What's Harbaugh's deal? Why he declined two points

October 19, 2012, 5:28 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Harbaugh famously went for a two-point conversion against a Pete Carroll team near the end of a Stanford blowout victory over USC in 2009.On Thursday, in a much closer game, Harbaugh declined an additional two points in the closing minute of the 49ers' 13-6 victory over the Carroll-coached Seattle Seahawks.Seattle offensive lineman Paul McQuistan was called for a chop block in the end zone on a fourth-down play with :43 seconds remaining. Referee Walt Anderson announced that the penalty resulted in a safety.The scoreboard at Candlestick Park read: "49ers 15, Seahawks 6."However, Harbaugh asked for a measurement where the ball was spotted following quarterback Russell Wilson's completion to Ben Obomanu. The Seahawks needed 17 yards for a first down. The play resulted in a 16-yard gain.Harbaugh elected to decline the penalty, and take the points off the board, so the 49ers could take two snaps on offense and run out the clock. Otherwise, the 49ers would've faced an onside kick."Because we could just kneel on the ball and have the game be over," Harbaugh answered for his rationale. "Otherwise, they'll onside kick it, and you give them a chance to win."The 49ers were happy with the 13-6 victory to improve to 5-2 on the season.But those who bet the 49ers, who were anywhere from a seven- to nine-point favorites, probably were the only ones none-too-pleased with Harbaugh's decision to decline two points.In 2009, Harbaugh elected to go for a two-point conversion against USC with about six minutes remaining and Stanford leading 48-21. Stanford eventually won the game 55-21, and that led to the memorable "What's your deal?" exchange between Carroll and Harbaugh at midfield.