49ers notes: Not a smooth day for refs in Detroit


49ers notes: Not a smooth day for refs in Detroit

DETROIT -- It wasn't a smooth day for referee Mike Carey and his crew Sunday.And the 49ers felt as if they got the short end of several calls in their 25-19 victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.Receiver Michael Crabtree said Carey had an "attitude." Cornerback Chris Culliver said it seemed as if the officials were "Detroit fans." But tight end Delanie Walker said he wasn't nervous when his go-ahead touchdown was being reviewed.

"I knew we had some bad calls early in the game, but I had a feeling that he saw me cross the plane (of the goal line) before my knee touched the ground," Walker said.But the 49ers were the beneficiaries of one glaring mistake by the officiating crew late in the game. Ted Ginn was forced out of bounds at the Detroit 40-yard line at the end of his long return with less than six minutes remaining in the game.Yet, when the 49ers' offense took the field, the ball mysteriously was spotted at the 35. There was no penalty called on the play. (Thanks to Twitter follower @LRushing0718 for initially bringing this to my attention.)The 49ers needed every yard they could get at that point in the game. It took them eight plays to go 35 yards for the go-ahead score, which came on Alex Smith's fourth-down pass for a 6-yard touchdown to Walker.Other notes from the game:--Coach Jim Harbaugh was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct for tossing a challenge flag to dispute Brandon Pettigrew's 9-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.TV replays showed Detroit coach Jim Schwartz yelling across the field at Harbaugh. He appeared to say, "Know the rules, Harbaugh" -- with, perhaps, a little colorful language thrown in there, as well.Harbaugh claimed after the game -- and after his little post-game shake-and-shove with Schwartz -- that he did know the rule. But he threw the flag anyway in hopes it would buy time for the mandatory replay review to alert Carey to take a look at the play.The 49ers were penalized 15 yards, and Carey never reviewed the play.Harbaugh and Schwartz could face some disciplinary action from the NFL, such as a fine. Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, "We'll review it, as we would any altercation of that nature."--Safety Dashon Goldson was kicking himself for kicking the football after an incomplete pass on a second-and-10 from the 49ers' 22-yard line with the 49ers leading 15-13. He was penalized for delay of game."Ah, man," Goldson said. "I didn't realize what I'd done, to be honest with you. It was one of those things. I wasn't thinking. It was a mistake on my part. I'm just glad we came back and ended up winning the game."The Lions converted on a third and 5 (instead of a second and 10) after Goldson's penalty. Two plays later, Nate Burleson gave the Lions a 19-15 lead with a 5-yard scoring pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford.--Running back Frank Gore rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts. After averaging a measly 2.5 yards per carry through three games, Gore has turned it on with three consecutive games of more than 120 yards rushing.Gore has now rushed for 541 yards and four touchdowns on 109 rushing attempts to boost his season average to 5.0 yards.--By contrast, quarterback Alex Smith passed for just 125 yards. While Gore averaged 9.4 yards per rush attempt Sunday against the Lions, Smith averaged just 3.3 yards per pass attempt.Smith was off the mark throughout the game, particularly on his attempts to Crabtree, who was the intended target on 15 pass attempts. Crabtree ended up catching nine passes for 77 yards.But, of course, Smith saved his best throw for last. He put the game-winning pass to Walker exactly where he had to be to allow Walker to carry his momentum into the end zone on the slant pattern.--Inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis were outstanding. They helped limit the Lions to just 66 yards rushing on 18 attempts. Because the 49ers spent most of the game in their nickel defense, there was added pressure on Bowman and Willis to make plays. Speedster Jahvid Best had just 37 yards rushing on 12 tries for the Lions.--Let's go ahead an anoint defensive end Justin Smith as the best free-agent acquisition in 49ers history. The guy never stops. He had seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries.--It generally does not take long for good pass-rushers to show up in the NFL. And rookie Aldon Smith has arrived. He leads the team with 5.5 sacks, lining up mostly at right defensive end. Smith played a little outside linebacker, too, with starter Parys Haralson out of action in the second half with a hamstring strain.--The 49ers' kicking game was outstanding. Punter Andy Lee averaged 47.8 yards (41.0 gross) on nine punts. He landed four punts inside the 20-yard line.And kicker David Akers produced touchbacks on each of his five kickoffs. He also connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder on the final play of the first half. It's the first time in his career he has made three 50-plus-yard field goals in the same season.--Receiver Brett Swain won a tryout Tuesday that included NFL veterans T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Brian Finneran and Chris Chambers. He signed a contract with the 49ers that runs through the end of the season. He participated on special teams and saw action on one snap from scrimmage Sunday in his 49ers debut.

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

PHOENIX -- If the Cleveland Browns’ only reasonable decision with the top overall pick consists of Myles Garrett or Myles Garrett, the 49ers have considerably more options at No. 2 overall.

After Garrett, the Texas A&M pass-rusher, there appears to be no consensus second-best prospect in the draft. So the 49ers must be open to considering almost anything.

“You got to talk about every option because you never know what will happen,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “You got to be ready for anything somebody will call you on, whether it’s a trade or not. So you got to go through those because they can happen quickly, especially when you get closer to draft day.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily in my mind the No. 2 pick. It’s taking the time to understand the whole pool of people. Who’s going to be available at two? Who’s going to be available halfway through the first round? What are the players you can get in the second and third round? That’s not something that just gets done. You have to watch a lot of tape. You got to listen to your scouts and all the homework they’ve done with the character on these guys and soak it all in for a couple of months.”

Shanahan was on hand Thursday for Stanford’s pro day, during which defensive lineman Solomon Thomas worked out. Thomas is considered a strong candidate to be the No. 2 player off the board.

But does Thomas fit with the 49ers? Under former general manager Trent Baalke, the 49ers invested their top draft picks in Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back years. Would the 49ers consider spending their top pick on another defensive lineman?

“It really doesn’t concern me what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going to do in the future,” Shanahan said. “It’s what we have now. If we think that player can help us and improve us, then that’s what we’ll do. You want to get the best guy possible. There are lots of options open.”

As the 49ers transition to a four-man defensive line, the team is in need or a pass-rusher. Ahmad Brooks tied with Buckner for the team-lead last season with six sacks. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch tied for tops on the 49ers with 6.5 sacks.

Brooks, 33, enters his 12th NFL season. Shanahan said he believes Thomas (6 foot 3, 273 pounds) is versatile enough to be a pass-rush threat at defensive end in the 49ers’ new scheme.

“I believe so,” Shanahan said. “I believe he can probably line up anywhere he wants. (But I’m) still not done with my research, yet.”

Thomas won the 2017 Morris Trophy, as the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman, as voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen.