49ers score on 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.

The touchdown gave the 49ers a 14-7 lead with 8:57 remaining. At that point, according to ESPN Stats & Information's win probability calculator, the 49ers had a 76.6 percent chance to win.

If the correct ruling was applied, assuming the 49ers attempted and made a field goal on fourth down to give them a 10-7 lead, their win probability would only have been 64.5 percent, a difference of 12.1 percent. San Francisco won 34-28.

"The down should have counted," referee Bill Leavy said after the game. "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."

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 ..."

When asked if he was aware of the mistake, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, "Yes. I mean, I'm aware of it now.

"Hey, that's part of the game. The ball doesn't always bounce your way."

As for his hit on Kaepernick, Matthews said it "wasn't very smart."

"I had already committed to hitting the quarterback. I guess I should have figured he was going to step out of bounds," Matthews said. "But it's nothing personal. I went up to him later and was joking around with him. But not a very smart play. And that's kind of the end of that."

Said Kaepernick: "If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one."

Information from ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky and Bill Williamson and The Associated Press was used in this report.