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Lowell Cohn: Can't beef about 49ers' clutch drive

  • Jim Harbaugh waves to fans after Sunday's victory. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Harbaugh was talking meat.

It was minutes after the 49ers defeated the Cardinals 32-20, and Harbaugh was discussing the key drive of the game, the 49ers' offensive drive that started near the end of the third quarter and extended long into the fourth quarter, the drive that led to a touchdown that put away the game, the drive that concluded with eight runs in a row, eight runs which ran the Cardinals right out of Candlestick Park.

Asked about that drive, Harbaugh said, as only Harbaugh can say, “We grinded some meat.”

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals


He answered a few more questions and I brought him back to the metaphor. “What does grinding meat mean?”

He looked at me from on high — he stands on a stage behind a lectern. He said, “Playing tough, hardnosed football. Grinding out the running game. Pounding. Pounding the meat. Grinding the meat.”

Harbaugh moved his hand around and around. Grinding. He smiled. He is a man who likes words, although sometimes you wouldn't know it.

So, grinding meat was about being tough, wearing down the defense, grinding it out.

Allow me to interject that grinding the meat (pork? veal? chicken?) in this circumstance was the essence of good. With the game on the line, a team needs to become meat eaters — er, meat grinders. More on that grinding in a minute.

Another reporter asked, “Is it accurate to say that along with grinding meat you rattle molars? Is that part of the phrase or not?”

Harbaugh eyeballed the reporter. A look of surprise took hold of his face. “That's a different phrase. It's not rattling molars. There's nothing with molars,” he said, confused.

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