Kyle Shanahan, 49ers players weigh in on poor officiating from loss to Browns

There are poorly officiated football games, and then there's what happened in Week 6 between the 49ers and Browns.
NFL referee John Hussey (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R)
NFL referee John Hussey (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R) / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

53. 49ers Browns final. 17. 42. Final. 19

Both the 49ers and Browns would likely admit how bad the officiating was in Week 6, and a number of Niners had something to say about it.

The San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns were bitter adversaries against each other in the rainy and sloppy conditions of their Week 6 game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday.

Yet both teams (and fanbases) are probably unified in admitting just how bad the officiating was during the game, and it definitely hindered both squads at various points througout the contest.

For those wondering, here is the penalty breakdown for both teams:

  • 49ers: 12 penalties, 105 yards
  • Browns: 13 penalties, 119 yards

Referee John Hussey and his crew definitely had a bad day, including more than a handful of blatantly wrong calls and abysmal gaffes, including calling penalties on the wrong team (that didn't work in favor of Niners cornerback Ambry Thomas, however).

Going after the officiating is usually low-hanging fruit, and poor calls weren't the prime reason why San Francisco lost 19-17 on Sunday.

But, as one can imagine, the reaction to just how bad the calls were is pretty harsh.

Two calls of many stand out, including an apparent fumble by Cleveland quarterback P.J. Walker that appeared to come loose and was recovered by edge Nick Bosa but was ruled on the field as an incomplete pass (including intentional grounding). You can check out that play here.

The other was a late hit by safety Tashaun Gipson on a 3rd-and-10 play late in the fourth quarter, which ultimately gave the Browns a new set of downs and resulted in them getting what turned into a game-winning field goal.

The hit, which can be seen here, even prompted both the Fox broadcasting crew and their rules analyst, Dean Blandino, to disagree with Hussey's crew.

To no avail, though.

After the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan and a number of other players were asked about the penalties and offered up some pretty intriguing comments.

49ers speak out on poor officiating from Week 6 vs. Browns

Of the missed fumble, Bosa said he thought "in real time that it was a fumble." But Shanahan's comments were far more direct:

"Yeah, I thought it was a fumble. I thought he underhand threw it, and I thought it came loose on his two thumbs and that's why he just pushed it. And the ball came out very unnaturally for a pass because I thought the ball was loose before he did it."

Shanahan also cited the replay, which is the evidence most 49ers fans had, too.

As far as Gipson's hit, the head coach wasn't overly happy about that call either:

"It looked like the receiver was coming in there, jumping, too. It looked like they touched helmets from where I was. So I don't have much of an opinion. It just didn't look that violent. But I'll see when I watch the film. I know what the rules are."

That play seemed to turn the momentum back in Cleveland's favor for good, and the go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) field goal made its mark.

Although the Niners had a chance to win on a last-second field-goal try by rookie kicker Jake Moody, many players pointed out the other mistakes and missed chances that derailed their opportunity to go 6-0 on the season.

Including linebacker Fred Warner, who said, "Our mentality is always next play, best play mentality every single time we step out there, so I wouldn't worry about [the call on Gipson] one bit."

Read more from Niner Noise