The "safety punt" is undoubtedly something they practice occasionally. You're not going to run a play of that magnitude without your players being comfortable with it. I would bet you anything that the coaches instructed them to blatantly hold, because there are no repercussions for it! It's brilliant strategy. It's an exploit, but it's still technically within the rules. And besides, at that point in the game, who cares anyway? It's not like we were going to complete a hail mary and win the game anyway.
Again, if people want something to complain about here, don't complain about the refs. Complain about Kaepernik taking a time out on FIRST down with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. Complain about him being slow to distribute the play call late in the 4th, forcing Harbaugh to take a timeout to avoid a delay of game. Had we preserved all three timeouts, we could've had about 1:30 left when we got the ball back. Both of those timeouts stemmed from Kaep's inexperience (by the way, I full endorse the change to Kaep at QB). This fact had MUCH more to do with us losing than the refs did.
You see the pattern here?
The "no call" on the helmet-to-helmet against Crabs or the holding of Crabs in the end zone is not why we lost. The terrible playcalling was.
A lack of a holding penalty on Anthony Dixon was not a factor in us losing -- horrible clock management by Kaep is much more to blame.
[ Edited by theduke85 on Feb 4, 2013 at 8:47 AM ]