“A clothesline to the neck area when our quarterback is six, seven feet out of bounds . . . that certainly was a cheap shot,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh also said he was baffled at why 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley was penalized for going over to the sideline to protect Kaepernick, a penalty that the NFL has since admitted should not have been called. Harbaugh derided Matthews for slapping Staley when Staley confronted him.
“I looked at it with my own eyes, I could see two punches thrown to Joe’s head. Well, one punch and one open slap,” Harbaugh said. “If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, you know, not an open slap.”
Harbaugh suggested that Matthews may no longer be viewed as so tough around the league after that.
“I think that young man works hard on being a tough guy, he’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh also said that several Packers left the bench area during the incident, which is a violation of NFL rules.
“All in all, there were a lot of things going on in that stretch,” Harbaugh said.
And there’s always a lot going on when Harbaugh talks about the officials and the opponents. At this point, we have to hope the Packers and the 49ers have a rematch in the playoffs, when the Harbaugh-Matthews handshake will surely make the Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz handshake look like child’s play.