Before last night’s win over the Lions, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called them a “chippy bunch,” and told his players to keep his head on a swivel for cheap shots.
But while he denied saying that after the game, his players generally concurred.
“I can’t really say that. I don’t recall that,” Harbaugh said of his comments to NBC’s Michelle Tafoya. (Maybe he was just evaluating Tafoya’s question and not really answering it.)
But 49ers left tackle Joe Staley made no bones about his feelings.
“I think it was key for our front offensive line to handle it tonight because they like to be cheap after the play and they think that makes them physical,” Staley said, via Bill Emkow of MLive.com.
Harbaugh went on to say he thought the game was “pretty clean for the most part,” even if other players did not agree.
“I got poked in my eyes,” 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said. “Since I got poked I had to sit down. I do not know if it was intentional by [Lions defensive end Cliff] Avril. I am just not sure.”
Quarterback Alex Smith said he was surprised there wasn’t a penalty on the play that saw him get his red badge of courage across the bridge of his nose from a Lions player’s forearm while he slid.
“I wouldn’t say dazed, just bleeding,” Smith said. “I looked up, saw the flag and thought for sure it was a personal foul call, but all of a sudden we were backed up and it was a holding call. I was pretty stunned we didn’t get that call.”
As stunned as his coach apparently was when somebody quoted him saying something that might cause him discomfort later.