In a recent article by NBC Sports, the National Football League has admitted giving San Francisco a five-yard head start on what turned out to be the game winning drive during Detroit's 25-19 loss on Sunday. The snafu occurred following a television timeout after 49ers' return man Ted Ginn stepped out of bounds at the 35-yard line. It wasn't picked up by telecasts, or the Lions for that matter, either.
"The officiating crew incorrectly spotted the ball at the Detroit 35 instead of the 40 where Ted Ginn went out of bounds,” acknowledged the league through ESPN.com.
The 49ers ended up scoring on a 6-yard play on the fourth down, in which tight end Delanie Walker's knee collided with the turf just as the ball crossed the plane.
Not acknowledged by the league, and perhaps more inconspicuous, was the nine-yard scamper by 49ers' RB Kendall Walker that occurred on the same drive. After being hit four yards into his run, Walker's forearm clearly struck the turf, but he was able to regain balance and manage another five yards. The Lions did not challenge the run, despite replays showing that Walker was down by contact.
As NBC Sports' author Michael David Smith noted, the Ginn mishap was par for the course on a horribly officiated contest -- most of the errant calls favoring the visiting squad.
Said Smith, "Others included wrongly ruling that Matthew Stafford’s forward progress had been stopped in the end zone on a safety, a bad call on a horse-collar tackle and a questionable chop block flag on Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The chop block was particularly costly ... instead of having first-and-goal at the 8, the Lions had second-and-25 at the 38, and they ended up settling for a 52-yard field goal attempt, which they missed."
Hanson's miss gave the 49ers' enough field position to manage their own field goal, and a costly six-point -- and possibly 10 point -- swing that changed the game.
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