GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Any national discussion of replacement officials this week is likely to center on Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. For what it's worth, however, no one I encountered in the Green Bay Packers' locker room connected the officials to any part of their 30-22 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Perhaps that is because the Packers benefitted from the most notable call: The decision to pick up an illegal block flag on Randall Cobb's 75-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. (Replays showed Packers linebacker Terrell Manning clearly blocked the 49ers' Anthony Dixon in the back.)
The 49ers did have two scoring drives extended in the second quarter by penalties against the Packers on failed third-down conversions. It also appeared that left tackle Joe Staley committed at least two uncalled false starts. Packers players and coaches vociferously protested those no-calls, but ultimately, cornerback Charles Woodson said: "You don't play worrying about what call the ref is going to make. You've got to play. If they call it, then what you have to do is line up and play the next play."
Woodson added: "It's frustrating when there are obvious things happening, and when you can see it. We're not talking about questionable calls. We're talking about obvious things. You're going to get frustrated. That's human nature. But I thought we did well continuing to go out on the field and just play. Those things are going to happen. They happened with the other refs were reffing. You're never going to get around that."
Said tight end Jermichael Finley: "You've seen what I've seen. Of course guys are complaining, but we've got to look past that and play our ball. We've still got to catch the ball. We've still got to score touchdowns. We've still got to throw the ball right. At the end of the day, it's on us."