I've never contended that the refs cost us the game. But my goodness they did figure into it. The safety would have put points on the board, and might have given us decent field position. The non-flag on the off-sides was a completely wasted down. (one of the reasons I absolutely HATE what we do when we know there's an off-sides.) The phantom defenseless receiver call against Lofton, then the non-call for an obvious defenseless receiver hit when Kelly about got crippled made it clear that this officiating squad was against us. New Orleans was doing well enough on their own, so why did the officials have to play such a role in this game? It was pretty blatant.
The Kelly hit is a legit issue that the NFL needs to address. The center of the spine would seem to be one of those danger zones for hits, much like the head. Also, he hasn't turned to run. This would seem to be the very definition of defenseless receiver, but do you really want to take the same-time hit out of the game?
However, Lofton was properly flagged for what I've seen from this year. He hit the receiver in the helmet with his helmet. That should be flagged each and every time if that's going to be the rule. It's probably asking the refs to do to much to decide if the defender really lead with abandon or if the WR initiated the illegal contact (Maclin's a good example of this: He lowers after Dunta committed).
The safety call is absurd and should be looked into, but the rest is probably just run-of-the-mill luck of the draw with the officials; sometime you et the bar, and sometimes the bar et you.
Thanks for the clarification on the block-in-the back non-call, John.