49ers Dispute Critical Call

By Starkey, Joe | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

49ers Dispute Critical Call


Starkey, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Every week, the Steelers leave the opposing offense in a state of disarray.

After a season-opening victory over Cleveland, the Browns traded their starting quarterback.

After a Week 2 victory over Buffalo, quarterback J.P. Losman ripped the Bills' coaching staff.

And after a 37-16 victory Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers, coach Mike Nolan took a shot at tight end Vernon Davis, while others spoke of miscommunication in the passing game.

Earlier in the week, Davis visited Nolan's office and told the coach he wanted a bigger piece of the action after catching only four passes in two games.

Nolan obliged -- and commended Davis for having the courage to stop by -- but wasn't happy with Davis dropping a pass yesterday.

"Don't cry about the ball and then not catch the ball," Nolan said.

Davis and Nolan agreed on one thing, though: They thought Davis caught a 22-yard pass on third-and-13 with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter, putting the ball at the Steelers' 10.

The officials thought otherwise after a lengthy video review and ruled the pass incomplete. The 49ers settled for a field goal but still trailed, 17-9.

"That hurt," quarterback Alex Smith said.

It hurt in more ways than one, as Davis, who had four catches for 56 yards, limped out of the game with what Nolan described as a strained knee.

Davis was undercut by safety Troy Polamalu on the play and crashed to the turf, causing the ball to pop out of his grasp. Steelers safety Ryan Clark scooped it in midair and raced 43 yards to the 49ers' 47.

The ruling on the field was a fumble. Nolan challenged, and the call was reversed to an incompletion -- not exactly what the coach had in mind. …

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