49ers Were Given Five Free Yards Before Go-Ahead Touchdown Drive Against Lions

Both Lions and 49ers fans have had a lot of complaints about the referees from Sunday's game. It seems like both fan bases feel that their team was on the receiving end of some bad calls, which usually says more about the overall competency (or lack thereof) of the officials than an outright bias toward one team.

One bad call that went unnoticed by seemingly everybody turned out to be one of the more egregious mistakes. As pointed out by Michael David Smith and Matt Maiocco, the 49ers were given five free yards before the drive where they ultimately scored the go-ahead touchdown. Ted Ginn returned Ryan Donahue's punt 35 yards to the Detroit 40-yard line. The 49ers began their drive at the 35-yard line, however, and Ginn was credited with a 40-yard return. No penalties were called, so the referees simply spotted the ball at the wrong yard line after a commercial break.

How you can make an error like that at such a critical point in the game is beyond me. At the same time, I can't believe nobody on the Lions sideline noticed. Five yards may not seem like a big difference, and San Francisco might have scored anyway, but you would think one coach or player would have realized Ginn ran out at the 40, not the 35.

Then again, during the game no fans seemed to notice and no media noticed, either. It was only pointed out a day after the game ended, so this mistake somehow slipped by everybody initially.

UPDATE: Schwartz discussed the mistake during an interview today.

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