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SANTA CLARA – Linebacker Dan Skuta was penalized a costly 15 yards for a controversial call of unnecessary roughness against Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians labeled Skuta’s hit as “a cheap shot.”
But the NFL, upon reviewing the called infraction, cleared Skuta’s name. He was not fined, Skuta confirmed on Wednesday.
When told that it’s easy to interpret the NFL determined the hit was legal, Skuta agreed, “That’s how I interpret it, too. But you can interpret it however you want.”
Skuta delivered a big hit Stanton at the end of a scramble for 7 yards in the third quarter. Stanton was in the process of sliding, but Skuta hit Stanton before he touched the ground. The 49ers were penalized 15 yards.
[MAIOCCO: Breakdown of every 49ers penalty this season]
On the next play, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis was called for a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty. (It's not known whether Willis was fined.) The Cardinals ended up scoring the go-ahead points on that drive.
Skuta admitted he was upset “a little bit” with Arian’s comment that Skuta's hit was dirty. Arians said the play could have ended Stanton’s career.
“He was just trying to defend his guy,” Skuta said. “It was his quarterback and he’s the offensive coordinator and head coach. I can see that. I care more about what (defensive coordinator) Vic (Fangio) thinks and what Coach (Jim) Harbaugh thinks.
“They said, ‘Keep playing hard and things will work out.’ ”
Skuta added, “I’m happy I didn’t get fined, but at the same time, it was still 15 yards. It still cost us.”