FEDEX FIELD — Pierre Garçon plays angry. Everybody knows that.
Redskins fans know that from his five seasons in Washington. Sometimes, however, that passion and anger go too far, and it happened in the first half of Sunday's wild contest between the 49ers and the Redskins.
Garçon made a nice catch inside the 10-yard line and headed up field, lowering his head to take on Redskins rookie safety Montae Nicholson. The two men collided, hard, and Nicholson's body had a scary reaction. He froze up, with players immediately signaling for trainers to come out. Eventually, perhaps miraculously, Nicholson walked off the field, under his own power, with a smile on his face.
For a few minutes, however, it looked bad. Nicholson's helmet came off during the collision and a hush fell over the 75,000 plus fans at FedEx Field.
The moments following the collision were tense, and as Nicholson stayed down on the field, Garçon's emotions showed their ugly side. The tackle left Garçon short of the goal line, and would have forced the Niners to kick a field goal, yet Garçon popped up and enjoyed his big hit, even appearing to shout to Nicholson on the ground.
Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger took exception, rightfully, and stood up to Garçon's antics. Swearinger got into Garçon's face, and after a the wideout headbutted the safety, Swearinger shoved Garçon in the face.
"One of my guys went down and Pierre was celebrating," Swearinger said after the game (full video above). "When a guy’s hurt, you shouldn’t celebrate. I was standing up for my guy."
Swearinger's shove drew a personal foul penalty, and proved costly. With new life near the goal line, San Francisco scored a touchdown just before halftime.
"He sort of head butted me a little bit but I got to keep my cool and be a better captain and force them to kick that [field goal]," Swearinger said.
At halftime, it seemed like Garçon did what he's done many times. Get inside the head of an opponent, perhaps by crossing the line of good sportsmanship while the referrees weren't looking, and help his team along the way.
A funny thing happened later.
Garçon got flagged on a questionable offensive pass interference during the 49ers final drive of the game. The 10-yard penalty pushed San Francisco out of reasonable field goal range, and Garçon was livid at the call.
On the actual play, Garçon did make contact with the Redskins' Zach Brown. This time, the linebacker made the smart play, staying in Garçon's way as he ran his route, and forcing the refs to make a questionable call.
In fact, it seemed just like something Garçon would do.
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