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Jimmie Ward’s late hit on Geno Smith was an inexcusable penalty in NFL playoffs

The 49ers should have gone into halftime with an easy lead, but safety Jimmie Ward shifted the lead with a reckless penalty.

San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward committed an egregious penalty that handed the Seattle Seahawks three free points and gave them the lead at halftime.

49ers kicker Robbie Gould had just given the 49ers a 16-14 lead with just 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter. After a squib kick set up the Seahawks at their own 38-yard line, Seattle quarterback Geno Smith scrambled for nine yards before sliding down. After Smith had started to slide and give himself, Ward launched into him, leading to an easy unnecessary roughness penalty.

“Yeah, no question that’s a foul,” FOX Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino said during the TV broadcast. “Quarterback is sliding, considered defenseless, forcible contact. That’s 15 yards.”

The flag not only gave the Seahawks 15 critical yards, but it stopped the clock with just one second remaining in the half. With the improved field position, the Seahawks trotted kicker Jason Myers out on the field, who promptly drilled a 56-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 17-16 lead at the half.