championship Game.

While it's a narrower margin, the 49ers are favorites to get back there, too.

FoxBet currently lists the 49ers as 24/5 favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV, closely followed by the New Orleans Saints (11/2). The Dallas Cowboys (15/2) and Philadelphia Eagles (8/1) fall next in line, while Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9/1) have the fifth-best odds in the conference.

[RELATED: Sanders picked Saints over 49ers, Packers in free agency]

It makes plenty of sense why so much is expected of both San Francisco and New Orleans, given how strong both teams were last season and their respective developments since. The 49ers might have snuck up on some opponents last year, but you can be sure that won't be happening this time around.