SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Was it a sack and fumble or a personal foul?
“That’s a judgment call on the referee,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “His job is to just watch the quarterback and protect the quarterback.”
49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ fourth quarter sack of Saints quarterback Drew Brees forced a fumble the 49ers recovered. But the hard hit near the shoulder and neck area was ruled a personal foul.
“It was a heck of a play by Brooks,” Madden said. “He got in there, he got the hit, he forced the fumble, did the whole thing. And it looked like a big play by the 49ers. And then you see that flag there… As you look at it, did he really hit him in the head? Was his arm below in the neck area? Did it come up to the head? There are so many things in there, and for the referee it’s a bang-bang call. In other words, after saying all that, I don’t know. I really don’t.”
The Saints kicked a field goal shortly afterward to win the game 23-20. Brooks later asked what he should have done differently.
“The answer to that would be that you lower your target,” Madden said.
Despite the loss and their 6-4 record, John said the 49ers remain an elite team.
“(New Orleans) is really a hard place to play… The 49er offense was a little sporadic, but I thought, under the circumstances, playing the Saints and where they are now offensively, I thought the 49er defense played very, very well… When you look at the NFL, or specifically at the NFC, they’re one of the better teams. They’re still one of the top six teams in the NFC.” (7:00)