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Jim Harbaugh: 49ers prepared all week for Rams’ fake punts


It’s not often that an NFL team successfully executes two fake punts in one game, but that’s what the Rams did to the 49ers on Sunday. That’s particularly galling to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh because he says his team spent much of the last week of practice preparing for fake punts.

It was an alert all week,” Harbaugh said, via “The Rams are a fake team. They like to run fakes, they run them very well. [I] wish, in hindsight, we’d been in a better position to defend the fake. We didn’t anticipate they’d run a fake at that point.”

The Rams’ first fake punt came late in the first half, with punter Johnny Hekker taking the snap deep in his own end zone and passing to gunner Rodney McLeod for a 21-yard gain. That came when Hekker saw that the 49ers were leaving McLeod uncovered because they were rushing everyone to try to block the punt, and Harbaugh acknowledged that the Rams had a great call ready to counter the 49ers’ attempt to block the punt.

“When we run the rush we run, you understand that they could do exactly what they did and you roll the dice that they won’t do it, as far backed up as they are,” Harbaugh said. “I wouldn’t say we were daring them into it. We felt we were playing the percentages to rush and block the punt. And they executed as well as you can and made a great play.”

The Rams’ second fake punt came late in the fourth quarter, and they used receiver Danny Amendola as a decoy, having him go in motion to draw the 49ers’ attention away from Lance Kendricks, who picked up 18 yards. That set up the touchdown that gave the Rams a 24-21 lead with just over a minute to play. That the Rams were able to set up a go-ahead touchdown on a fake punt, after they had already run another fake punt earlier in the game, suggests that last week’s preparation wasn’t particularly effective.

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37 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh: 49ers prepared all week for Rams’ fake punts”
  1. goldrush36 says: Nov 12, 2012 5:53 PM

    Jim I love ya, but if that was “prepared” then please oh please be unprepared the rest of the year. Oh and stop letting your defense read their own press. Every time they get too much praise… they come out and play like that. It’s like groundhog day for the fans on games you are “supposed” to win. I know any given Sunday but damn.

  2. joetoronto says: Nov 12, 2012 6:00 PM

    He can yap all he wants but there’s no excuse for the 2nd one, none at all.

  3. cubsin2049 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:01 PM

    I agree Jim! Your guys did such a great job by preparing that they should all receive the NFC Special Teams of the Week Award. I mean you petition daily for your guys to win awards and after that performance yesterday — especially by “being prepared”, well they did an OUTSTANDING job! It’s sure a reflection of your coaching.

    Also, I hear you are nominating Alex Smith for Player of the Week. Those 9 passes he threw were amazing!!!! You have my vote big boy!

  4. panthrobro says: Nov 12, 2012 6:03 PM

    “The Rams are a fake team. ”

    Jim Harbaugh

  5. originalsteelcurtain says: Nov 12, 2012 6:06 PM

    Props to Jeff Fischer for calling two fake punts.

    That’s how you earn a tie (should have won) on the road against a top team…take some well thought-out chances.

  6. cubsin2049 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:07 PM

    Oh, let me add one more thing Jim. That being prepared sure does show in the picture listed above. Who in fact is covering the guy looking FOR the pass? It doesn’t matter really….You said they were prepared and I believe you.

  7. jnova80 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:13 PM

    Funny how Alex hate always manages to pop up in Niner talk. Anyways, that wasn’t “prepared”, Harbaugh. The Rams destroyed us on those fakes.

  8. jimnaizeeum says: Nov 12, 2012 6:15 PM

    Good for him…I guess the refs prepared for not letting the clock run down too.

  9. thesportsguy52 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:19 PM

    Doesn’t that sort of make it worse?

  10. xxwhodatxx says: Nov 12, 2012 6:21 PM

    When no one was giving them credit last season they came out and played lights out but give em a little praise and now THEY think they can’t be beat. Can’t handle success.

  11. mtx1992 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:24 PM

    So they knew the Rams run lots of fakes. What do the 49ers do? Rush everybody on a punt, leaving the gunners wide open. Even Tebow would complete that pass.

  12. dennisatunity says: Nov 12, 2012 6:28 PM

    We believe you, Jim, that you were prepared for fake punts, just like you never really looked at Peyton Manning in the offseason. It is stunning that such an exceptional coach only has a fleeting relationship with the truth.

  13. kattykathy says: Nov 12, 2012 6:29 PM

    Jim HarBARF is Rex Ryan 2.0

    Seriously. He is obnoxious, tremendously arrogant, pompous, and he knows everything(just ask him).

    Rex Ryan and Jom HarBARF have no class whatsoever.

  14. goldrush36 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:48 PM

    ALL of the Harbaugh hate comes from lions fans.. Coincidence?

  15. rhone16 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:50 PM

    Wow. Harbaugh says they prepared for fake punts but that he made the mistake of not anticipating them at the right times, and that somehow prompts comment after comment bashing him for being arrogant?

  16. tennesseeoilers says: Nov 12, 2012 6:52 PM

    Jeff Fisher is the king of fake punts … not just opting for them, but the brilliant ways he does them. My favorite took place about 8 or 9 years ago:

    After the punting unit lined, Fisher suddenly started cussing out Frank Wycheck, yelling at him to get off the field because there were 12 Titans out there (when in reality there were 11). Wycheck sprinted for the sideline as the play clock approached zero with Fisher screaming at him the whole way. Wycheck ran right up in front of his coach and stopped … and continued taking a verbal beating as Fisher stood on the edge of the sideline with Wycheck barely in the field of play. Immedately the ball was snapped. Cue the pass to the uncovered Wycheck.

  17. patriots123456 says: Nov 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    Anyone else sick of the Harbaugh & Ryan brothers?

  18. snargi01 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:02 PM

    Perhaps you should of spent less time on the fake punt drills and more time preparing how to stop Steven Jackson?

  19. radrntn says: Nov 12, 2012 7:11 PM

    gotta admit, the nfc west is getting beter……niners were all alone last year, but seahawks, and rams are moving up…cardinals need a qb.

  20. nomoreseasontix says: Nov 12, 2012 7:25 PM

    At least he’s not whining about it.

  21. ripster65 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:26 PM

    Not sure I’d so readily admit that, Jim.

  22. maxl49 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    What he meant to say is that they prepared poorly all week.

  23. oaktown49er says: Nov 12, 2012 7:34 PM

    So much hate for Harbaugh, I never remember so much hate for Dennis Erickson when he was coach, oh yeah maybe because he didn’t win

  24. sonoco says: Nov 12, 2012 7:48 PM

    Unless you’ve NEVER played football before, you’d understand that teams can be prepared, sometimes even well prepared . . . and still get beat.

  25. southpaw79 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:50 PM

    Instead of bashing Jim, why not give Fisher credit for two fantastic fake punts? The second one was very well executed. Once Danny was on the move that left one defender on both the punter and Kendricks. Either the punter runs for the first or he passes. Well played Rams, well played.

  26. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 12, 2012 7:54 PM

    Harbaugh wants you to give his guys a break. After all Hekker has the best passer rating in the league. “Not exactly Kevin Kolb they were facing out there”, grumbled Jim.

  27. lowelly says: Nov 12, 2012 7:57 PM

    The first one wasnt called from the sideline no coach calls a fake punt with the punter in his own end zone it was a hot read because the corner moved down and left the gunner completely uncovered.

    The second one was just a terrible job by cox it was 4th and 8 and he let the punter make him come off his man before the punter passed the line of scrimmage if he just covers his man the punter gets tackled and the game is over.

  28. joey49er says: Nov 12, 2012 8:07 PM

    To all u clowns that compare harbaugh to the ryan brothers!!! harbaugh is a winner look what he has done with the 49ers!!!!! the 49ers did not even have their starting qb in the game!!!!lol

  29. funshipm174 says: Nov 12, 2012 8:08 PM

    Imagine if the 49ers didn’t prepare for the fake punts!

  30. 1phd says: Nov 12, 2012 8:23 PM

    Obviously you also ‘prepared’ for Danny Amendola.

  31. neilpountney says: Nov 12, 2012 8:33 PM

    Maybe the Jets should take a close look at Hekker!!!

  32. goldrush94 says: Nov 12, 2012 9:43 PM

    You know, if you’re gonna prepare for it like you say you did, there’s no excuse not to “anticipate it at that moment.”
    49ers are a better team than the Rams. But the difference between even the best team and worse team in the nfl can be mitigated by effort. Rams simply wanted to win and they were the better team Sunday. Sontag this year, I have yet to see the 9ers play with the same zeal as last year.

  33. allidoiswin55 says: Nov 12, 2012 11:16 PM

    The Rams had no offensive pts against the Hawks had a fake (trick) FG turn into the only td in the game. The niners should have been better prepared for ALL special teams plays. JS

  34. bkh405 says: Nov 12, 2012 11:23 PM

    As a Ram fan, there’s no way I’d ever like Harbaugh. But the fact that he stomps around the sideline all game long firing off crazy eyes and jutting out his chin like he’s Bill Cowher just really makes me dislike him even more. Just coach you mongoloid.

  35. billb49 says: Nov 12, 2012 11:58 PM

    This Niner fan gives Fisher credit for being incredibly gutsy. I’ve been watching the NFL for 40 years and I’ve never seen a fake punt from your own end zone until yesterday. Amazing. And, it’s not hard to understand why the Niners didn’t expect it. Blow that play and you give the other team an easy 7 points.

  36. hatesycophants says: Nov 13, 2012 1:14 PM

    The 49ers are a fake team.

    Jim Harbaugh is a fake coach.

  37. friscokid49 says: Nov 13, 2012 3:53 PM

    lowelly says:Nov 12, 2012 7:57 PM

    The first one wasnt called from the sideline no coach calls a fake punt with the punter in his own end zone it was a hot read because the corner moved down and left the gunner completely uncovered.

    First one was fake punt all the way. Look at the replay. As soon as the play is started the punter receives the ball in a throwing position. It was made easy as the reciever was left alone on that side of the field.

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