The San Francisco 49ers were robbed by the officials, as Arden Key was given a roughing the passer penalty after clearly sacking Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
In an absolutely critical game with major NFC Wild Card implications on the line, the officials took a third-down sack away from Key. This was because the referees believed the San Francisco pass-rusher used the weight of his body to bring down Ryan from behind. It gave the Falcons a new set of downs, eventually resulting in an amazing touchdown by Atlanta wide receiver Russell Gage.
San Francisco took at 17-10 lead into halftime, but the 49ers could be up 17-3 instead.
When Ryan gets the Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers treatment from the zebras, he can make big-time throws like this one to Gage for six.
San Francisco 49ers robbed by officials on a brutal roughing the passer penalty
Though Atlanta is not a great team by any means at 6-7, the Falcons have done a good job playing games away from home and in one-score contests. This game has the potential to go down to the wire with the winner being in fantastic standing to possibly make the NFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. The loser of this game will have lost the crucial head-to-head tiebreaker in the playoff race.
Ultimately, nobody likes it when the officials get in the way of a good game. Were there missed calls on the 49ers defense that killed Falcons’ drives? Yes, but 49ers fans are going to look back at this one roughing the passer penalty if their favorite team ends up dropping this game. The rules are the rules, but Key should not have been assessed this brutal penalty for his big sack of Ryan.
This game is shaping up to be one of the very best on the Week 15 slate across the NFL landscape.