49ers secondary still can't decide who was at fault on Jones TD

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

There were a handful of huge plays in Super Bowl XLVII, none bigger than the Joe Flacco-to-Jacoby Jones 56-yard touchdown with 105 seconds to play in the first half that gave the Ravens a 21-3 lead at intermission.

CBSSports.com columnist Pete Prisco broke down the breakdowns in real time, noting that 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, who found himself some 10 yards behind Jones when quarterback Joe Flacco released the ball, was in man coverage and looking for safety help from Donte Whitner. It never came.

Two days later, San Francisco's secondary still couldn't decide who was responsible for what on Jones' touchdown catch. Culliver was asked if Whitner was supposed to drop into coverage instead of shadow receiver Anquan Boldin, who was in the slot when the ball was snapped.

"Yeah," Culliver said, according the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows. "Like I said, I don't want to throw nobody under the bus. But I had him and we wasn't on the same page, so it ends up as a touchdown."

Whitner, meanwhile, had a different take on the defensive play call.

"No. No. People don't know," Whitner said via Barrows. "It's something we call 'pounder' where we're playing man-under in a form of quarters (coverage) where I'm on No. 2 (receiver). Anything that No. 2 does, I'm over him. Then we're playing man to man outside. Our corners did a great job all year of playing this coverage. And it just caught him (Culliver). It just caught him. I don't know.

"Chris is man to man, that was his guy. And the guy just got behind him," Whitner continued. "The guy is extremely talented guy. The guy who caught the football ... he's extremely fast. I don't know. He'll (Culliver) be better next year. He'll be better covering on the outside next year, and hopefully we don't give up those type of plays. But it's the Super Bowl.

"Coverage goes with rush. And on that play, I don't know if we had the best rush. We definitely didn't have the best coverage. So Flacco was able to step up, throw it deep and that's exactly what we didn't want all week long."

Three weeks before, Flacco and Jones were the beneficiaries of a flaccid Broncos pass rush and suspect coverage courtesy of safety Rahim Moore. That time, they hooked up on a 70-yard touchdown bomb that tied the score with less than a minute remaining in the AFC Divisional game before winning in overtime. Turns out, that was just the warm-up act for what was to come in New Orleans.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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