That is because NFL coaches rely upon television video feeds when determining which plays to challenge. Networks assign more cameras and, at least in theory, their best crews for marquee matchups. The 49ers-Bengals game was not a marquee matchup. And so when officials ruled 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree had stepped out of bounds before catching a touchdown pass, 49ers coaches were dependent upon insufficient television replay feeds in determining whether to challenge the call.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' coaches didn't see a replay in time to make an educated decision on whether to challenge. And when there was a replay, it appeared inconclusive. Maiocco: "Crabtree caught an apparent 10-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith in the third quarter. But Crabtree was called for illegal touch. He was ruled to have gone out of bounds and was the first player to touch the ball. It was a play that could've been reviewed. All scoring plays are automatically reviewed, but the play was not ruled as a scoring play." Noted: The 49ers won the game anyway or else this could have become a minor controversy for the NFL officiating office.
Also from Maiocco: Jim Harbaugh says Alex Smith managed the game well.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' defense wore down the Bengals.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News brings clarity to the Frank Gore situation after rookie Kendall Hunter replaced the veteran back in key situations late in the game. Hunter was a big part of the game plan, explaining why he was on the field early in the game. And then when Gore injured his ankle, Hunter got even more opportunities.