A potential officiating debacle was avoided, thanks to 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
Smith, who had a franchise-record streak of 249 throws without an interception, threw a pick after the 49ers gained possession of the ball on a questionable (to say the least) decision by the officials.
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart was tackled, the ball came out, the Niners recovered, and the ruling on the field was that Gerhart did not fumble. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh challenged the play, but he apparently didn’t have a time out to lose if the challenge failed.
Which means he shouldn’t have been able to challenge.
But challenge he did, and the ruling on the field was overturned, and the ball was given to the 49ers, and a time out went back on the clock.
It didn’t matter in the end, given the Smith interception.
Of course, Gerhart fumbled again — giving the Niners one more chance to turn things around.