There was confusion in the San Francisco 49ers' secondary when Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones made a difficult catch in traffic, before getting back on his feet and eluding two defenders for a 56-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLVII. Days after the Ravens' win, confusion remains as to how Jones was able to score.
Niners cornerback Chris Culliver lined up across from Jones on the line of scrimmage, but he was 10 yards behind when the reception was made. Culliver expected over-the-top help from safety Donte Whitner, who sat on an inside route run by Anquan Boldin.
Culliver was asked if Whitner was supposed to remain deep. "Yeah," Culliver told the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows on Tuesday. "Like I said, I don't want to throw nobody under the bus. But I had him and we wasn't on the same page, so it ends up as a touchdown."
Whitner had a different perspective.
"No. No. People don't know," Whitner said. "It's something we call 'pounder' where we're playing man-under (coverage) in a form of quarters where I'm on No. 2 (receiver). Anything that No. 2 does, I'm over him. Then we're playing man-to-man outside. Our corners did a great job all year of playing this coverage. And it just caught him (Culliver). It just caught him. I don't know.
"Chris is man to man, that was his guy. And the guy just got behind him. The guy is extremely talented guy. The guy who caught the football ... he's extremely fast. I don't know. He'll (Culliver) be better next year. He'll be better covering on the outside next year, and hopefully we don't give up those type of plays. But it's the Super Bowl.
"Coverage goes with rush. And on that play, I don't know if we had the best rush. We definitely didn't have the best coverage. So (Ravens quarterback Joe) Flacco was able to step up, throw it deep and that's exactly what we didn't want all week long."
The two obviously were not on the same page. Culliver was picked on by Flacco all game, allowing a pair of 30-plus-yard completions. Whitner is a seven-year veteran who was voted to the Pro Bowl this year.
Whitner gets the benefit of the doubt, but we still don't know for sure.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.