Friday, October 19, 2012
Notes on gambling, refs and adjustments
By Mike Sando
A few wrap-up thoughts while en route from San Francisco, site of the 49ers' 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks:
- This game was the second of the season featuring an unusual officiating or coaching sequence that benefited bookmakers. Both coincidentally involved the Seahawks. The simultaneous-catch ruling on Golden Tate's touchdown play to beat the Packers in Week 3 was one. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh's decision Thursday night to take over possession on downs instead of accepting a safety was the other. Had Harbaugh accepted the safety, anyone accepting the Seahawks and nine points would have gotten their money back. Anyone taking the 49ers and giving 7 1/2 or eight points would have won. The tightly contested, low-scoring nature of these games heightened the drama surrounding the pivotal decisions. Dissenting view: Kevin Bradley, sports book manager for Bovada.lv, said money was bet more evenly on Seahawks-49ers than on Packers-Seahawks, diminishing the impact.
- The Seahawks' defensive linemen weren't happy about allowing 131 yards rushing to 49ers running back Frank Gore. Defensive end Chris Clemons noticed the 49ers hadn't run a single power play to his side. A few weeks earlier, the 49ers had gained 149 of their 245 yards rushing against the New York Jets on runs outside the tackles. This time, Gore gained all his yardage on inside runs. The 49ers' staff unleashed a series of trap plays to great effect. Seattle failed to adjust on the fly. I don't think San Francisco revealed a fatal flaw in Seattle's run defense. This was more a case of the 49ers' staff outfoxing Seattle on a short week. As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last season, the 49ers' running game has more diversity, more layers, than what is found elsewhere in the NFL. The 49ers deserve more credit than the Seahawks deserve blame for San Francisco's rushing success. Seattle must adjust for the rematch.
- The NFL rulebook can be difficult to interpret on the fly, but I was pretty sure officials erred when they called Seahawks guard Paul McQuistan for a chop block in the end zone. That ruling gave the 49ers an option to accept the aforementioned safety. Former NFL officiating director Mike Pereira protested the call: "That was not a chop block near the end. The second block was at the waist. It has to be in the thigh area or below. Glad it was declined."
- The Seahawks' cornerbacks in general and Brandon Browner in particular have been willing to risk penalties for the rewards associated with disrupting receivers accustomed to running freely through opposing secondaries. Seattle had to feel great about getting through this game without attracting any attention for pushing around the 49ers' receivers. Officials called 11 penalties in the game, assessing eight, but none was against Seattle's defensive backs. We shouldn't expect Harbaugh or his staff to lodge any public complaints, however. That option went away when Harbaugh called out New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for trying to influence officiating in regard to defensive holding.
That's all for now. Here's hoping your Friday beats the spread.