San Francisco receiver Ted Ginn had what could have been the best play of the day on Thanksgiving with his spectacular 75-yard touchdown catch in Baltimore, but it was called back by a chop block penalty.
The 49ers could complain about that call, but they won’t.
After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said that the penalty was the fault of guard Chilo Rachal for putting his hands on Ravens safety Bernard Pollard while 49ers running back Frank Gore was blocking him low.
“It was a bang-bang play for Chilo,” Harbaugh said. “He really just got his hands on him. I wish he could have seen that and not put his hands on him. It was certainly a chop block, and it was a good call. You had one guy going low, and then Chilo put his hands on the defender, which turned it into a chop block.”
Gore also declined to criticize the penalty, saying only, “The referee made the call and that’s what it was. I would like to take it back. We just have to do better.”
The play looked like the type of block that is illegal by the letter of the rules, but that officials usually let go — chop block penalties are usually called when one offensive player holds up an opponent, and then a second offensive player comes in and takes a shot at the defensive player’s knee. That’s certainly not what happened here; this was just Rachal putting his hands on Pollard and not realizing that he couldn’t do that because Gore was already blocking him low.
But the way the rule is written, it’s a penalty. And it’s a credit to the 49ers that they aren’t offering any complaints or making any excuses about it.