NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating, reviewed the fracas between the teams following Clay Matthews' late hit and determined that 49ers left tackle Joe Staley shouldn't have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. In other words, there never should have been offsetting penalties on Matthews and Staley in the first place. It should have been first-and-goal for the 49ers at the 3-yard line.
Head referee Bill Leavy also admitted after the game that he made a mistake in applying the offsetting penalties, which gave the 49ers an extra down. Blandino said Monday on NFL Network's "NFL AM" that a mistake like that will not happen again. And now Blandino is saying Staley's penalty never should have been called.
"Joe did exactly what we coach him to do," Harbaugh said Sunday. "When somebody's taking a cheap shot or trying to do something after the whistle, we teach them just to lock up. He did that, and then Matthews throws two punches at him."
We agree with Harbaugh. Staley didn't appear to do anything wrong. So even though the 49ers were lucky to get an extra down after the offsetting penalties, they never should have been put in that spot.
Blandino can only hope that his officials' mistakes won't become a weekly Monday morning talking point.