Unnecessary roughness non-call had huge impact on Chiefs’ comeback

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As the 49ers tried to cling to and/or build upon a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play, a big hit near the sideline could have changed the complexion of the game.

On a third and 14 scramble, Chiefs defensive back Rashad Fenton gave 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a hard shove at the sideline. Garoppolo went flying to the ground well out of bounds, prompting an outcry from some on the San Francisco bench to call for a personal foul.

The FOX broadcast never showed a replay of the hit, opting instead to scrutinize a potential uncalled offside on the front end of the play, when defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon seemed to jump early. It was close on both ends of the play, but the offside would have given the 49ers a third and nine from their 39. A personal foul for unnecessary roughness would have given the 49ers a fresh set of downs from their own 49 — with roughly 9:45 to play.

The non-call on Fenton fell into the gulf of discretion that officials exercise routinely; if the flag had been thrown for the hard shove, the Chiefs would have complained, but it would have been in line with penalties called in other circumstances, especially given the modern sensitivity to protecting quarterbacks even when they become running backs.

The better approach is to treat quarterbacks who become running backs like running backs who are running backs; as long as the hit happens in bounds, it doesn’t matter if the hit sends the player flying hard into the ground on the other side of the white line. Still, in that instant, the judgment call (resulting in the non-call) helped lay the foundation for Kansas City’s offensive explosion.

62 responses to “Unnecessary roughness non-call had huge impact on Chiefs’ comeback

  1. That was nowhere near a penalty. However, Garoppolo did get hit with a helmet to helmet on one of his throws in the 4th, but Mahomes also got a hand to the face on one of his hits in the pocket in the 3rd.

    What you are severely overlooking is the fact that the Chiefs became more aggressive in the 4th, blitzing more frequently, and Jimmy G did NOT handle the pressure well.

  2. Coming from a Niner fan that was a clean hit. They did miss what should have been an easy helmet to helmet call and an obvious hold on Bosa on 3rd and 15, but Jimmy G left too many open looks out there to put away the game when they should have.

  3. Qb was like a full yard in bounds. Wasnt even close. This game seemed like it was pretty well officiated.

  4. Just because Garoppolo looked like he got shot from a shove, doesn’t mean this game has to go directly to flag football. Great no call, plus the limited flags overall was refreshing.

  5. Give me a break! The shove occurred while Garoppolo was in bounds. How is that a penalty? Didn’t hit his head. Soft shove and stays in bounds and skips down the sideline for a first down. It’s the Super Bowl. Good call.

  6. Well, it would definitely have been flagged if it was Brady, but Jimmy just doesn’t have as much street cred yet.

  7. The hit doesn’t even matter. How do you miss that offsides? And how does the broadcast not show a replay of it? Do they not know that we have these things call DVRs? Anyone who wanted to see it… could. And we did. Blatant offsides… not called. It’s not even a judgement call. You’re either on one side of the line of scrimmage, or you’re past it. There’s no gray area.

    The judgement calls that were pretty ridiculous were the Kittle “interference” and the “defensive pass interference” that set the Chiefs up on the goal line.

    Had these all gone the other way, would they change the outcome of the game? I have no idea. 49ers played pretty badly. Garropolo was missing wide open receivers. They abandoned the run, not learning from the Ravens and Titans mistakes earlier in the playoffs when they completely abandoned what worked for them all season. Shanahan basically fell victim to the same playcalling that helped contribute to that 28-3 collapse.

    Anyway… wake me up when the schedule release gets here.

  8. patriotmaleorgy says:
    February 3, 2020 at 8:15 pm
    Only Brady is getting that call in the super bowl. They don’t miss opportunities to throw flags on their opponents.
    How much does Kraft charge for all that real estate he owns in your head??

  9. Correct no-call. The runner (who happens to play QB) had not given himself up, or even pretended to give himself up, and was inbound running forward, not sprinting for the sideline. I’m very much in favor of protecting QBs, but they have to take the onus and go into protective mode, such as sliding or sprinting for the sideline.

  10. The supposed offsides looked more like a false start by the guard. Replays show that pretty clearly. If the guard and the DT move at the same time, it’s a false start.

    Shanahan having a guy looked like a “call for help” as the tides had turned.

  11. Yeah the bigger problem was the coach crapping his pants. 3 minutes left and his head is in the play sheet. LIKE YOU DONT HAVE A 2 MINUTE, WIN THE GAME OFFENSE ALREADY MAPPED OUT?? And if you don’t, that’s even worse.

  12. The Chiefs are one hit wonders anyways. Mahomes has his one and only Lombardi and that’s all he’s gonna get so he better enjoy it

  13. the niners shouldve layed mahomes out on a similar play. at worse wouldve been a 3 yard penalty and half distance to the goal

    niners didnt deserve to win

  14. All the if and but scenarios is comical. If Jimmy G ate a second bowl of Wheaties, they would’ve won, etc. It’s not as if a team just acts in isolation. There is another team trained to stop you from doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. If they called it unsportsmanlike they outcome could’ve been different, sure, but we have no clue what all would be different. I think it’s time to tip the cap to both teams for having great seasons and playing an awesome super bowl.

  15. One problemo. He was obviously heading out of bounds, not trying to eck more yards. The defender raced to push him hard before he got there. Dirty football in my mind.
    Didn’t matter, had the o line done there job he may not have had to run.
    Piss poor game for niners

  16. the boradcast didnt show the replay because was clear and obvius even in live action that the qb was pushed still in bounds. nothing to see there

  17. 1. Was the hit when the runner ( QB ) was in bounds?

    If Yes – no foul

    If no – foul

    It’s that simple.
    Just because a runner (qb) takes a hit doesn’t mean its a foul. Its called football, not soccer.

  18. I loved it, the referees let them play like men for the entire game! There were many ticky tacky calls that the ref’s could have made but they kept their flags in the pocket!

    Congrats to that group of refs!

  19. KC fans can say whatever they want. KC and Mahomes were outplayed for 3 and a half quarters. Holding on KC was atrocious, every other play they were dragging bosa Buckner and Armstead down. Officiating was horrible in this game, and the Refs gave KC enough to keep them in the game, when they shouldn’t have been. Good job NFL your bias officiating was on full display again.

  20. The offsides not being called was inexcusable…but the refs showed their cards before half when kittle got the OPI. Most of the holding on every play against SF’s D-line was forgivable under the circumstances that ” just let them play” but the OPI showed the rooting interest, and the crew wasn’t just letting the guys play in the biggest game of their lives. I will say the tackling of Armstead on the chiefs’ goalie was another inexcusable call. Dee ford getting bear hugged on Mahomes run to the 3 was horrendous, and the helmet to helmet hit on Jimmy G under 2 :30 in the game just added insult to the one sided officiating.

    Niners fans have endured a barrage of one sided officiating in their last 4 big games (Super bowls and nfc championship games) and I’m wondering when we will get a call (like the Steelers in their last 2 “championships”).

  21. I’m sure if Mahomes was shoved out like that a flury of flags would have errupted. Not to mention that dirty helmet to helmet shot. Both of those plays changed the game, not to mention the phantom push off from Kittle that never happened.

  22. The refs also didn’t call it when a 49er defender slapped Mahommes in the helmet on another play. I’m fine with the calls (and non-calls) in that game. The refs let both teams play and the game was called evenly. I’m a Seahawks fan, so I didn’t have a dog in the fight.

  23. Definitely a legal play on the sidelines; Garoppolo was still in bounds. Look at the photo accompanying this article — Fenton has completed his push still a good yard in bounds and Jimmy G’s right foot is just then coming down out of bounds. Florio’s mention of this play is highly ironic, given his vocal advocacy for DBs to hit a running QB hard and risk the penalty. Fenton did just that. And it was a push, a hard push, not a hit or tackle.

    There were two good examples of how to hit a running QB hard, both against Mahomes. The first came in the first quarter inside the five-yard line and forced Mahomes to fumble out of bounds. The second came in the fourth quarter, also at the five. Both were clean, solid hits. I didn’t like that they came against my QB, but they were good football plays.

    A far better case could be made for the missed helmet-to-helmet. Niemann hit Garoppolo near the helmet, and Garoppolo’s head hit the turf hard. That could have been called. It was a bang-bang play, and Vinovich’s view may have been shielded by Garoppolo’s body.

  24. This was known that it was going to happen. The NFL doesn’t directly fix games, but they do love their storylines and use the officials to steer things the way Park Avenue wants. They wanted Andy to win, plain and simple. And they weren’t going to do something so brazen and stupid as start fixing toward Andy outright, but anyone with a functioning brain knew the Chiefs were going to get calls/non-calls their way and Niners wouldn’t.

  25. The Chiefs O-Line is the greatest in NFL history to run 54 total plays against the best D-Line in the league and not get called for holding once. LMAO. The fix was clearly in. Watch Fisher, Bosa on the 3rd & 15 play to Hill late 4th Q. Bosa got bear-hugged not once but twice on that play. That one play changed the game

  26. ninersolid says:
    February 3, 2020 at 10:41 pm
    KC fans can say whatever they want. KC and Mahomes were outplayed for 3 and a half quarters
    They were never outplayed in that game. Chiefs raised their game a couple notches in the 4th quarter and the Niners had no idea what hit them. Blame whomever you want but it won’t change the outcome. Chiefs we’re just better.

  27. I remember seeing this live and thinking “what a dumb, dumb, move by Breeland”

    Sure, it shouldn’t have been called but why give the refs a chance to throw a flag? Breeland came very close to being the most hated man in KC.

  28. theimmaculatedeception says:
    February 4, 2020 at 9:24 am
    The Chiefs O-Line is the greatest in NFL history to run 54 total plays against the best D-Line in the league and not get called for holding once. LMAO. The fix was clearly in. Watch Fisher, Bosa on the 3rd & 15 play to Hill late 4th Q. Bosa got bear-hugged not once but twice on that play. That one play changed the game.


    The KC Chiefs interior lineman have had ONE holding call levied against them since week 10 when Mahomes returned from his kneecap injury. Yeah, I’d say “the fix was in” too.

  29. I call BS. I have watched the video several times. Garoppolo was past the line of scrimmage, and still had both feet inbounds when contact occurred. He was no longer a QB, but a RB, by rule and he was still eligible to be hit. Remember the 27 yard TD run by Mahomes? He looks like he’s going out of bounds, but turned it up field. Fenton did not put a shoulder or helmet into him. He shoved him with his hands.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with that play. It was fully within the rules. Nobody will convince me otherwise.

  30. How would this be justified as a penalty. I saw plenty of hits this season on QBs who become running backs and decide not to slide, they were not flagged . . . so the framing of this push out of bounds as something that was routinely flagged during the season is FAKE NEWS.

    Look at the hit on Wentz that wasn’t flagged, because they said he had become a runner. He was on the ground and there was helmet to helmet contact and the lowering of a shoulder, even after the NFL reviewed the play there was no fine. This article shouldn’t even have been concieved no less written.

  31. It’s just kinda pathetic of the niner fans whining about calls. They got beat, plain and simple and refreshingly, the game was pretty well officiated.

  32. I thought the Offensive PI call against Kittle was really bad, especially since I recall a later play where there was a holding of a receiver by the Chiefs which was not called. If a guy is just a little out of bounds, don’t call it, but if he is close to the bench, then it should be called.

  33. Well officiated?? What game were you watching stop being a homer and be objective. Mahomes gets hit out of bounds flag fest. Mahomes gets helmet to helmet flag fest. Officiating was awful and the Chiefs won because of garbage officiating. NFL had their feel good story line and they had to keep the Chiefs in the game just long enough to win. Not to mention the 80+ yards of holding penalties that should have been called on KC. What a joke!

  34. When Watkins threw Brock down 7yds past the line of scrimmage on that 60yd TD against the Titans and he didn’t get called for OPI, instead they called it on Brock for DPI, I knew right then the fix was in and the Chiefs would win the SB so I didn’t even bother watching!

    WWE ain’t got nothing on the NFL!

  35. The fact that Niner fans are whining about officiating says more about them than the officiating.

    Those of us who didn’t have a team in the game saw a well officiated game without refs trying to become the game.


  36. Make the call that would be made in every other game this season. That helmet to helmet play “if called correctly” gives SF the ball on the KC 48 with a 1st and 10. GAME OVER! Call the OBVIOUS PENALTY if KC is stupid enough to commit the penalty, then they can live with the outcome. Stop changing the rules for the SB.

  37. It was a decent acting job by garoppolo, but the refs didn’t fall for it. Shanahan began early in the week trying to work the officials by saying the Chiefs’ DB’s hold. The refs were awesome. The players determined the outcome.

  38. Put this together with the BS OPI call and you can see how the league was paving the way to a bigger market for their new superstar.

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