SANTA CLARA –- Coach Jim Tomsula said he had no problem with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell going low with his hit on 49ers running back Carlos Hyde on Sunday.
“He came in to tackle him low,” Tomsula said on Wednesday, the first time he has been asked about the play. “I put it as a low tackle. Carlos is a big, strong, physical back. That’s all I have to say about that. It’s not a knee or a hip, it’s a quad.”
Hyde is expected to be ready to play against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. He could see limited practice on Wednesday due to the quad bruise.
Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake had ahold of Hyde around his left ankle when Mitchell dashed to the scene and led with his right shoulder into Hyde’s right knee area at the end of a 9-yard run.
When asked if he thought the play was legal or fair, Tomsula said, “There was no flags on the play.”
In January, Mitchell said he would hit players at knee level to avoid penalties. He was called for unnecessary roughness for a high hit on Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones in an AFC wild-card playoff game.
“I don't know what they want us to do, man,” Mitchell said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I am going to hit every single guy in the knee from here on out. I am getting tired of it. It's ridiculous. You can't change where you are aiming on a guy once you shot your shot. If you look at that play, the dude is trying to go down as the ball is coming. I can't re-aim my body. This is full speed, tackle football. I will hit everybody in the knee from here on out to avoid that.”
Hyde, who leads the NFL with 211 yards rushing in two games, is a hard-charging running back and Tomsula said the 49ers are not going to coach him to go down in order to avoid big hits.
“I don’t think you change the DNA of a guy,” Tomsula said. “That’s him. That’s what he does. It’s one of the things we love about him.”