Harbaugh seeks clarity from NFL on play of Seahawks' corners

Harbaugh seeks clarity from NFL on play of Seahawks' corners
October 19, 2012, 11:28 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh has an issue with the Seattle Seahawks' pass defense. And he is going to the league office in hopes of receiving some clarity well in advance of the 49ers' next meeting with their NFC West rival.The Seahawks have a pair of big, young cornerbacks who like to play physical at the line of scrimmage. Richard Sherman, who played under Harbaugh at Stanford, is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. On the other side, Brandon Browner is listed at 6-4, 221 pounds.Several times Thursday night, Sherman and Browner appeared to get away with possible defensive holding penalties while locked up against receivers Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Kyle Williams.RELATED: Alex Smith makes it too easy for defenses
"I wouldn't use the words, 'locked up,'" Harbaugh said Friday, the day after the 49ers' 13-6 victory over the Seahawks. "We'll take that up with the officials (NFL office) and get their view of it."Quarterback Alex Smith said Sherman and Browner probably should've been called for illegal contact "several times" in Thursday's game."If this is a point of emphasis of no contact after 5 yards, no question," Smith said."They've done it all year. When they played Green Bay, they were doing it to all those guys, (Greg) Jennings, all those guys. You turn on the Patriots (film) and same things," Smith added. "That's what they do. It's who they are. They're good at it. It's what they play, big corners, physical guys. I don't know how we didn't get a call. It seems like it gets called once a game and then it doesn't get called again."Harbaugh said he hopes to get a well-defined answer from the NFL after submitting his official inquiry.
"I think it's just important thing to address," Harbaugh said. "What is this all being defined as? Is it physical play within the rules? That's the biggest question. Is it within the rules what's happening. We have to ask that question. We have to know what the interpretation is."There was another specific play that Harbaugh could not believe went the 49ers' way. On a second-and-10 from midfield, Smith was beginning to throw as Seahawks defensive lineman Chris Clemons grabbed Smith by the facemask. The pass, intended for Michael Crabtree, went awry and referee Walt Anderson did not call a penalty on the play."It's not impossible to throw the ball when your helmet is turned and you're looking out the side of the earhole, but it makes it a lot harder," Harbaugh deadpanned.