Staley bruised but not beaten in matchup with Matthews

January 12, 2013, 9:30 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Left tackle Joe Staley was beaten and bloodied against Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews when the 49ers opened the season with a victory at Lambeau Field.

On Saturday night, Staley got bruised, but he was a clear winner in the one-on-one matchup between the Pro Bowl players.

"I had a good game plan going in," Staley said after the 49ers' resounding 45-31 victory over the Packers in an NFC divisional-round game at Candlestick Park.

"The first week, I was a little surprised by his strength, so I had a good game plan going in this week and felt confident."

In the regular-season opener, Matthews beat Staley for 2 1/2 sacks. Staley looked like a defeated man, too. He had an ill-fitting helmet that regularly came down and gouged the bridge of his nose, leaving him bloody and with a scar that is still apparent four months later.

Staley's night began on a rough note. Staley had his hands on Matthews, when Matthews chopped down on Staley's arm to attempt to disengage. Afterward, when Staley demonstrated what happened, he winced in pain.

Staley underwent X-rays after the game. He had a bruise, no break, he said.

"I had my hands on Clay and he punched and I thought it broke my arm," Staley said.

Staley highlighted a performance in which the 579 yards of total offense. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for 263 yards and two scores. Running back Frank Gore gained 119 yards and a touchdown.

"That's what happens when we have all 11 executing," Staley said. "It's hard to defend."

Kaepernick was sacked just once. Matthews had that sack when Kaepernick stepped up in the pocket and into Matthews' path.

Said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, "I thought our protection was very good. Colin had chance to go through his reads, set his feet and fire the ball. It was consistently good protection."