During the third quarter of Saturday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings, rookie Nick Bosa hit Brian O’Neill and was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
The hit from Bosa on O’Neill was deemed to be blindside, which has been banned. Here’s a look at the play, which took place as Richard Sherman was returning an interception.
After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he heard it called a “cheap shot” and agreed, and it’s clear the team was upset over the hit.
On Monday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan strongly pushed back against that notion.
“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, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Bay Area. “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.”
It’s easy to understand why the Vikings were upset. O’Neill never returned to the game after being diagnosed with a concussion. Minnesota’s offensive line was dominated all game long, and of course the Vikings were blown out and now have to deal with the frustration of failed expectations.
But looking at the video of Bosa hitting O’Neill, it sure doesn’t look like he was doing anything overly aggressive.