Officiating error gives 49ers extra third-down play

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco 49ers got an extra third-down play in the first half because of an officiating error — and scored a touchdown on it.

After a third-and-6 play at the Green Bay 10-yard line in the second quarter, Colin Kaepernick was hit out of bounds by Clay Matthews. The Green Bay linebacker drew a personal foul penalty, but so did 49ers tackle Joe Staley for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Because both penalties came after the play ended with Kaepernick stepping out of bounds without gaining a first down, it should have become fourth down. The league said the penalties were dead-ball fouls and the ball should have been spotted at the Packers 6, making it fourth-and-2.

However, game officials gave the 49ers another third-and-6 play, and they scored a touchdown on Kaepernick’s 10-yard pass to Anquan Boldin.

Had it been correctly marked as fourth down, they likely would have kicked a field goal. Instead, the Niners went ahead 14-7. San Francisco won 34-28.

The rule in question states:

“Dead ball fouls by both teams are offset at the succeeding spot, and the down counts, and any disqualified player or players must be removed …”

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