During the first quarter of Sunday’s 49ers-Patriots game, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick hit Delanie Walker with a pass, and New England’s Steve Gregory hit Walker just as he grabbed the ball, knocking it loose. Aqib Talib picked the ball up, and the officials ruled it a fumble recovered by the Patriots.
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One problem: Walker never had possession of the ball. Another problem: The replay assistant who is supposed to review all turnovers and tell the referee to take a closer look at the close calls never told the ref to review the play.
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The officials got the play wrong on the field, but NFL director of instant replay Dean Blandino placed the blame on the replay assistant in an appearance on NFL Network.
This actually never went to review, Blandino said. The replay official confirmed it upstairs without bringing the referee over. And that’s a mistake. We need to bring the referee over.