'Skins coach takes blame for penalty

September 24, 2012

Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan accepted responsibility Monday for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the final confusing seconds of a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The son of head coach Mike Shanahan issued a written statement vowing that such an incident ''will never happen again.'' Kyle Shanahan did not apologize in the statement, and the Redskins for the second straight day declined requests that he speak to reporters.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said he was reviewing Kyle Shanahan's actions from Sunday's game. Anderson has fined Denver Broncos head coach John Fox $30,000 and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $25,000 for verbally abusing officials during a Week 2 game, adding ''there is a longstanding NFL rule prohibiting verbal or physical abuse of game officials.''

Shanahan was whistled for berating an official as the Redskins were attempting to drive for a tying touchdown in the 38-31 defeat. Robert Griffin III spiked the ball with 7 seconds remaining at Cincinnati's 34-yard line, and tight end Fred Davis was called for a false start as the offense lined up for the next play.

At least one official apparently indicated - erroneously - that there would be a 10-second runoff because of the false start penalty, which would run out the clock. Cincinnati's coaches and players along the sideline then walked onto the field, thinking the game was over.

That's when the Redskins coaching staff - and Kyle Shanahan in particular - went livid.

''When I overheard the official tell the head coach that the game was over after the false start penalty, I tried to explain that the game was not over,'' Kyle Shanahan's statement said. ''That is what resulted in the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I tried to get an explanation of how I could get that penalty when half of the other team was on the field as well.

''I was frustrated, and in the process of trying to get some answers from the officials, I conducted myself in the wrong way. I ask our players to hold themselves to a high standard and be accountable and I know that I'm accountable for my actions as well. I know that I need to handle those situations better in the future. My emotions got the best of me and I know it's my responsibility. This will never happen again.''

The replacement officials - who are handling the games while the regulars are locked out in a labor dispute with the NFL - mistakenly marked off 20 yards for the penalty, instead of the customary 15. There was also the 5-yard penalty for the false start, so the ball ended up at Washington's 41, giving the Redskins a third-and-50, still with 7 seconds remaining.

The game ended on the next play, with Griffin heaving an incomplete pass downfield.

Asked if he was disappointed in his son's behavior, Mike Shanahan said: ''He thought the game was over. ... The official told me that the game was over. We knew the game shouldn't be over. They had half their football team on the field. What I was trying to do was get a personal foul (called on Cincinnati). ... That wasn't the difference in winning and losing the game. You would like cooler heads to prevail and that's what I expect.''

Mike Shanahan added he wasn't exactly a picture of calm himself.

''I'm not sure I was very cool in that situation,'' the head coach said. ''I was very, very strong with my words with the official letting him know it wasn't the end of the game. Now is that cooler heads prevailing? Or are you trying to get one more play and explain what the rules are in the National Football League?''

Asked if he thinks Kyle Shanahan should face league discipline, Mike Shanahan said: ''I think we'll let the powers that be take a look at what transpired on both sides and let them make the decision.''

The Redskins have now drawn unsportsmanlike penalties in back-to-back games while trying to drive for a tying score, but Kyle Shanahan's explanation came a day late and in a different manner compared to the previous one.

Receiver Joshua Morgan immediately accepted the blame for throwing the ball at cornerback Cortland Finnegan on Washington's final possession in a three-point loss to the St. Louis Rams a week earlier. The penalty turned a possible game-tying 47-yard field goal attempt into a 62-yard attempt that fell far short.

''I should've kept my calm,'' Morgan told reporters in the locker room after the game.

Asked if the coaching staff was setting a proper example for the players, Mike Shanahan said he doesn't think there should ever be an exception to his regular schedule that has his top assistants speaking to reporters only on Thursdays.

''We've got a process that we work through,'' Mike Shanahan said. ''And that's our process.''