Whatever was going through Jimmy Ward’s mind just before the break, it was the wrong thought.
Ward, a defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers, took one of the most embarrassing penalties of the season just before halftime in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Geno Smith fumbled and slid down with one second left in the half. Ward decided it was the right time to go hunting for the head and he was awarded a penalty for an apparently unnecessary roughness when Smithy made a good run into his slide.
It was inexplicable and unforgivable.
Instead of the Seahawks hitting a Hail Mary at best (they still had to call a timeout before the end of the half), Jason Myers went 56 yards on a field goal after a penalty. . He hit it as the half ended and the Seahawks led 17-16.
The 49ers were down before Ward’s horrendous penalty, punting the kickoff instead of going deep. That gave Seattle possession at its own 38-yard line. Still, they weren’t to be able to go down the field with nine seconds left in the half.
Ward decided he would give Seattle a gift.