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NFL: Bad spot gave 49ers 5-yard edge

10/18/2011

An NFL spokesman has acknowledged an officiating error giving the San Francisco 49ers a head start on their winning touchdown drive against the Detroit Lions.

The error gave the 49ers possession at the Detroit 35-yard line after punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. had gone out of bounds at the 40 with 5:29 remaining in the game. The Lions held a 19-15 lead at the time, but the 49ers eventually went ahead with a 6-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-goal.

"The officiating crew incorrectly spotted the ball at the Detroit 35 instead of the 40 where Ted Ginn went out of bounds," the spokesman said in an email.

What's five yards among friends?