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Sunday, January 1, 2012
Sensational coaching by Seely and 49ers

By Mike Sando

The San Francisco 49ers delivered a knockout blow against the St. Louis Rams in a manner reflecting their outstanding coaching this season.

Leading 20-10, the 49ers snookered the Rams with a fake field goal for a touchdown. Michael Crabtree camped out along the sideline between plays. The Rams did not notice that Crabtree stayed on the field. That left Crabtree wide open. Kicker David Akers threw to Crabtree for an easy touchdown.

Officials reviewed the play to make sure the 49ers had complied with the rules. Former NFL officiating vice president Mike Periera, working as a Fox analyst, explained why the play was legal. He said Crabtree did not have to move away from the sideline area because the 49ers were away from the bench area along their sideline, and because Crabtree was in the game for the previous play. The bench area extends from one 32-yard line to the other.

Pereira also astutely noted that Brad Seely, the 49ers' special-teams coach, executed the same sort of play against the Rams years ago, when Seeley was with the New England Patriots.

While the 49ers were in control of the game when they executed the fake, the score was not lopsided enough to make this a case of the 49ers running up the score. This was simply sensational coaching and execution by the 49ers. Critics of the Rams' coaching staff will have additional ammunition after this one. More than anything, though, this was simply another example of the 49ers' superior coaching this season.