Matthews was penalized and so was 49ers tackle Joe Staley, which should have led to fourth down for the Packers. The officials ordered a replay of third down, however, and the 49ers scored a touchdown on the third down that shouldn’t have been and won the game 34-28.
On Football Night in America, Mike Florio said that we might hear from the league acknowledging that a mistake had been made. Referee Bill Leavy has made just such an acknowledgement.
“On the play where the quarterback went out of bounds and was hit late out of bounds. And then there was a subsequent hit by a San Francisco player. The down should have counted,” Leavy said after the game in quotes provided by the 49ers. “The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down.”
There’s no way to know how the game plays out if the correct ruling had been made, but the fact that it came in the second quarter makes it a little easier to accept than if it had happened on the last play of the game.