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Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Around the NFC West: Feeley also hurt

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams managed only 157 yards Sunday, their lowest total since the final game of the 2009 season, when the team finished with a 1-15 record.

The team is now averaging less than one offensive touchdown per game.

Losing backup quarterback A.J. Feeley isn't going to suddenly derail something special, in other words. Still, news that Feeley suffered a broken thumb as Sam Bradford's replacement during a 26-0 defeat at San Francisco carried a what-could-possibly-happen-next feel.

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis says the team isn't sure what the injury means for Feeley, or whether Bradford will return from his ankle injury in time to start at Seattle in Week 14. Coach Steve Spagnuolo: "We'll probably proceed the same way we did last week. When we get to Wednesday we'll decide just how much exertion we want to put on the ankle because the less you put on it, the better off he is when you get down to a game-type decision. That's how these high ankle sprains operate. We'll probably tread lightly Wednesday, the same on Thursday. I don't know, we'll see how Sam feels."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says there's a chance Tom Brandstater could be active and/or start for the Rams at Seattle. Noted: That would be rough. Then again, the team's scoring would not decline from last week.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers thoughts on various Rams subjects, including the team's owner. Miklasz: "So let me see if I understand this correctly: Rams owner Stan Kroenke shows up for the game in San Francisco, visits the locker room after the game, shakes a few hands, says hello to a couple of reporters ... and now we're supposed to make him St. Louis Man of the Year? How about we nominate him for a Nobel Prize? Really, it's come to this? Praising the owner because he appears at his team's game? Moreover, Kroenke's visits to the locker room aren't unusual. I don't see what the big deal is. Maybe I missed something. I guess you had to be there."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams could be without starting left guard Jacob Bell for the remainder of the season.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers expect linebacker Patrick Willis to miss the upcoming game against Arizona, most likely. Maiocco: "Willis will not require any kind of surgery -- just rest, the source said. The 49ers will have their first practice of the week on Wednesday to begin preparations to face the Cardinals. After Sunday's game, the 49ers will next play Monday, Dec. 19, against the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Also from Maiocco: Jim Tomsula's thoughts on the 49ers' success in the context of what came before.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers thoughts from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on multiple topics. Harbaugh says the team ought to construct a statue honoring Frank Gore.

Also from Inman: Joe Staley asks 49ers fans to cease with the wave.

Keith Goldner of Advance NFL Stats takes a closer look at the 49ers' defense and says, "That's what happens when you have a matchup between the league's worst offense and the second-best defense."

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Kevin Kolb played well for the Cardinals when they needed him Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "He got a better feel for the game as it went on. It was nice for him to make those strides. That will give us confidence moving forward, especially if we can continue to run the football."

Also from McManaman: The Cardinals' defense keeps improving. McManaman: "Some critics may contend that it's simply been more a byproduct of the competition. True, two of the wins have come against the 2-10 St. Louis Rams. But two of them also came against the often explosive offenses of the Eagles and Cowboys. And this week, the defense gets a chance to make a serious statement against a 10-2 49ers team whose offense will never be confused with the Packers or the Saints."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune profiles Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times has this to say about the NFL assigning Bill Leavy as referee for the Seahawks' game against St. Louis in Week 14: "Sure, he was the referee of Seattle's Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh, which featured several calls that were scrutinized. Leavy admitted last year to making mistakes that he had a hard time living with. But he's officiated Seattle games since then. None when Mike Holmgren was the coach, mind you, but he was the referee for Seattle's game at San Francisco in Week 2 of 2010, he refereed the Seahawks' exhibition game in Denver and he was even the official of Seattle's game at Pittsburgh in Week 2. So the fact that he will be officiating a game in Seattle for the first time since the Super Bowl should be the next step in putting those officiating mistakes in the past, right?"