49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

November 28, 2006
That fourth-and-one-inch call

Question: Please tell me you agree that it was a ridiculous call on fourth and a half-inch. I mean, he stole the momentum away from S.F. and handed it right back to the Rams. Don't forget, the Rams may not have scored yet, but if Torry Holt had looked over his shoulder about a half-second earlier on their previous drive, he was gone for a touchdown, so it isn't like the 49ers defense was Bears-esque or anything. This kind of over-conservative play-calling nearly cost them last week against Seattle as well. It'll cost them more games if he remains this stubborn.

- Kevin, Vancouver

Answer: I've gotten A LOT of e-mails and Q&A questions about this call, and I hate to say it, but I agree with Nolan's fourth-down decision. Before you guys burn down my house, this is my reasoning: The 49ers have been HORRIBLE in short-yardage situations all season. They messed up a sure TD earlier in the year against the Rams and one a week later against the Eagles. In fact, their short-yardage "specialist," Michael Robinson, is one-for-six when called on to get one yard. And don't forget, he had just failed a play earlier on third and one. If they had gone for it and failed - and the percentages strongly suggest they would have - it would have been waaaay too easy for the Rams to march to the San Francisco 35 or so and kick a field goal. To me, the big problem was calling a time out before the third down run. The 49ers had the Rams on their knees begging for mercy. Calling a timeout at that point was akin to a boxer going back to his corner when he has his opponent teetering on the ropes. It gave the Rams a moment to regroup and that's exactly what they did.

- Matthew Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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