49ers Blog and Q&A

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October 19, 2012
Harbaugh questions physical play by Seattle cornerbacks


One day after beating the Seahawks, Jm Harbaugh is looking ahead to the rematch.

The 49ers coach, who last week sent out a news release accusing the Giants of trying to manipulate the officials, today said he'd send a letter to the league offices in New York this week questioning the Seahawks' rough play against the 49ers' wideouts during Thursday night's game. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are two of the biggest cornerbacks in the league, and they have a reputation for being physical with receivers.

Harbaugh implied they were too physical. Asked his view of how the Seahawks were "locked up" with his wideouts, Harbaugh said, "I wouldn't use the word 'locked up'. That's not the word I would use. We'll take that up with the officials and get their view of it."

Harbaugh agreed it was important to look into the matter since the 49ers will face the Seahawks again Dec. 23. 

"I mean, is it physical play, is it in the rules? I think that's a good question, is it in the rules? We have to ask that question and see what the interpretation is."

Harbaugh also cited an obvious face mask on quarterback Alex Smith as he was throwing the ball that was not called. "It's not impossible to throw the ball when your helmet is turned and you're looking out the side of the earhole," Harbaugh said. "But it makes it a lot harder. It's amazing that ball wasn't intercepted. It's hard to do. Not insurmountable, but it's very hard."

Smith, who hardly ever complains about the officiating, added credence to Harbaugh's complaint, saying that it seemed as if his receivers were being held downfield throughout the game. He said that contributed to the 49ers' modest passing numbers.

Then again, Harbaugh may have lost his credibility with his explanation for Dashon Goldson's 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first quarter, which occurred when Goldson stood over running back Marshawn Lynch and yelled at him following a strong tackle. 

"I thought he was talking to Justin (Smith), who was also on the bottom of the pile and not to Marshawn," Harbaugh said. "There was no physical contact there. To me, he was talking to Justin. But anyway, referees didn't see it that way."

Injuries -- In addition to Frank Gore (bruised ribs), injured 49ers today included receiver Kyle Williams, who had to right arm wrapped, and receiver Mario Manningham, who did not play Thursday because of a shoulder injury.

Manningham said he suffered the injury on the first play in Sunday's game but didn't want to leave the game and give his former teammates the satisfaction of knowing they had knocked him from the contest. He said he would be ready to play against the Cardinals Oct. 29.

Smith, meanwhile, continues to wear a wrap on his middle finger. Both Harbaugh and Smith had been downplaying the significance, but both implied today that it may have been worse than they initially let on. Harbaugh said the 10 days between games will "help our whole team, first getting rest and allowing the bodies to come back."

-- 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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