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On the Phone with Harbaugh and Rice

Posted by Alex Espinoza on November 21, 2011 – 2:01 PM

The countdown to the HarBowl is officially on, as the 49ers and Ravens prepare for their Thanksgiving showdown in Baltimore. Led by Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh, respectively, Thursday night’s matchup is overflowing with intrigue.

The contest will mark the first time in NFL history that two brother head coaches will ever face each other on the field. John Harbaugh, who is two years older than Jim, has led the Ravens to a 7-3 record and a first place tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

Though John Harbaugh said he was focused on the week’s game plan, he acknowledged it will be “amazing” and “historic” to face his brother at the game’s top level. But John Harbaugh still sounded like a coach as he spoke with reporters during Monday’s conference call.

“They have a lot of really good players and I think they’re well-coached,” John Harbaugh said. “I think they stay to their philosophy and it’s good, solid football. It’s field position football, they don’t turn the ball over, they play good defense, they play special teams, they run it and they complete passes.”

Ravens running back Ray Rice said the 49ers remind him a bit of Baltimore, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Per usual, the Ravens boast one of the league’s top defenses this year, one that’s spearheaded by perennial Pro Bowler Ray Lewis. The 16-year pro leads a unit that gives up an average of 304.5 yards per game, the fourth-best total in the NFL.

But the 49ers also have a world-class linebacker roaming the field in a No. 52 jersey, four-time Pro Bowler Patrick Willis.

“He’s the closest thing to (Lewis),” Rice said of Willis. “He plays the game the right way, he’s a tenacious player. A lot of respect for that guy. Definitely looking forward to playing against a guy like that.”

Rice, who gained 104 yards and rushed for two touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-24 win over Cincinnati, will try to become the first individual rusher in 33 games to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the 49ers. Following Sunday’s 23-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers still tote the league’s top rush defense, giving up an average of 73.9 yards per game and haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown all year.

“They take a lot of pride in – not only stopping the run – but not allowing a rusher to score a touchdown,” Rice said. “It’s going to be great challenge. Every yard matters in this game … it’s going to be a slug fest.”

Storylines aside, John Harbaugh said there should be some stellar football on display Thanksgiving night.

“It’s two teams with quite a lot at stake,” John Harbaugh said. “It’s two teams that play a very similar style of football. It’s going to be a great night. It’s going to be a great night for football. If you’re a football fan, I wouldn’t think you’d want to miss this game.”

Click here to listen to Harbaugh’s conference call

Click here to listen to Rice’s conference call


Posted in Announcements | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “On the Phone with Harbaugh and Rice”

  1. By Chas Lauller on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    I can’t remember the Niners ever playing on Thanksgiving Day in my lifetime. It will be a treat to eat my body weight in Turkey & Pumpkin pie while watching the Niners try and stretch their win streak to 10 versus the Ravens. I’d bet it’s a low scoring affair like 17-14 tops. The over under on Pumpkin pie is 4.5 slices…

  2. By Rick in Round Rock Tx on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    nice!!!!

  3. By Ninersok on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    Gonna be a game not to miss for sure. I bet the ratings will be through the roof.

  4. By Brent in Colorado Springs, CO on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    Man, both Harbaughs seem amazing when you hear them talk. There are a lot of similarities. They are great, straight-forward people, that is why their teams are successful. I really can’t wait for the game and their family special on nfl network

  5. By will on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    there are many things in you lifes that we cant miss. childrens birth, our weddings, work, and this thursdays game. i just want to see the 9ers keep their record and extend it another game. i want willis to lay out rice. and justin smith to plow over any one in his way. go 9ers. win or lose. im very proud of you guys for all the hard work. and the change of pace. 9ers. nfc champions

  6. By Marcus 49ers fan in the 808 on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    Should be a great game and I will be there to cheer for the 49ers. This will be the biggest test to date and a win would be great. Lets go 49ers!!!!

  7. By chali82 on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    big brah vs lil bra game of the season king kong and godzilla on the gridiorn. this is like countin down till christmas. hella juiced. lets go niners

  8. By KennyB on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    I’m a big Ravens fan,but i have the upmost respect for the 49ers, they play like the Ravens,an i think Willis reminds me of a young Ray Lewis. Shout out to the former Terp,Vernon Davis. Should be a heck of a game. Hopefully there will be a rematch in the Super Bowl

  9. By antwan b on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s go 9ers!! biggest fan in d.c

  10. By gold49 on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    The Competitive juices are flowing!!! Our coach wants to prove himself to his more experienced brother, Our players want to prove to everybody they can beat a great team, The Ravens players want to kill all the hype about the 9ers, I want to prove to all my friends that the 49ers are going FAR this year! Omg this game just means so much!

    [Let's go get that (10-1)! And Happy Thanksgiving]

  11. By M2daMAX on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    This is really awesome!! It’s all BROTHER love going on. This is one funny story line. Jim and John going at it and me a DIE hard 49ers fan going at it with my brother a DIE hard Ravens fan. LOL! I just can’t wait for Thursday. This is the BATTLE of the year! WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US?? Every 9ers FAN out there knows the answer…..

  12. By rjd niner on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    WATCHING YOUR TWO SONS COMPETE ON THE FIELD THAT YOU
    HAVE PUT YOUR HEART AND SOUL INTO,
    WE AS FANS GET TO ENJOY IT
    TO THE HARBAUGH FAMILY THANK YOU .
    HAPPY THANKSGIVIING

  13. By marvin rose on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Like every one else, have never seen the niners play in thanksgiving. I have been a forty niner fan
    since 1962, This is so cool, Go niners

  14. By rjd niner on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    WHAT MORE CAN A PERSON SAY , AFTER READING ALL THE COMMENTS
    I LIKE THE FIRST COMMENT , THAT WAS GREAT.

  15. By Baltimore563 on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    One thing i like about the 9er fans are that they dont dirty talk, you guys just like to let the game do the playing. All in all, it’s going to be an amazing game, may the best brother win.

  16. By jerry lewis on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    A fan since Frankie Albert days. Even so, I’m looking forward to this game more than any before. I really like Lauller’s over/under expressed in pie slices! Would really like to see our Niners prevail in a hard fought, well played game.

  17. By 49er Joe on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    Ive been a niner fan for about 25 yrs..Never seen a Niner game on Thanksgiving neither…But this is gonna be a great football game..Hopefully we come out on top..but I believe well be eating 2 different kinds of birds that day boiz…Turkey and RAVENS…I can taste it already….NINERS 4 LIFE…Lets go Niners!!!!!

  18. By rjd niner on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    KENNYB , THANK YOU ,THAT WAS NICE.
    MUTUAL RESPECT FOR BOTH TEAMS

  19. By ed burns on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    With no football in B’more until 1996 my son grew up loving the 49er;s and has autographs of Montana, Craig, Rice and others. He’s now 27 and came by the house today to pick up his 49er hat. He plans on wearing the hat with his Ravens jersey.
    Should be great nite at the stadium. Kudos to both teams…..They play the game the right way and old man Harbaugh should be smiling.

  20. By JR Baca, New Mexico 49er on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    AMEN, THAT IS WHAT FOOTBALL SHOULD BE ABOUT, GETTING ALONG AND SUPPORTING OUR TEAMS 110% IS #1

    GO 49ERS>>>>>>>10 and 1 ON THURSDAY>>>>>>>HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE>>>>>>>IT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT GAME, GO ALEX, GO TEAM!

  21. By Ninerfan101 on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    Lets go Niners!! i cant wait for 49er$ vs Packers!!

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