Following a performance Sunday that drew the ire of both the Cardinals and 49ers sidelines and had Fox rules analyst Mike Pereira working overtime trying to explain their calls, referee Pete Morelli and his officiating crew have been pulled from Week 13's Colts-Steelers Sunday night game, according to Pro Football Talk. They will be re-assigned to Sunday's Eagles-Patriots game, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
"The officials were struggling -- mightily," Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said following his team's 19-13 win on Sunday, via ESPN. "They can't count to three."
Arians was specifically referring to a sequence in the first quarter on which Morelli and his crew needed minutes in order to figure out what down it was after penalizing the 49ers for having too many men on the field.
The call was made following a 4-yard completion to the 49ers' 15-yard line from Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald. The play was good for a first down. Arizona then went to a hurry-up and ran for a 2-yard gain. San Francisco was caught off-guard and had two extra men on the field.
The penalty should have been a live-ball foul and given the Cardinals 5 yards and a first down. Instead, Morelli ruled that it was a dead-ball foul and that Arizona's next play would be a second-and-3.
"That's not what we accepted," Arians said after the game. "That was the whole problem. It was a FUBAR on their part. They can try to explain it. They're wrong."
Only after discussing the play with officials in New York did Morelli get the call right.
"I got so many explanations, I got tired of them," Arians said, "because they were just running out of them."
But the Cardinals weren't the only ones mad with the officials afterward. The 49ers were flagged 13 times for 81 yards, including a questionable roughing the passer call against 49ers defensive end Quinton Dial with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter. The call turned what would have been a third-and-18 for the Cardinals from their own 30-yard line into a first-and-10 from the their own 47.
"I didn't get an explanation for it," Dial said postgame, via Niners Nation.
Pereira also added that he thought the best call would have been a no-call.
After the game, the 49ers weren't shy about sharing their displease with the officials.
"I thought those refs sucked," offensive lineman Alex Boone said.
This marks the third time this season that the NFL has disciplined officials. A side judge was suspended following a clock error in a Steelers-Chargers Monday night game early in the season, and a back judge was moved off a Sunday night game after failing to throw a flag on Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright for batting a Calvin Johnson fumble out of the back of the end zone during a Monday night game against the Lions.
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SB Nation presents: The referees' parade of penalties against San Francisco