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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Around the NFC West: Bad officiating?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The San Francisco 49ers' game over the Detroit Lions in Week 6 featured more high-impact, controversial officiating decisions than usual.

I listed several of them following the game, but did not notice a biggie. Turns out officials gave the 49ers a 5-yard head start on their go-ahead touchdown drive in the final minutes.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers felt as though they got the short end of several officiating calls Sunday, but with the game on the line, referee Mike Carey and crew made a mistake in San Francisco's favor. The crew spotted the ball at the Detroit 35 following Ted Ginn Jr.'s 40-yard punt return in the fourth quarter even though Ginn had gone out of bounds at the 40. Noted: I went back and watched this sequence this morning. Sure enough, the 49ers got the ball at the 35 even though Ginn clearly went out of bounds at the 40.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee runs through the 49ers' winning drive against the Lions.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat finds fault with Jim Harbaugh's description of postgame handshakes as something he can improve upon, and the coach's reasoning for not offering an apology, notably that apologies seem like excuses to him. Cohn: "Oh boy, this is a whopper. Harbaugh sees the handshake as a task he can improve at like putting in golf. He does not see it as a courtesy or an issue of manners. Someone needs to help him with this. ... Apologies are excuses? This is an extraordinary point of view which contradicts everything we’ve learned about human behavior from the Bible to the ancient Greeks through Shakespeare up to the modern day. Someone in the Niners organization needs to explain to Jim Harbaugh the function of an apology in civilized society. And Harbaugh and (Jim) Schwartz need to apologize to each other and the world for acting like 2-year-olds."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams gave no timetable for when Sam Bradford might return from the high-ankle sprain he suffered against Green Bay. It is possible Bradford could play against Dallas in Week 7. Receiver Mark Clayton, coming off the physically unable to perform list, might have unwittingly put pressure on Bradford to play this week. Clayton: "Bradford's tough. He'll be able to rough it out. Ben Roethlisberger goes out there and plays with a broken ankle, broken ribs, broken neck."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' newest receiver, Brandon Lloyd, produced about as much in 2010 as all the Rams' receivers active in Week 6 have produced for their careers. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "Anybody that you go into a game as a defensive coach and say that you have to adjust things or change things defensively because of this person, that's pretty good. And I remember last year when we did game plan against (Lloyd) that we had to be aware of where he was and change some things coverage-wise. So that probably speaks volumes right there."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Roy Lewis, Deon Butler and Cameron Morrah will resume practicing for the team Wednesday after opening the season on the physically unable to perform list. Noted: Rules allow players to return from the PUP list after the first six weeks of the season, not necessarily the first six games.

Also from Farnsworth: Walter Thurmond says he's more than ready to start at cornerback for Seattle after Marcus Trufant landed on injured reserve.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says there's a chance Tarvaris Jackson could play for the Seahawks against Cleveland in Week 7. Coach Pete Carroll: "He’s thrown the ball a little bit, and so we’ll just take it one day at a time and see how he tolerates. He was running around here a little bit. He’s way ahead of any schedule that anybody would have thought of at this point, and we’ll see just where that takes us -- we don’t know."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says getting better play from Kevin Kolb stands as the top priority for the Cardinals coming out of their bye. Somers: "At this stage of the season, one performance, good or bad, can skew statistics. But those of us who have watched the Cardinals can trust our eyes, and what we've seen from Kolb lately hasn't been good. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket and he's not making plays when he's on the move. But If I'm a Cardinals coach or player, what's most troubling to me is that Kolb is missing open receivers. In Minnesota, he missed tight end Rob Housler twice: once wide open in the end zone and another time down the seam. (The Cardinals have tried hard to hit that tight end seam pass all year. Doing so a few times might make opponents think twice about keeping a safety over the top on Fitzgerald.) He's thrown behind and ahead of receivers."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic quotes Larry Fitzgerald as saying Cardinals players need to step up more than coaches at this point.