It was a textbook situation that failed because of a safety that forgot all the fundamentals on how to play the position. The actual punt was executed to perfection and with the lackadaisical issues we were having with the OL, there were no guarantees that we would get that 1st down unlike last year which would have been an automatic "duh"...especially with the opposition knowing what we would do. Just because we have a 100+ million dollar backfield doesn't mean jack when we have an OL performing like ass.
The issue is that our defense wasn't firing on all cylinders early in the season. Even though we dropped them near their goal line, I had a sneaking suspicion that they were going to roar right back. If I was coach, I probably would have gone for it because the offense had more going for them than the defense at that point of the season...which shows how much of a crappy team we were early on.
IMO, Rivera has done worse than the Naka-fail. The pillowy soft coverage against the Bears in the final minutes annoyed me more. I probably would have lost my mind if I watched the last Tampa Bay game. The game against the Chiefs was inexcusable. And so on...
I agree with most of what you stated, however I think our losses in the closing minutes to ATL and CHI caused Rivera to sit some of our DBs. I think Nakamura proved his ineptitude vs ATL because everything was done right with that punt. Great kick, great fielding, our defense was playing great that game (7 sacks I think) and Rivera called a good defensive play in that situation (man coverage + 2 deep safeties). I think Rivera wanted our DBs to be playing more physical vs Chicago and that is part of why Norman got benched.
The Chiefs game wasn't rigged, but the refs were definitely instructed to not call any penalties against KC that didn't need to be called. Anyone who watched that game can attest to that, and this happens anytime a player dies (Dallas vs Cincinatti this year as well).