Quick look at rule cited on 49ers-Pats punt

Referee Ed Hochuli and crew needed an extended period to sort out what happened when the San Francisco 49ers' Ted Ginn Jr. risked muffing a punt against the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

It was tough to see whether the ball struck Ginn before New England recovered. Hochuli awarded possession to the 49ers based on Rule 9, Section 2, Article 2 from the 2012 rulebook. That rule states:

" 'First touching' is when a player of the kicking team touches a scrimmage kick that is beyond the line of scrimmage before it has been touched by a player of the receiving team beyond the line. If the ball is first touched by a player of the kicking team, it remains in play.

"First touching is a violation, and the receivers shall have the option of taking possession of the ball at the spot of first touching, provided no penalty is accepted on the play, or at the spot where the ball is dead. First touching does not offset a foul by the receivers. There may be multiple 'first touch' spots, if more than one player of the kicking team touches the ball before it is touched by a player of the receiving team."

That was a confusing sequence. Thanks to K.C. Joyner for pointing the the specific part of the rulebook covering that play. The 49ers hold a 14-3 lead and are driving deep in Patriots territory.