The San Francisco 49ers were able to defeat the Green Bay Packers in a great game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, but one ill-advised play almost marred the whole game. Actually, the hit by Clay Matthews of the Packers may have actually cost his team the game.
During the second quarter, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was running for a first down and went to step out of bounds. As he did, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews lunged through the air in Superman-fashion and corralled Kaepernick around the neck and to the ground.
Matthews was flagged for a late hit, and the fight was on. 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley came over to protect his quarterback, and he ended up getting a penalty for an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
The penalties ended up offsetting and calling for the down to be replayed. On the replayed third down, Kaepernick found Anquan Boldin for a 10-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead.
Momentum had clearly swung the way of the 49ers, and it had given them the lead as well. They ended up going on to win the game by six points, 34-28.
The thing here is that Kaepernick's run wasn't enough for a first down, and it would have brought up a fourth down play in which the 49ers probably would have attempted a field goal. Giving them another chance allowed them to run a different play and get the touchdown.
Matthews is a veteran and knows better. The game had been chippy and scrappy the whole day, and it appeared as if his emotions got the best of him and the worst for his team.
One of the big problems here though is that the down still should have counted, and it should have been fourth down. The penalties came after the play was over and should have offset, but still had the play count. The referees made a mistake and admitted to that after it was all said and done.