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Blog Entry

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:57 pm
It may seem like a stretch, but Seattle's defense has played as well if not better than Pittsburgh's. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jim Harbaugh isn't stingy with the compliments, even if they might seem preposterous. On Tuesday, a day after the 49ers handily defeated the Steelers, he said that not only is Alex Smith the team's quarterback of the future, he considers the former first-overall pick a Pro Bowler this season.

"There's other great players out there in the National Football (Conference)," Harbaugh said. "I believe there's three that go to the Pro Bowl, right? Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Alex Smith -- I think those are the top three, in the NFC in my humble opinion."

Pay no attention to Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Eli Manning.

On Wednesday, Harbaugh was back at it, this time flattering the 49ers' next opponent: the Seattle Seahawks.

“We thought the Steelers were good on defense, preparing for them, and we think the Seahawks are even better,” he said according to CBSSports Rapid Reporter John Boyle.

On the surface, it's a ludicrous thing to say; Seattle is 7-7 and long shots to make the playoffs. Not only that, but they were blanked by the Steelers 24-0 in Week 2.

But here's the thing: Seattle may have looked like one of the NFL's worst teams through the first half of the season (they were 2-6 heading into Week 10), but they're 5-1 since November 13 and that includes convincing victories over the Ravens, Eagles and Bears. And while a resurgent Marshawn Lynch and an improved Tarvaris Jackson have something to do with the success, the defense that deserves most of the credit.

The unit's been so good, in fact, that Football Outsiders' advanced metrics ranks them ahead of the Steelers' defense. Through Week 15, Seattle is the NFL's ninth-best defense (ninth vs. the pass, 10th vs. the run), Pittsburgh is 10th (sixth vs. the pass, 13th vs. the run).

The Steelers' D has been more consistent over the course of the season, which makes sense given the Seahawks' slow start. Still, it's a startling revelation; we just assumed Harbaugh was laying it on thick in an effort to butter up the next opponent. Intended or otherwise, it turns out he was onto something. Maybe Pete Carroll really does have a plan

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Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:08 am

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

Steelers D when fully healthy is the best in the NFL, hands down.   But when you're playing without Woodley and Harrison for most of the season, even Farrior was out, they're still pretty good but not at the top level.  Seahawks are good, but do it when it matters and do it against better opponents - then I'll be impressed.

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:54 am

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

This is harbaughs way of trying to make his hapless division look better. Sorry jim no one is going to buy it...

Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:54 pm

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers


Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:53 pm

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

coming from a guy ,,who sucked when he played,,his assanine statements of alex smith being a pro bowler, doesnt mean a thing! niners beat a team that was not the usual product that is on the field most of the time. when ben is 100 percent healthy,,along with other key players the niners have no shot!

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:22 pm

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

Watch out for the NFC West next year. The Defenses being built by all 4 teams are extreme. If any of these teams grow offensively as well, then watch out. 

Since: Aug 19, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:15 pm

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

Coach back-slapper is having a good year. Woop-de-do. So have a hundred or so other one-hit wonders in the coaching ranks.  Harbaugh is another Eric Mangenious. One good year followed by mediocrity. You beat a depleted Steeler team, congratulatons. Most likely won't happen again.

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:01 pm

Jim Harbaugh: Seahawks better on D than Steelers

Niners are one and done in the playoffs. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or