Watching live might have led to the idea that there was no review of one of the game’s most controversial plays — a possible pass interference call on 49ers linebacker Fred Warner defending Seattle tight end Jacob Hollister in the end zone on the Seahawks’ second-to-last play of the game Sunday in Seattle’s 26-21 loss.
Reviews of such plays are now allowed following the controversial ending to last year’s NFC title game between the Rams and the Saints.
Had the PI been called, Seattle would have had the ball at the 1-yard line with a first down with 12 seconds remaining.
Instead, Seattle was left with a fourth-and-goal at the 5, where it had moved back to after taking a delay-of-game penalty following a spike on first-and-goal at the 1.
Al Riveron, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, said in a pool interview later that the play was, in fact, reviewed.
“Well, we actually looked at it here in New York,’’ Riveron said. “We had a great look. NBC gives us a great look of the entire route. So, we actually did perform a review but based on what we saw we didn’t see enough to stop the game. But we did review it.
“What we see is, we see the offensive player come in and initiate contact on the defensive player — nothing that rises to the level of a foul which significantly hinders the defender, nothing that is clear and obvious through visual evidence, which hinders the defender. The defender then braces himself. And there is contact then by the defender on the receiver. Again, nothing which rises to the level of a foul based on visual evidence. Nothing happens that rises of the level of a foul while the ball is in the air before it gets there by either player.’’
Riveron also gave this explanation of the next play, when Hollister was stopped at the goal line by two 49ers defenders.
“Sure, there were several things to look at,’’ he said. “And we have to start with the ruling on the field. The ruling on the field was that of a fumble and then recovered by the defense and run back. So we stopped that play and we looked at several things. Number one, is it a catch? We confirmed it was a catch. Number two, does he break the plane of the goal line prior to being contacted and being down by contact? He is contacted. We see that he maintains control of the football when he hits the ground.
“Additionally he doesn’t break the plane of the goal line. So, now he’s contacted, he’s short of the goal line and he’s on the ground. Which means the play is over. There is no fumble. So, we reverse it to down by contact and short. At which point, there are nine seconds left in the game and the ball turns over on downs.’’