crobb305 - 4:57 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
If receiving a bunch of those bad links is in any way tripping a ranking problem, I'd be astounded.
I thought Google has made some comments in the past about excessive 404s (I believe around the time Caffeine was launched). I may be mistaken, but something that was said about a year ago has caused me to pay extra attention to the number of 404s that Gbot encounters, particularly when I see such a recent surge, then my rankings get spanked. It could all be pure coincidence, and I tend to be perfectionist by nature :)