Brown given game ball for hounding Vick

The Sports Xchange
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--LB NaVorro Bowman was given a game ball by coach Jim Harbaugh after the Eagles' win, the coach said. Bowman stopped four third-down plays by tackling Michael Vick in the open field twice, putting pressure on Vick, and by recovering a fumble. Harbaugh was asked if he was surprised by the play of the second-year linebacker.

"I wouldn't say surprised because we all felt like he was this kind of player," Harbaugh said. "It's great when a guy lives up to that and keeps pushing through that. I think he has a high ceiling."

--You don't think of quarterbacks mixing it up at the bottom of a scrum to get a loose ball. But coach Jim Harbaugh called his ability to out-wrestle a defensive player for a ball a highlight of his 15-year playing career.

"There are other guys that are tugging at your legs, sometimes giving you a shot in the ribs, or gauging the face or the neck," he said. "It's eventful. ... It was probably one of my proudest plays as a player, to go into one of the piles, had half of the ball and was able to work it and came up with the ball. It was exactly how I described it, like an arm-wrestling match. Couldn't even lift up my arms after I was done because I was straining so hard to keep the leverage of the ball."

--It's not every day you get to knock your idol to the ground. But that's what happened Sunday when rookie pass rusher and No. 1 pick Aldon Smith dropped Michael Vick for a 10-yard sack.

"That was my favorite quarterback," Smith, 22, said of Vick. Smith wasn't even in high school when Vick broke into the NFL. Smith helped Vick off the grass after decking him. He also shook his hand after the game and said, "Good game."

--Not only is the Bay Area high on coach Jim Harbaugh, there's also positive feelings surrounding Hue Jackson, the Raiders head coach. It turns out that Harbaugh knows Jackson and has learned some offensive football from him. Harbaugh went to Baltimore to visit his older brother John while Jim was coaching at Stanford the last few years. Jackson was with the Ravens as an offensive coach.

"Been around Coach a few times and learned a good amount of things from him, just watching him coach and I've got great respect for him," Harbaugh said. "Does a fantastic job."

--Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson, who attended Oakland Tech High in Oakland and who was Jim Harbaugh's quarterback at the University of San Diego was brazen in his desire to play for Harbaugh during the lockout. However neither the 49ers nor Bucs coach Raheem Morris said the 49ers made an effort to work a trade for Johnson.

--LB Patrick Willis, the team's defensive captain, encapsulated what many of his teammates are feeling when he said: "I feel so much more alive than I have in the past from a physical aspect and from a mental standpoint. I just feel phenomenal. A lot of it has to do with the attitude we have as a team, that the head coach brings to the team and our position coaches. I think from head-to-toe we have something special here."

--Coach Jim Harbaugh leaned on the excuse of not knowing his players into the regular season. He uses that excuse no more.

"The experts say 21 days, that's what you need to get acclimated to a new home, a new situation," he said. "We're long past that now so, I believe that our players know what to expect, we know what to expect from them, and (we) keep making real progress."

--Former 49ers QB Trent Dilfer used to say the best coaches were the ones who knew their limitations and realized that the game takes on its own character far removed from the X's and O's once it starts. Coaches can provide some guidelines, but ultimately coaches have to realize most of what transpires is out of their hands.

That might be one reason coach Jim Harbaugh highlighted an impromptu pass from Alex Smith to Kendall Hunter once the protection broke down in the third quarter of the Eagles game.

"It was a unique play, something that took instincts and took some real feel so I highlighted it," Harbaugh said.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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