49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 23, 2012
Harbaugh says Bradshaw non-fumble "analogous to tuck rule"


The 49ers were decidedly in we-will-move-on mode on Monday, but head coach Jim Harbaugh was still steamed about one bit of business from Sunday -- a quick whistle that cost his team an end-of-game fumble deep in New York territory.

"In my opinion that was a fumble," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure the league will defend it, the officials will defend it. But to me, the play was continuing, there was still struggling going on by (Ahmad) Bradshaw."

The play occurred at the end of the fourth quarter at the Giants 21-yard line. After a short gain by Bradshaw, he was gang-tackled and stripped of the ball by linebacker NaVorro Bowman. The head linesman quickly ran in and said that the whistle had blown prior to the fumble because Bradshaw's momentum had been stopped.

Harbaugh revisited a similar play in the team's Nov. 13 win over the Giants in which safety Donte Whitner stripped a Giants player of the ball but the officials ruled that the progress had been halted before the strip. Harbaugh said the call on Sunday was more dubious than the Nov. 13 call. "I felt like it was a fumble," Harbaugh said. "It's analogous to the tuck rule."

In the divisional-round game against the Saints, there were three penalties -- all on the 49ers -- that were accepted. On Sunday, Ed Hochuli's crew called 15 penalties. Nine were on the Giants for 60 yards. Six were on the 49ers for 50 yards.

Harbaugh also did not like the unsportsmanlike conduct call on Vernon Davis after the tight end's first-quarter touchdown. Davis got on top of a television camera platform behind the end zone. Harbaugh said that was not the same as using a prop and instead said it was similar to the "Lambeau leap" Packers players do after they score.

Harbaugh was back to his old self Monday, stingy with information of all kinds, such as which players may need surgery at the end of the season (Ted Ginn (knee) will not). He said that one of his pro bowl players likely will not be heading to Hawaii but did not divulge which. Running back Frank Gore was non-committal today when asked if he would be attending.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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