Paul Kitigaki Jr. pkitagaki@sacbee.com Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, left, breaks up a pass to the 49ers' Randy Moss in San Francisco's 13-6 victory over Seattle on Thursday night at Candlestick Park.

49ers notes: Harbaugh questions Seahawks' roughness

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 - 8:16 am

SANTA CLARA – One day after his 13-6 win over the Seahawks, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh already was looking ahead to the Dec. 23 rematch.

Harbaugh, who last week sent out a news release accusing the Giants of trying to manipulate the officials, on Friday said he would send a letter to the league offices in New York questioning the Seahawks' rough play against the 49ers' wideouts. 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 about 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 a 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, meanwhile, rarely complains about the officiating but said there were "several" instances where the Seahawks could have been called for illegal contact.

"If this is a point of emphasis that there's no contact after five yards, no question," Smith said.

Smith, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and an interception, said the Seahawks were determined to take away the deep and sideline routes and that their linebackers sprinted downfield at the snap.

"It was, like, eight guys running out of there to try to take away the receivers and tight ends," Smith said.

The result, however, was that there was no one in the middle of Seattle's defense when the 49ers used the trap running plays that were so effective or when Smith dumped off the ball to his running backs.

Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter combined for seven catches for 65 yards, and Gore caught three of his passes during a momentum-changing drive in the third quarter.

Injury update – Gore suffered bruised ribs when he was hit by Browner in the second quarter, and he said that he's never played in as much pain as he did Thursday night.

Gore said he had trouble breathing, especially after long gains, and he removed himself from the game in the fourth quarter. Harbaugh said he didn't know Gore was in pain until he left the game.

On Friday, Gore had an ice pack wrapped against his ribs but said he was feeling better and breathing more easily. In fact, he worked out Friday and said he planned to do so again today.

Gore said he thought he'd be ready for the next game, Oct. 29 against Arizona.

"I'll find a way to get out there and help the team," Gore said. "What do we have – 11 days, 10 days – before the next game? So that will be good."

Other injured 49ers included receiver Kyle Williams, who had his 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 Sunday against the Giants but continued playing so his former teammates wouldn't have the satisfaction of knowing they had knocked him from the game. He said he would be ready to play against the Cardinals.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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