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NFL says fumble replay was inconclusive

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Inconclusive video evidence prevented officials from siding with 49ers Colin Kaepernick and ruling a goal-line touchdown rather than a lost fumble in Sunday’s 13-10 defeat to the Rams, according to the league’s officiating czar.

“It was impossible to tell where the ball was in relation to the goal line before it came out, so again, the ruling on the field stood,” Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, told NFL Network’s NFL AM on Monday morning.

Kaepernick insisted afterward that he “crossed the line” on a third-and-goal play that resulted in a fumble call with two seconds remaining. Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis emerged with the football, however.

“Kaepernick goes into the pile, the umpire sees the ball loose, he has 55 on St. Louis (Laurinaitis) recovering the loose ball,” Blandino said. “It went to review, we looked at it.

“There’s one angle from behind the defense where you can see Kaepernick going toward the ground, the ball does come loose, but you never saw a body part like an elbow or a knee down prior to that.

“… The evidence just wasn’t definitive either way, and that’s why the call stood as called.”

The 49ers had first-and-goal at the Rams 2-yard line, and after a completion to Michael Crabtree at the 1 that arguably could have been ruled a touchdown, Kaepernick threw an intentional incompletion on second down to set up the fateful, third-down sneak and loss-clinching fumble.

“I was shocked to see it there, of course,” Laurinaitis told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “The whole play was surprising. The play before, they go play-action and don’t give it to Gore. Then on the last play, they don’t give to Gore either.

“But I could sense when they got on the ball they were probably going to sneak it. You could just tell in their mannerisms, their body language, the formation. I figured if Kaepernick is going to sneak, he’d just put the ball over the line, like Tom Brady or Drew Brees. But I think what happened is he never really had good possession of it. He didn’t catch it clean from the center. So he just barreled forward.”

FOLES OUT: Nick Foles won’t need surgery to correct a broken collarbone, but the Eagles quarterback is expected to be sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks, according to an NFL source.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday that Foles had a “crack” in his clavicle, but that he had no further details. Foles’ MRI revealed no further damage than a hairline fraction, per the source. The injury was on his non-throwing left side.

Last season, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed seven weeks with a similar injury, although it was to his throwing arm. He didn’t have surgery.

Foles suffered the injury late in the first quarter of the Eagles’ 31-21 win over the Texans on Sunday. Mark Sanchez stepped in and performed admirably. Sanchez will now be the starter for at least the next six games and possibly for the rest of the regular season.

ROMO COULD PLAY: The Dallas Cowboys were adamant after Sunday’s game against Arizona that Tony Romo would be traveling to London and they had no second thoughts about it Monday, a couple hours before their chartered plane departed.

Romo joined the rest of his teammates on the nine-hour flight with the hope that he and his surgically-repaired back will recover enough so he can play in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Asked if he felt Romo would be able to play, coach Jason Garrett said: “Absolutely. Feel better today and get through the flight, feel good when he gets over there and we’ll take it day-by-day this week.

“We’re certainly hopeful that he has a chance to play this week.”

MCCARTHY EXTENDED: The Green Bay Packers signed coach Mike McCarthy to a multiyear contract extension Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the pact keeps McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson paired together for the foreseeable future.

Thompson inked an extension with the team in July.

Since taking over a 4-12 Packers team in 2006, Green Bay has reached the postseason six times under McCarthy, won the NFC North four times, reached two NFC Championship Games and, of course, won the Super Bowl in 2010.

His 93 wins rank third all-time in team history behind Curly Lambeau (212) and Vince Lombardi (98), ahead of Mike Holmgren (84) and Mike Sherman (59), and McCarthy’s crowning achievement in Green Bay has been his work with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs before losing a fumble against the St. Louis Rams during the fourth quarter Sunday. He said he scored, but there was no video evidence to support that. AP PHOTO