Friday, December 23, 2011
Around the NFC West: Candlestick's light fix
By Mike Sando
San Francisco officials are running a power sweep at Candlestick Park after the stadium went dark twice during the 49ers' recent victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News has the details from Mayor Ed Lee: "Investigators have known the first outage shortly before kickoff was caused when the main power line that feeds the stadium broke. Now, Lee said an investigation by state utilities officials and city fire inspectors showed the second outage at the beginning of the second quarter was caused by a malfunctioning switch on the stadium's backup power system. Lee said officials expect to start replacing the switch Friday and should have the work completed by the middle of next week. He said officials will test the new equipment before putting it into use."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says cold weather in Seattle and concerns about having Patrick Willis ready for the playoffs could lead to the 49ers giving Willis' injured hamstring additional recovery time. Maiocco: "With temperature at Qwest Field expected to be in the mid-40s with showers in the forecast, the 49ers will have to weigh the risk of playing Willis when Larry Grant has done a good job in his absence. The 49ers want Willis healthy for the playoffs." Noted: Willis returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. It's unlikely the team would rush him back into a game situation only two days after Willis returned on a limited basis. It's an upset if Willis plays Saturday.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams guard Harvey Dahl has become a bit of an online sensation after referee Jerome Boger's microphone caught Dahl using choice language while disputing a holding call Sunday. Thomas: "Although what transpired Sunday wasn't exactly what the Rams had in mind when they signed him to a four-year, $16 million free-agent contract from Atlanta on July 31, they did want an offensive lineman with toughness and attitude. And that's what Dahl has delivered this season." Noted: The call did seem pretty weak, although the replay angle I saw did not allow for a clear view of the play. Boger also made questionable calls while working the Houston-Indianapolis game Thursday night.
Also from Thomas: Sam Bradford almost certainly will not play against the Steelers in Week 16.
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steven Jackson is looking forward to his first career game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Jackson needs 34 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Nelson: "Jackson would join elite company. The only other backs to reach the milestone seven consecutive times are Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin and LaDainian Tomlinson." Noted: Jackson figures to reach 1,000 even though the Rams face two tough run defenses to close the season. They return from Pittsburgh to face the 49ers in the final game of the regular season.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com previews the pending matchup between Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and Bengals receiver A.J. Green. Urban: "In Green’s two games against LSU while Peterson was playing, he had three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown in a Georgia win and five for 99 and a score in a 2009 loss. This year, he already has become the Bengals’ top pass target, catching 61 passes for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns already. Peterson, who has been hooking up against the opponents’ top receivers for a few games now, figures to shadow his former college nemesis."
Also from Urban: Calais Campbell's dominance is easy to see despite his role as a 3-4 defensive end. Urban: "Campbell is third on the Cardinals in tackles -- 65, trailing the 89 of both Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington, linebackers -- an impressive feat for any defensive lineman. He leads the team in sacks with seven. His nine passes defenses (nothing like a good knockdown at the line of scrimmage) is by far the most of any player who doesn’t play in the secondary. And his 10 tackles for loss is second only to Washington’s 13."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says he'll be "very surprised" if Kevin Kolb starts at quarterback against the Bengals even though coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't saying much.
Also from Somers: Adrian Wilson broke a recent boycott of local reporters.
More from Somers: Second-year outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield has made significant strides.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are getting big results from their big secondary. O'Neil: "Seattle has 21 interceptions this season, already its most in any season since 2004. The secondary has accounted for all but five of those picks, and of the five turnovers Seattle forced in Chicago last week, the secondary produced four of them. The Seahawks have the youngest secondary in the NFL. They might also have the most unlikely. One starting cornerback played the past four years in Canada. That would be the 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner, and all he's done is become the first Seahawk since Eugene Robinson in 1991 to intercept a pass in four consecutive games. Then there's Richard Sherman, who's 6-3. He's a rookie who was catching passes up until three years ago at Stanford, not defending them."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com offers post-practice notes, including result from a locker room dance-off between Sherman and defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. Sherman: "I am definitely claiming victory. I put a couple of things on tape that he was unable to match. He put a lot of good plays out there with the ‘wheel chair.’ He pulled out all the stops. It was an incredibly impressive effort from a 300-pounder."