Niners coach Jim Harbaugh took issue with several elements of the game Monday after these things happened: Kaepernick beat the Packers with his arm; Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews (who talked last week of hitting Kaepernick) started a skirmish after a third-and-6 play by launching himself at the 49ers quarterback when he was out of bounds; and the officials admitted they handled the whole thing incorrectly.
Monday, perhaps sensing he had a free pass, Harbaugh backed up his points. He took on the officials for the way they handled the situation and took shots at Matthews.
Earlier Monday, the NFL admitted the officials mishandled the situation and San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley should not have been penalized after he came to Kaepernick’s defense. The 49ers scored a touchdown on the series and won the uber-intense Week 1 matchup, 34-28.
While the admittance of failure was newsworthy, Harbaugh, as he is known to do, took it the next level when he had some fun at Matthews’ expense, criticizing him for the way the Packers' linebacker went after Staley.
“If you're going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap,” Harbaugh said.
He added this: “I think that young man works very hard on being a tough guy. He’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap.”
Harbaugh lost the battle last week, but he won the game Sunday with his two adversaries -- the league’s officials and Matthews -- both looked bad. Monday was his chance to do a victory dance and he did it his way -- with some verbal warfare.
Sure, the league could fine Harbaugh for his comments, but he won’t care. Matthews could also be fined big for his hit on Kaepernick, which would give Harbaugh some warmth as well.
It’s rare for a coach to go after an opposing player. But Harbaugh doesn’t care, because he was sticking up for his star quarterback and for his star left tackle. This will play well in the San Francisco locker room. That's what drives Harbaugh. He circles the wagons.
And just think, now Harbaugh can move from Matthews to his favorite subject: Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. It’s Harbaugh's season and so far he's undefeated.