SANTA CLARA – Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said Friday about the 49ers’ 13-6 win over the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night.
Last night you talked about it being the most physical 30 minutes. RB Frank Gore was talking about playing through bruised ribs. Can you just talk about how well he played with that injury and what you saw out of him last night?
“Yeah, great game from Frank. Tough runs. Does what he does. Gets low and gets through holes. Got a lot of yards after contact. And then he had some big holes, too. Where they popped into the secondary. A lot of times you talk about teams that can run well between the tackles, I’ve never seen a team run better between the guards than our team showed last night in the running game. And that was to great credit to [C] Jonathan Goodwin and the two guards, [G] Mike Iupati and [G/T] Alex Boone had great games. Great games by them. Also, [T] Joe Staley and [T] Anthony Davis, tremendous performances. We gave a game ball to Joe Staley and to Jonathan Goodwin. We had physical blocking on the perimeter by our wide receivers. [FB] Bruce Miller had a tremendous game. [RB] Kendall Hunter had some really tough, physical runs in the ball game. So, from the offensive standpoint that was very tough. They were coming off the ball extremely well. And Mike Iupati, really how could you be more physical than he was in this game. And he really set a tone there. Defensively, [DT] Justin Smith got a game ball. Great against the run, great against the pass. [S] Dashon Goldson got a game ball. Played the deep ball very well. Got the interception. Had some tremendous tackles. Gritty, physical performance by our two inside linebackers, both [LB] NaVorro Bowman and [LB] Patrick Willis. Just gritty, that’s the best word you could say for it. Tremendous play from both of those men. And there are other examples. Certainly the special teams needs to be highlighted. Everybody played good on our special teams. We got off blocks, we blocked. Guys were in good position and did a great job getting off of blocks. And a lot of guys contributed there. Even Dashon at the end of the game was cramping up. But, ran down on that important punt to the point where he couldn’t continue the next series. Just left it all out there. Punter was magnificent. [K] David [Akers] had a heck of a game, Akers. [S] C.J. Spillman was leading it. So, other things to highlight but there’s a few that contributed really to that most physical 30 minutes of football that I’ve seen our team play.”
Did Frank let on that he was having a hard time? Did you know that he was having trouble breathing there in the second half?
“No. He didn’t let on. And when you go back and look at the film, you see the play. I believe it was either in the drive in the third quarter, or late second quarter, that he got the hit.”
He didn’t say anything to anybody until he removed himself from the game?
“Right, to my knowledge.”
Obviously, you don’t want the penalty. But, just the way Dashon Goldson started the game with just a fire. And he and RB Marshawn Lynch looked like they, in your words, a football battle going on there. Did you like that kind of fire and that passion that Dashon was showing just short of the penalty?
“Well, two great front up tackles. The first one out in the open field there and the sideline. They both just locked up like two rams locking up. And it was a big, physical play. Marshawn jumped up and was right in Dashon’s face. And then the next one was one of the best front up tackles I’ve ever seen, where Dashon made that tackle. And then got the penalty. I thought he was talking to Justin, who was also on the bottom of the pile and on top of Marshawn. So, there was no physical contact there. To me, he was just talking to Justin. But, anyway, referees didn’t see it that way.”
Speaking of referees, a lot of plays on the outside where your receivers were kind of locked up with cornerbacks. How did you see that confrontation throughout the game going?
“Well, I wouldn’t use the words ‘locked up.’ There’s another word I would use. But, we’ll take that up with the officials in New York, and get their view of it. That’s the only position that we can be in.”
Is it important to get that rectified? Obviously their known, their corners, for their physical play. Obviously, you’re going to play those guys again. Is that something that obviously you feel needs to be addressed before you play them again?
“Yeah, I think that’s just an important thing to address. I mean, what is this all being defined as? Is it physical play? Is it within the rules? I think that’s the biggest question, is it within the rules what’s happening. We have to ask that question. We have to know what the interpretation is.”
Did you see that previously on film with them?
When QB Colin Kaepernick went in and he took off running and got hit in the head –the league rule says that he’s a runner at that point. Are you ok with that rule, that he has established himself as a runner, so it makes that an ok hit?
“Yes. I think that’s football. At that point the quarterback is a runner with the ball. I do also believe that’s for any quarterback, any quarterback that is out of the pocket and running the football. There should be no asterisk put on it or tag put on it, ‘oh this is a known running quarterback’ or ‘a known option quarterback,’ compared to a ‘known drop-back quarterback.’ It’s the position, it’s the intent that they’re in when they’re out of the pocket, running the football. But yeah, I believe that they’re football players and they have the ability to be running the football at that time and a defender has to get them stopped.”
He didn’t get dinged up from that hit? He was ok afterwards?
“Not that I know of.”
You had the third and seven late in the game, you had the quarterback draw. Was that call influenced by the interception Alex had on the other third and seven?
The trap plays obviously were very effective. Was that something where you had the trap in the gameplan? When it was effective you kept going back to it until they could prove that they could stop it?
Was that something you thought you would do as much as you did going into this week? It was a short week and the Seahawks might not be able to gameplan for everything?
“No, not necessarily. There are a lot of things that you go into a gameplan with and you want to have some volume for the things that are working. That doesn’t mean that there’s not volume for other situations. But there’s always a tendency to repeat good plays.”
They really dedicated their linebackers to stopping the deep passes. Is that sort of a pick your poison? That if you do that as a defense, you can get those trap plays and you can get those nice dump offs to Frank Gore and RB Kendall Hunter?
“Yeah, there were some real good situations to check the ball down to the halfback. It’s not something that we’ve been majoring in over the first six games. Until this game everything had been more, shot down the field or the intermediate throws. So I think that’s how we were being played, and Alex did a good job of taking what was there. We did have a couple shots down field in the game, especially early. We probed that. We had a couple good looks and we didn’t hit them, but that also can help set up some of those underneath throws.”