Kyle Shanahan defends Nick Bosa against “cheap shot” accusation

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San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa picked up a 15-yard penalty for an illegal blindside block on Minnesota offensive tackle Brian O'Neill on Sunday, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says Bosa wasn’t trying to do anything dirty.

Asked about comments from the Vikings that Bosa had hit O’Neill with a “cheap shot,” Shanahan took issue with that.

“I think people say ‘cheap shot’ when somebody gets hit violently and to me ‘cheap shot’ means your intent is to try to hurt someone,” Shanahan said, via “And I don’t think he’s thinking about that at all. That’s a normal block in football for a long time. The guy wasn’t completely out of the play. It was a guy who could’ve made the tackle, and Bosa went and hit him. That’s a rule. You can’t do that right now. You can’t hit a guy in that position.”

Shanahan said he’s going to make sure the 49ers’ defensive players are well versed on the rules about how they can block after an interception, which Bosa may not have understood.

“Basically got 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 got to do. And that’s what we’ll coach him up to do because you will get a penalty for that. But to say it’s a cheap shot means you’re trying to hurt someone and stuff, and I know that wasn’t the case.”

O’Neill did not return to the game after the hit from Bosa.

20 responses to “Kyle Shanahan defends Nick Bosa against “cheap shot” accusation

  1. Considering it’s the only time he’s ever been accused of anything like that I think it’s safe to say it was just a rookie defensive player making a mistake on offense. That d line , AKA chef boy-r-defense and the Spaghetti Uh-Ohs, don’t need to play cheap. Leave that to Clowney and his kind.

  2. At the rate things are going, by the time the next generation gets old enough to follow the sport they’ll consider any physical contact a cheap shot.

  3. Not a cheap shot. It’s ridiculous that you can’t block a player just because he doesn’t happen to be looking at you. That was a legal play for years. I can see that you could reduce injuries by changing this rule, but I think the rookie was just acting instinctively in that situation.

  4. I am sure that 300 lbs lineman was not running towards Sherman to congratulate him on his interception. He was looking to hit him. Got hit instead. That is football.

  5. It certainly was a cheap shot. It’s called a “blind side block” and put the opposing player out of the game — that’s why it’s illegal. If it had happened to a 49ers player, Shanahan would have been squawking like crazy.

  6. I agree with Shanahan. It was a penalty, not a deliberate attempt to injure, like other plays do.
    Clowneys hit on Wentz was far worse.
    Myles Garrett is dirty.

  7. well- even if he wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt O’Neill… Shanahan’s excuse that the play was legal for a lot of years is bogues…. Bosa is a rookie so he’s never played in a league where this type of block was legal….. just saying…..

  8. I would agree if not for two major things: #1 that type of block has ALWAYS been illegal for Bosa. Pee Wee, High School, NCAA and NFL. That hit has never been allowed for Bosa.

    #2 He launched himself at O’Neil when O’Neil was looking the opposite direction. Both of Bosa’s feet left the ground because he was trying to hit O’Neil as hard as possible. He hit him much higher and much harder than he needed too if he was just trying block him. Bosa was trying to lay him out, and he succeeded.

    I’m sure not losing any sleep over it, but I don’t know how that doesn’t qualify as a cheap shot.

  9. That was the picture of a cheap shot.

    Made no difference in the play. Just a punk trying to injure someone.

  10. the fact that this WASN’T a cheap shot, but the guy didn’t return is the exact reason why they made the play illegal. as soon as i saw it i knew that bosa was getting 15 and i felt pretty certain trainers were coming on the field.

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