In the NFL, rarely does the action after the game trump what happened on the field.
That certainly wasn’t the case Sunday in “The Motor City.”
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz became irritated when a jubilant Jim Harbaugh reportedly shoved Schwartz following the 49ers 25-19 comeback win at Ford Field.
“Went to congratulate Coach Harbaugh,” Schwartz explained. “Didn’t expect an obscenity at that point so it was a surprise to me.”
Harbaugh’s tongue-and-cheek response to the accusation was to be expected.
“I shook his hand too hard,” San Francisco’s first-year head coach said after his team improved to 5-1. “That was on me…a little too hard of a handshake.”
For two high-energy coaches like Harbaugh and Schwartz, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. The demonstrative attitude of Schwartz, coupled with Harbaugh’s history of irritating other head coaches (like Pete Carroll at USC when Harbaugh was at Stanford) made Sunday the perfect storm for controversy.
“I’m not at all surprised,” Yahoo NFL Insider Jason Cole told Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports” Monday. “I know both of those guys and you couldn’t have picked a better combination for a feisty moment and an elixir of doom between those two.”
Lost in the chaos was San Francisco’s fourth straight win punctuated by Alex Smith’s six-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker which put the Niners ahead to stay in the fourth quarter.
The frequently-criticized Smith is off to his best start as a pro completing over 63% of his passes with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Smith said it was the 49ers defense which was the difference in knocking off the previously unbeaten Lions.
“They played unbelievable,” Smith explained. “They deserve all the credit for the W. They played lights out.”
The win pushed the Niners three games ahead of the idle Seahawks in the NFC West.