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Lowell Cohn: 49ers defense is the silencer in bitter rivalry

  • Eric Wright ends Seattle's final possession with an interception. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

SAN FRANCISCO --Sunday's 49ers' 19-17 win against the rival Seahawks was a Jim Harbaugh kind of win. Pure Harbaugh.

Before I explain that, I'll set the scene.

It was a few minutes after the game ended. Harbaugh walked into the dungeon below Candlestick that serves as an interview room. He hopped onto the stage and stood behind the lectern. I asked how he would describe the play of his defense which, frankly, won the game for the Niners. Harbaugh stared at me.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

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Then he said, “Boy, just running and hitting, Lowell. Hitting and running. Competing.”

I thought he might start running around the room looking for something to hit or at least compete with. Or maybe he would start to fly. His eyes were wide with pure euphoria.

Because, really, this was a Harbaugh win. Harbaugh played quarterback like a strong safety.

He liked the hit-and-be-hit part of football. And he teaches his team to hit hard within the rules and to beat up and beat the other team. He wants a defense that makes the other team — Seattle — stop and wonder and worry.

Someone asked Harbaugh if he gave words of encouragement to Kaepernick after he threw an interception. The question went through the various synapses in Harbaugh's brain. You could see him thinking.

He said, “Just similar things I told various players throughout the game. 'Just keep fighting. It's going to be a long game. Just keep fighting.' Kept reiterating that to several guys. But they didn't need to hear that. There was very little talk, very little motivational-type of talk. They didn't need to hear anything about how to play.”

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