The NFL on Monday issued a statement about a timing error that occurred in the second quarter of the 49ers' 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.The statement from the NFL: "Early in the second quarter of Sunday's game between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers, the clock incorrectly ran for approximately 1:19 and was never corrected."With 13:40 remaining in the second quarter, San Francisco faced a 3rd-and-15 from their own 38 yard-line. Quarterback Alex Smith completed a pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who went out of bounds at the St. Louis 48 after a gain of 14 yards. Line judge Ron Marinucci blew his whistle and signaled for the clock to be stopped, which it was with 13:32 remaining."While the chains were being brought onto the field for a measurement -- and despite no official having signaled for the clock to start -- the clock ran down until it was again stopped with 12:20 remaining."The ball was short of the line to gain for a first down, so once the ball was spotted and ready for play, referee Clete Blakeman blew his whistle and signaled for the clock to start. It then wound down for seven seconds to 12:13 when the officials signaled for the clock to stop."Blakeman then conferred with line judge Ron Marinucci and field judge Buddy Horton and announced "we are checking the game clock for accuracy." "Marinucci -- who as the line judge is by rule responsible for the timing of the game -- spoke directly to the clock operator from the sideline phone and was told that there was no issue with the game clock. "He relayed this information to Blakeman who then announced "the game clock is correct. Fourth and short." Blakeman blew his whistle and signaled for the game clock -- still at 12:13 -- to start."The next snap occurred with 12:02 remaining in the second quarter."No member of the officiating crew recognized that the clock was incorrectly started by the clock operator during the measurement. Once the next snap occurs, there is no mechanism to adjust the clock. Matters of timing are not reviewable by instant replay."The clock operator is employed by the Officiating Department at the league office. The clock procedures will be carefully reviewed this week with all game officials and clock operators to avoid further clock mistakes."
George Paton, one of the remaining possibilities for the 49ers’ general manager position, is reportedly on the Indianapolis Colts’ list of candidates to fill their vacancy, too.
The Colts have requested permission to speak with Paton, the assistant general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported on Monday.
Paton is scheduled for a second interview with the 49ers on Friday, along with Atlanta offensive coordinator and San Francisco’s presumptive head coach, in Atlanta.
The Colts also requested permission to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, USA Today reported. Kirchern and Fitterer also interviewed with the 49ers. Kirchner pulled his name from consideration, while the 49ers informed Fitterer he would not be asked back for a second interview.
The Colts fired general manager Ryan Grigson on Saturday. Owner Jim Irsay said Indianapolis’ vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III would be a candidate. The 49ers also interviewed Raye, who was informed he would not be included in a second round of interviews.
Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the other known candidate for the 49ers’ general manager position that opened when the firing of Trent Baalke was announced at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.
On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.
Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.
Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”
Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.
Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.
Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.
Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.
If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.