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Referee admits to error that gave 49ers an extra down

The 49ers were the benefactor of an official's error Sunday, giving San Francisco an extra down on which it scored a touchdown in Sunday's 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Head referee Bill Leavy admitted after the game that he mistakenly ruled a replay of third down after offsetting penalties by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley followed a Colin Kaepernick scramble in the second quarter.

"On the play where the quarterback (Kaepernick) went out of bounds and was hit late out of bounds, and then there was a subsequent hit by a San Francisco player, the down should have counted," Leavy said. "The penalties were both dead ball and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down."

Asked if it should have been fourth-and-2 instead of third-and-6, Leavy replied, "Correct."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy provided further explanation on the play in question, which set up a 10-yard touchdown catch by 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin on the next snap.

"The down ended when Kaepernick stepped out of bounds," McCarthy said. "Both the late hit by Matthews and the unnecessary roughness foul on Staley are considered dead-ball fouls. As a result, the down should have counted and the fouls offset at the dead-ball spot, making it fourth-and-2 at the 6-yard line.

"The officiating crew erroneously offset the fouls as if they were live-ball fouls and replayed third down."

The instant accountability is nice to see, but it doesn't change the painful result for the Packers.

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