Better hand Randy Moss a butterfly net

Four-time Super Bowl winner Bill Romanowski blasted San Francisco 49ers receiver Randy Moss for showing "alligator arms" on the pass Baltimore intercepted in the second quarter Sunday. Upon review, I don't think Moss could have caught that pass with a butterfly net.

Camera angles sometimes distort the actual height of a pass, but replays available for this one show the ball sailing over Moss' head by a wide enough margin to render the receiver's reaction irrelevant to the play. The alligator-arms theory breaks down further in the absence of an imminent threat to Moss from an approaching defender. Moss never retracted his arms or flinched as if to protect himself.

Dwight Clark, who retired from the 49ers one year before Romanowski joined the team in 1988, acknowledged this aspect of the play. But in comments Clark made with Romanowski on a Comcast postgame show, the former receiver said he wanted to see at least some effort from Moss for effort's sake.

"He didn't even reach up for it," Clark said. "He watched it sail over his head. Yes, it was high. Kaepernick was a little nervous. ... But make some kind of movement for the ball."

Clark might have a point there. The appearance of effort can positively shape perceptions. But it's not like Moss showed up Kaepernick, either. He didn't shrug or point fingers.

In the big picture, I wouldn't hold this play against Moss to the degree Romanowski and Clark did, even if emotional postgame reactions from players associated with the 49ers' championship history is understandable.