Nick Bosa Punished for Illegal Hit That Sidelined Vikings Starter

49ers' Nick Bosa Fine Blindside Block

Getty Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 08, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The NFL has decided to fine San Francisco 49ers rookie Nick Bosa for administering a blindside block that sidelined one of Minnesota’s starters during last week’s divisional game.

After Kirk Cousins threw an interception partway into the third quarter, Bosa delivered a blindside block to Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill that knocked him off his feet and left him down on the field until trainers were able to attend to him. The 49ers defensive end was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on the play, riling up the Vikings’ sideline, but the damage was already done as O’Neill headed straight for the locker room and did not return.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Bosa was fined $28,075 on Saturday for the hit that some of the Vikings, including head coach Mike Zimmer, called a “cheap shot” in the aftermath, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has continued to defend his prized rookie from the notion that he had intended to hurt O’Neill on the play.

“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 told reporters 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.”

After O’Neill exited the game, Bosa recorded two sacks in the fourth quarter to help the 49ers win 27-10 and advanced to this Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.

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Fine Likely Won’t Phase Nick Bosa

While Bosa will have to pay his fine and could have a bad reputation around Minnesota for a little while, it doesn’t seem likely he will carry around a negative stigma for long.

Not only does Bosa have the support of his head coach on the recent matter, but he has also earned praise from around the league after a terrific first NFL season. Earlier this week, the Pro Football Writers of America honored Bosa as both their Defensive Rookie of the Year and their overall NFL Rookie of the Year after making six tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and a pass breakup during his playoff debut last week.

Bosa finished his first regular season with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception while starting 14 of 16 games on one of 2019’s strongest defensive fronts. He earned the distinction of NFC Defensive Player of the Month during October and was later picked for the Pro Bowl, also receiving one vote for All-Pro as an edge rusher.

The 49ers will need the best from Bosa this Sunday night when they host the Packers for a chance to reach their first Super Bowl since 2013. The rookie was strong against Aaron Rodgers and his cohorts when the two teams met during Week 12 at Levi’s Stadium, recording one sack and recovering a fumble that helped jolt the 49ers ahead early on.

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