SANTA CLARA – Defensive end Nick Bosa paid the price Saturday with a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. He also is subject to a fine of $28,075 for his blindside block on Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O'Neill.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, while admitting Bosa committed a penalty, defended the rookie from cries that the play was dirty.
“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 Monday. “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.”
Bosa made the block on O’Neill after Richard Sherman intercepted a pass from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third quarter of the 49ers’ 27-10 victory in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium. O’Neill did not return to the game after being evaluated for a concussion.
Afterward, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he believed Bosa's hit was a cheap shot.
Shanahan said the play will serve as a teaching point to his players on those quick-change plays. Shanahan said players are taught not to initiate contact with a player whose head is turned and not ready to engage.
“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.”