SANTA CLARA — Nick Bosa’s first unnecessary roughness penalty as a pro raised eyebrows, caused a concussion and, at least to the 49ers’ opponents, looked like a cheap shot.
Coach Kyle Shanahan vehemently disagrees with the “cheap shot” accusation, and he has a strong case.
What happened was Bosa launched his left shoulder into an unsuspecting Brian O’Neill, the Minnesota Vikings right tackle, during Richard Sherman’s interception return about five minutes after halftime of Saturday’s 27-10 divisional-playoff win.
“People say cheap shot when someone gets hit violently,” Shanahan began Monday in Bosa’s defense. “To me, the term cheap shot is your intent is to try and hurt someone. I don’t think he’s thinking about that at all.
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 11: With the chant of “Bosa, Bosa” ringing through Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa (97) smiles after getting up slowly following a sack of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the fourth quarter in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
“That’s a normal block in football for a long time. The guy wasn’t completely out of the play, he could have made a tackle and Bosa went and hit him. That’s a rule, you can’t do that now, you can’t hit a guy in that position.”
So what could Bosa have done differently?
“You basically have to set a screen, which means let him hit you and just take it,” Shanahan said. “That’s part of this game, that’s what you have to do and that’s we will coach him up on to do, because you will get a penalty (otherwise).
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 11: The San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa (97) pressures Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
“To call it a cheap shot, that means you’re trying to hurt someone and I know that wasn’t the case.”
O’Neill, diagnosed with a concussion, did not return to the game as the 49ers scored 10 unanswered points and advanced to Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he didn’t see Bosa’s hit, but added: “I just heard (players mention) it was a cheap shot, which I think it was.”
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 11: San Francisco 49ers’ DeForest Buckner (99) and San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa (97) tackle Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook (33) in the third quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 27-10. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Added Vikings guard Josh Kline: “I thought it was. There’s no reason for that hit in the game these days, especially when you go for someone’s head like that. It’s just very disappointing that someone would do that. There’s no place for that in the game. They put that block (crackback) out for a reason.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports