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This is how the 49ers lost to the Rams

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Two controversial, possibly incorrect calls decided the 49ers-Rams game. One involved the refs doing the best with the evidence they had. The other is a bit more baffling.

Trailing 13-10 with under five seconds to go and facing third-and-goal, the 49ers called a QB sneak for Colin Kaepernick ... and chaos ensued:


The ball came out of Kaepernick's hands at some point, and the Rams emerged from the pile with it, with the refs ruling it a fumble recovered by the Rams. Replays showed Kaepernick struggling to hold the ball off the snap, eventually taking control of it, and lunging forward with the ball before losing it as he went toward the ground.


It's quite possible that Kaepernick hit the ground or crossed the goal line before losing the ball. The problem is that the referees needed conclusive evidence to overturn the call. The entire substance of this play happens in between a forest of human beings, with bodies and arms and limbs obstructing the view of the cameras.

It's impossible to say with 100 percent certainty what happened here. If you're a 49ers fan, you probably see a player down. If you're a Rams fan, you probably see a fumble. But with the evidence provided, there's no way to be completely sure of what happened in the middle of that pile. It might not be fair, but the refs couldn't overturn their ruling on the field. And the Rams came away with a 13-10 win.

THAT said: we're not really sure how this Michael Crabtree catch on the play before was not ruled a touchdown:


The nose touches the ground, but Crabtree has control of the ball when that happens. The refs didn't rule this incomplete, they ruled it down at the half-yard line, which doesn't make sense. But when Crabtree tucks the ball into his body, it's across the plane. This really should've been a touchdown.

San Francisco fans can feel slighted by both of these plays. But with the former play, the refs did the best with the evidence they had. With the latter, it's not really clear what they were looking at.