Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

49ers' Harbaugh takes aim at Packers' Matthews

(AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua)

By JANIE McCAULEY

AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Harbaugh offered a parting shot at Packers linebacker Clay Matthews: Slapping is not the tough-guy way.

Harbaugh said Monday that Matthews threw one punch and slapped 49ers left tackle Joe Staley when they tussled following Matthews' late hit on quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter of San Francisco's 34-28 season-opening win against Green Bay on Sunday.

"If you're going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap," Harbaugh said. "I think if that young man works very hard on being a tough guy, he'll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap."

Matthews promised leading up to the game that Green Bay would target Kaepernick after he ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards to beat the Packers in the playoffs eight months ago, and Matthews did just that. On the play, he threw his right arm around the lower part of Kaepernick's neck.

"Like I said last week, usually a man will tell you his bad intentions if you just listen. That certainly was a cheap shot, launching, clotheslining to the neck-head area," Harbaugh said. "Bad play."

While Matthews was flagged for a late hit, Staley received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that Harbaugh didn't think was right.

Staley immediately came to Kaepernick's defense on the play. The penalties were offset and the 49ers scored on the next play, which officials later said should have been fourth down rather than a repeated third down.

The NFL said Monday that a review showed Staley should not have been penalized.

"After reviewing the play, Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino determined that Joe Staley should not have been penalized," spokesman Randall Liu said in an email. "It should have been first-and-goal for the 49ers from the Green Bay 3-yard line."

"That's what I saw," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh praised referee Bill Leavy and his crew, and said San Francisco would have gone for it on fourth down anyway.

"First of all, it never should have been offsetting penalties, in my opinion," Harbaugh said. "All in all, there's a lot of things going on in that stretch. The other one was the entire Packers bench cleared, practice squad players, coaches. Members of the Green Bay Packers are all out of their bench area down along the goal line. There was no repercussion for that as well."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in Green Bay, Wis., that he's not looking to get into a back and forth with Harbaugh.

"Clay Matthews is not a dirty player, by no means," McCarthy said. "So I addressed Harbaugh's comments in the team meeting, and as always, we'll stay above it."

While Staley said after the game he needs to control his emotions, he insists he will defend his quarterback in a case like that.

Harbaugh said it's rather simple when coaching a situation like that.

"When guys are going at each other after the whistle, and looking to push and shove people, just lock up, protect yourself," he said. "Not going to back down from it, we're not going to get pushed all around after the whistle when it's not being called, when the first offense is not being called.

"You have to have a plan. For us, it's not to go pushing and throwing punches, it's to lock up and protect yourself. And Joe did that about as well as you could do it. If you call somebody for that then you're going to have 30 flags, 30 times. That's happening all the time in our league after the whistle."

Also Sunday, Harbaugh had to change his game-day attire at halftime from Reebok to Nike. He said he could be subject to a fine.

"That was a mistake, grabbed the wrong one," Harbaugh said. "It was an honest mistake, there was no malice intended. It won't happen again."

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Updated September 9, 2013

w4 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Game 2: Blazers ready for urgent Rockets


(AP) James Harden missed 20 shots, including two in the final seconds of Houston's Game 1 loss to Portland in overtime. Now the key word for the Houston star entering Game 2 . . . more.

Aldridge prepared for Game 2


(AP) A day after etching his name in Portland's record books with a franchise playoff-record 46 points in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Houston, LaMarcus Aldridge was already looking forward. More.

Seahawks acquire QB Pryor from Raiders


(AP) The Oakland Raiders have traded away the final player drafted by late owner Al Davis. Oakland dealt quarterback Terrelle Pryor to the Seattle Seahawks . . . more.

Peyton meets with Saban, rules violated?


(AP) Peyton Manning's never-ending quest to hone his game and Nick Saban's desire to decipher fast-paced offenses led to a recent meeting that the Crimson Tide coach called mutually beneficial. More.

Kelly, Trump, Bon Jovi pursuing Bills


(AP) Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is prepared to make a bid to buy the Buffalo Bills. Donald Trump's on board, too. Don't discount the family of Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. And include New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi's name . . . more.