|Unlike last season, Schwartz and Harbaugh managed to shake hands without incident. (US Presswire)|
The 49ers are 2-0 with convincing wins over the Packers and Lions, and they've earned the right to be called the NFL's best team. But they're also a reflection of second-year coach Jim Harbaugh: brash, tough and indifferent to critics (unless the conversation is about Peyton Manning). And this "us vs. them" attitude works. San Francisco came out of nowhere to win 13 games last season, and now the 49ers have picked up where they left off in January.
After manhandling Detroit on Sunday night in a rematch of the Handshake Bowl, some of the 49ers players were unimpressed with the vaunted Lions defensive line. Left tackle Joe Staley went so far as to call it overrated.
"They didn't want any part of us up front," he said via Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "Look at the game. We killed them. Every single pressure they got was cheap. It was on a keep or something like that. They weren't beating us one on one. We ran for about 200 yards (148 yards) on the so-called best D-line in all of football. … I've never been impressed by the Detroit Lions' defensive line."
Staley wasn't done: "Up front, they like to pride themselves on being cheap after the play," he said. "They think they're physical because they do that. We stuck with them, chasing them down the field. We set the tone early of not being able to do that with us. I think they were a little taken aback by that. They like to hustle down field and jump on piles and we were sticking with them until the play was done so they weren't able to do that."
No room for misinterpretation there. And Staley wasn't alone. Right tackle Anthony Davis added: "(The Lions' defensive line) thinks highly of themselves. I heard they said they were the best D-line in the league or something. I feel that's disrespectful to other good defensive lines."
For whatever postgame grades mean (and for most of us it's not much), the Detroit Free-Press was less critical of the defensive line's performance, noting that "The Lions did make some splash plays rushing quarterback Alex Smith, but they weren't consistent enough" before giving them a B-.
Before the game, Harbaugh called the Lions "chippy" and a "late-hit bunch" but didn't remember making such comments after the final whistle. However truly foggy his memory, Harbaugh can say what he wants: When you win convincingly in back-to-back efforts against two potential playoff teams, you've earned it.