But they already had stakes that affected multiple worlds -- the villain was trying to start an interstellar war. That's a much bigger threat than a ship crashing into San Francisco. So that explanation doesn't make sense.
Out of the current Trek writers/producers, Lindelof strikes me as someone who doesn't really care about making sense and just wants to write what he thinks is "cool". He's the one who pushed for Harrison to be Khan, isn't he?