49ers Shanahan

n the past month, two San Francisco 49ers potential game-winning drives were ended by questionable or botched offensive pass-interference calls. We take a look at the official 2017 NFL rulebook to see how the league defines the illegal pick play OPI penalty that ended the Niners’ final drive on Sunday.


The 0-6 San Francisco 49ers aren’t a good football team. Their opponents certainly shouldn’t need help from the officials.

Just three weeks removed from a phantom offensive pass-interference penalty on rookie wide receiver Trent Taylor that ended the 49ers’ chance for victory against the Los Angeles Rams, the zebras struck again on Sunday.

With 23 seconds remaining on the game clock and down by two points, the 49ers were on the edge of kicker Robbie Gould’s field-goal range. On second down from the Washington Redskins 40-yard line, head coach Kyle Shanahan called a slant-flat combo to the left side of the field, intending to put the team a little closer for a potential game-winning field goal.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard took the snap and looked toward receiver Pierre Garçon’s slant route. Meanwhile, Redskins linebacker Zach Brown — responsible for running back Carlos Hyde’s flat route — was oblivious to the snap while looking back into the secondary to communicate with safety J.D. Swearinger.

When Brown finally realized the play had already begun, he quickly raced to the flat to cover Hyde. As Beathard saw Garçon open on the slant and fired it to his receiver, Brown ran though Garçon — knocking him to the ground — and the pass fell incomplete.

No one was surprised when a yellow flag quickly flew in the direction of the play — until the penalty was called on Garçon.

The 49ers were penalized 10 yards for offensive pass interference, and with no timeouts and limited time on the clock, two plays later, the team’s hopes for victory were crushed.

So what does the official 2017 NFL rulebook say about this offensive pass interference penalty commonly known as an illegal pick play?


About the Author: Chris Wilson

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