2012 49ers Play-Action vs. Rams
Harbaugh said the problems were most evident during the teams' Week 10 game at Candlestick Park. That game ended in a tie. The teams played again three weeks later, with the Rams winning that game, 16-13 in overtime.
"Yeah, after the first game we played the Rams, we saw that we were doing that," Harbaugh told reporters Thursday.
Harbaugh said the 49ers adjusted and there were fewer problems in the rematch.
Safety Craig Dahl, who signed with the 49ers this offseason after playing for St. Louis, said earlier in the week that the Rams knew the 49ers' intentions by watching for players to "tip" run or pass by their actions before the snap. Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis subsequently said the "tips" allowed the Rams to ignore play-action fakes in some instances.
The chart shows the 49ers' play-action stats against the Rams by game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Three sacks during the Week 10 game dragged down the 49ers' yards per drop-back while contributing to a 20.2 out of 100 Total QBR score (50 is average). The QBR score was 98.8 in the second game in part because there were zero sacks. Also, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick broke a crucial 50-yard run on one of these play-action plays.
Harbaugh said the information Dahl provided regarding the situation confirmed what the 49ers knew through scouting. He also said it's pretty common for teams to gain advantages that way during a season.