Denver coach John Fox didn't mince words when asked about the officiating snafu in the fourth quarter Sunday that held up the game for five minutes after the replacement officials ruled that the Broncos illegally challenged a play.
Eventually, the officials relented, and the play stood, leaving the 49ers in fourth-and-4 at the Denver 14-yard-line after a fumble by QB Scott Tolzien was recovered by TE Konrad Reuland. But getting to that point was tricky because the officials assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that would have given the 49ers first-and-goal.
"Well, they're wrong," Fox said. "I was actually challenging the spot, whether the guy was down or not, because had he been down, they recovered it and last time I looked, when you're on offense and get the ball back, that's not a turnover.
"You can challenge that, and I was actually challenging the spot."
Both Fox and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh were at times apoplectic over the officiating during the 49ers' 29-24 win, which was pockmarked with inconsistency, particularly on holding calls. At the start of the second half, Fox engaged in an animated, gesture-filled discussion with referee Bruce Hermansen, and both head coaches wandered 15 yards or more onto the field during the second half to protest calls.