No. 3: Can 49ers Afford to Commit So Many Penalties?
There are going to be those Saints fans who felt New Orleans was robbed by the officiating again, especially on a fake punt pass attempt, which saw gunner Tarvarius Moore completely overwhelm the intended passing target on the fake.
Moore could have been flagged for holding, perhaps, but the non-call was the right one, as far as pass interference goes.
But that doesn’t change the fact San Francisco was flagged 10 times for 67 yards in the game, compared to the five penalties accepted against New Orleans.
Crucial ones hit both sides, yes. From the Niners’ vantage point, though, that previously mentioned call against Moselely could have potentially hurt bad, while another call against Richard Sherman also thwarted the 49ers’ defensive effort.
On a positive note, San Francisco entered this contest with just 87 accepted penalties, which ranked 12th fewest.
Yet in high-profile, top-tier bouts like Week 14, the 49ers not beating themselves could be the difference between a top seed and a fifth seed, advancing in the postseason or going home.