What exactly happened on the final play of regulation this past Sunday in New Orleans depends on your perspective – and by “perspective,” we mean whether you’re a fan of the Saints or 49ers.
If you’re a Saints fan, Perrish Cox flopped on Jimmy Graham’s Hail Mary touchdown catch, and New Orleans was robbed of a victory. If you’re a 49ers fan, Graham clearly committed pass interference, the right call was made and the better team won in overtime.
What exactly happened on that play?
“I mean, the ref made the call,” Cox said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I wasn’t acting at all. (Graham) pushed me, and I ended up hitting the ground – not from the push, but I was running pretty fast, about to jump and I felt the shove so I did try to throw up my hands to the refs. But the call was made and the game’s over.
“Truthfully, I really don’t understand why it became (such) a big deal,” the 49ers cornerback continued. “I understand that it was (an important play), but I was in position to go and make the play, about to jump, and I did feel a shove in my back and I did throw up my hands. I felt like if I didn’t throw up my hands at the time, it would have been a whole different conversation right now.”
Doug Gottlieb has a few theories as to why this play got so much, well, play. One, pass interference – offensive or defensive – is rarely called on Hail Mary throws. Two, people have Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees on their fantasy teams and were angry they missed those points. And three, people hate flopping incidents – both actual and perceived.
“I can understand why they got mad about the situation, and I also understand the part (about) them getting (mad) about the flopping call,” Cox said. “But you got to understand that the people that got mad about the flop was only the fans of the New Orleans Saints. You got to think about if they didn’t make the call, then you’d be on the other side and it’d be our fans saying I got pushed. At the end of the day, the call was made, and we came up with the victory. They had a chance before and after that to make plays, and (so did we). Like I said, we came out with the victory, and that’s the only goal (we had).”
San Francisco won, 27-24, to improve to 5-4 and stay relevant in the NFC playoff picture. The 49ers still trail the Cardinals (8-1) by three games in the division, but they trail Seattle (6-3) and Green Bay (6-3) by just a game for the Wild Card.
San Francisco has a tough schedule remaining and unfortunately must play it without Patrick Willis. The seven-time Pro Bowler, who had missed the last three games, needs season-ending toe surgery.
Just how big of a loss is this?
“Oh man, it’s really big,” Cox said. “He is our team captain – our overall team captain and especially our defensive captain. We’re glad that we got Aldon (Smith) back. Chris Borland has stepped in tremendously. We can’t thank him enough. Hopefully he keeps it going. But losing Pat, it’s a big loss. But at the end of the day, we got to keep pushing. We just got to keep pushing as a team.”
The 49ers play the Giants (3-6) in East Rutherford this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
New York has lost four straight games – all by double digits.