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NFL explains why 49ers-Packers wasn't postponed in Week 9

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The NFL announced on Wednesday the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night game has been re-scheduled for Sunday.

The Ravens are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. A total of seven players and additional team staff members have tested positive in the last three days, according to the NFL.

Yet, when the 49ers had one player test positive and three others as “close contacts” were ineligible to play while on the reserve/COVID-19 list in Week 9, the NFL did not postpone their Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers.

So why did the NFL make the decision to move back the Ravens-Steelers game three days?

“This is an ongoing matter with new positives among players and staff,” NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Delaying several days gives us more testing time and provides greater comfort and certainty than playing tomorrow when there could be additional issues that could affect both the Ravens and Steelers and the rest of their seasons.”

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The 49ers played their Nov. 5 game against the Green Bay Packers without wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams, as they were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the days leading up to the game. Deebo Samuel was also placed on the list, but he was already sidelined with a hamstring injury.


If the league had postponed the game by just one day, Bourne, Aiyuk and Williams each would have been eligible to play. The short-handed 49ers lost to the Packers, 34-17, at Levi’s Stadium.

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So why was that game played as scheduled?

“We were able to identify and isolate the few cases and were confident that there was no longer concern for more spread among either team,” McCarthy said of the 49ers-Packers game.

However, a day after the 49ers-Packers game, Green Bay linebacker Krys Barnes was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Barnes played 23 snaps on defense and two on special teams against the 49ers. He is still on the list.

Third-string Packers quarterback Jordan Love, who did not suit up for the game, went on the reserve/COVID-19 list two days after the game.

“Every situation is different depending on the facts," McCarthy said. "As we’ve said all along, the health and safety of players, personnel and the public will continue to override competitive or broadcast concerns. This (Ravens-Steelers) decision underscores that unwavering commitment.”