Replacement referee Ken Roan admitted he mistakenly gave the 49ers an extra timeout in San Francisco’s 24-13 loss to Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
With 3:33 remaining, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout immediately after a running play by the Vikings’ Toby Gerhart. After calling the timeout, Harbaugh then challenged whether Gerhart fumbled.
On review, Roan ruled that Gerhart did fumble, and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis recovered it. Roan gave the timeout back to the 49ers.
“So he called a timeout immediately after the play was over,” Roan told the pool reporter, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. “Then realizing that, ‘Hey this is something that I want to challenge, but I just used my last timeout, can I challenge and get my timeout back? How does that work?’
“He asked the guys on the side and they came over and got me. What I told him was, ‘Well, you challenged it not knowing what the result of the play was going to be.’ So I granted him the challenge and we went and looked at it. That was wrong. I should not have.
“My interpretation of it was that he could do that based upon the time factors and not knowing it was a challengeable play to begin with when he called timeout.”
The 49ers should have been out of timeouts, but the 49ers were allowed to challenge another Gerhart fumble with 2:18 remaining in the game. This time, Gerhart was ruled to have recovered his own fumble.