Saints 25 - 49ers 22: Post game Notes and Quotes

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers catches the ball during their game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on September 20 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Amazingly enough, even at 11:15pm pacific time, our post-game thread has been filling up like crazy so I'm gonna open up a new thread. In spite of a week of turmoil and then a ball-buster of a game, I'm stoked that people are able to unload their frustrations, optimism, excitement, pessimism, etc. here at Niners Nation. I mentioned this in another thread but I've never bought into the idea of certain people being "true fans" and other people thus being fair-weather fans. While I strongly disagree with certain opinions about the team, I also recognize that certain amounts of criticism are warranted.

In the meantime, the 49ers sent out some notes from the game, as well as quotations from the post game press conferences. I've posted all that after the jump.

San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints
Game Notes
Sunday, September 20, 2010

All-Time Leader

  • With 112 yds. rushing on the day, RB Frank Gore set the franchise record for most career 100-yd. games (21) passing RB Joe Perry (20).

All-Purpose Back

  • QB Alex Smith connected with RB Frank Gore for a 12-yd. TD pass in the 2ndqtr., marking Gore's 8thcareer TD recept. and Smith's 38thTD pass. Gore finished the day with a team-high 7 recepts. for 56 yds. Gore racked up 168 total yds. from scrimmage (112 rushing, 56 receiving), his highest total since 12/14/09 vs. Arz. (177 yds. from scrimmage, 167 rushing, 10 receiving).

Rookie Finding Paydirt

  • Rookie RB Anthony Dixon scored on a 2-yd. TD run on his first career carry. Dixon became the first RB in the NFL to score a TD on his first career carry since Jacksonville Jaguars RB Montell Owens vs. Hou. (9/28/08). The last 49er to score a TD on his first career carry was WR Terrell Owens at StL (10/25/98).

Keeping Alex Clean

  • The 49ers offense did not allow a sack on QB Alex Smith's 32 pass attempts. It is the first time the 49ers did not allow a sack since 11/29/09 vs. Jax. (41 attempts - QB Alex Smith). Through the first two games, the 49ers allowed just 2 sacks, ranking t-4thfewest in the NFL.

Bringing Pressure

  • The 49ers defense was able to sack Saints QB Drew Brees twice on the night. That's the most sacks allowed by the Saints since 12/19/09 vs. Dal. (4 sacks). LB Patrick Willis registered his 10thcareer sack and LB Ahmad Brooks notched the 9thof his career.

Racking Up The Yardage

  • The 49ers offense totaled 417 yds. from scrimmage (142 yds. rushing, 275 yds. passing), the most since 11/19/06 vs. Sea. (416 yds. from scrimmage).

Long Lasting Drives

  • The 49ers capped off a 12-play, 82 yd. drive with a 12-yd. pass from QB Alex Smith to RB Frank Gore. This marked the most plays in a 49ers TD drive since opening day 2009 at Arz. (9/13/09 - 15-plays, 80 yds. - 3-yd. TD pass from QB Shaun Hill to Gore).

Moving The Chains

  • The 49ers offense converted 55.6% of their 3rddown atts. (5 of 9), the highest 3rddown percentage since 12/15/07 at Cin. (9 of 15, 60.0%).

Tough On D

  • Through the first two weeks of the season, the 49ers defense ranks 4thin the NFL (2ndin the NFC), allowing just 264.5 yds./game.

A Fresh Start

  • Adam Snyder made his first start at right guard since 10/25/09 at Hou.

Extending His Streak

  • DT Justin Smith extended his NFL leading consecutive starts streak among defensive linemen to 141 games.

Head Coach Mike Singletary
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On staying in the game and not allowing it to be a blowout:

"Not allowing it to be a blowout? I'm just glad the guys continued to fight back, and overcome some of the setbacks, some of the things that we did to ourselves, self-inflicted. In terms of a blowout, it was unfortunate that we didn't capitalize on the things that we had and do a better job."

On what he has learned about QB Alex Smith down the stretch:

"Nothing new. Nothing new."

On whether he has done that before:

"No. What I mean by that is, I have a saying that what we do in practice we can do in the game, so I've seen him do that in practice a number of times."

On whether this game can be a springboard for the rest of the season:

"The thing that I told our team is in this league, it is very difficult to win football games when you're laying the football down, when you're giving the football up. It's hard to overcome if you're on the road, it's hard to overcome at home. And we have to learn how to protect the football consistently. When we do that I think we'll give ourselves a chance to be a good football team."

On the factor behind the snap being off:

"You know what, I'm not sure. I'll have to find that out, I'm not sure."

On whether there is anything more the defense could have done to stop the Saints:

"You know I, I just I think we did the things that we were trying to do to win the game. As far as what we did, obviously when you don't get a win, you didn't do enough."

On his mindset after the game:

"My mindset is when we stop defeating ourselves, when we stop putting the ball on the ground and we stop doing things to hurt ourselves, we're going to be a good football team. How good, that remains to be seen. That is my feeling after this game."

On whether there were communications problems when TE Vernon Davis came out late:

"Oh, okay. I think it was basically personnel, but I'm not sure what the situation was on that, I have not had the chance to talk to [TE] Vernon [Davis] about that yet."

On whether he feels like they outplayed the Saints and they should have won the football game:

"I don't ever, ever want to say that I think we should have won a football game. If we should have, then we should have won. I mean, it's unfortunate. Our guys played, but the last thing I'm going to say is we should have won. They hung in there, they're world champions from last year. They did the things they had to do to win the game. So they deserve to win the game."

On what he likes about the wildcat:

"Well it's a timing play. You have to be patient inside and if there's a hole there you take it. Obviously on that particular play there wasn't, so we just kind of shied away from it then."

On when CB Phillip Adams backed away from the punt and whether they considered changing punt returners at that point:

"No. I mean, it happened, it's unfortunate for the kid. We put him in a tough situation, but no."

On whether the wind was a factor:

"It was a big factor."

On whether they had the option at the start of the second half to have the wind at their back:

"We took the wind. We felt that we wanted to win in the third quarter with the feeling that we could do something with the football and go ahead in the game and then maybe in the fourth quarter, you know, slow it down a bit."

CB Nate Clements
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On DT Ray McDonald getting a piece of the winning field goal with his hand:

"You know what? Even the one before he had a field goal, and you know the D-line definitely has a knack for that. As you can see we, I think we had, the last three years we had like three touchdowns off of just blocked field goals so I was feeling confident. I was feeling like they were going to get one, and sure enough we got one but still, you know, it had enough on it to win the game."

On taking some momentum from a game like this with two road-games coming up:

"You know, as we do week-in and week-out you got take the good with the bad; go in, watch film, make the corrections and get ready to prepare for the next week. You know, we can't sit and sulk. You know, this game; it definitely hurts but we got that 24-hour rule in our head win or lose."

On being more effective in coverage against the Saints versus week one versus the Seahawks:

"We were effective last week. We were effective last and we were effective this week. We got, like I said earlier, enough players and we got good players, you know, on this team, especially on defense. Even on the back-end, we got, you know, we got a good secondary. So It wasn't, it wasn't anything that really changed; we played good week one and we played good this week."

T Anthony Davis
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On what it's like to lose like that on a last second field goal:

"That's the worst way to lose; it's part of the game though you know what I'm saying? We just have to keep going, it's football. Its competition, it was a tough one."

On the drive you guys came back to tie it on and how you seemed to all be clicking. On what the difference was on that drive:

"We do it every day in practice, we do that same drill every day in practice, so it wasn't really like, nobody really got up tight about it we just were like ‘let's go do our thing'."

On the offense and their day overall:

"I just wanted to win."

TE Vernon Davis
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On what the 49ers have to do to win games:

"We've got the guys on offense. We've got the guys on defense. It's our job to go out and execute the plays that are given to us. In order to do that, we have to start out right and make plays. That's all."

On what Alex Smith did different from Week 1:

"He wanted to win. He wanted to lead the team. I thought he did a great job. He comes to work at practice every week and I'm excited about his future and his career here as a 49er. But, we have to make him right. He can't always make us right. We have to make him right. We have to be there for him as far as receivers, and in the blocking game we have to protect and give him time to get the ball out."

S Dashon Goldson
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On how proud the team was to fight back from being down 9-0 early on:

"I mean, that was big time. Our guys stepped up tremendously. Offense; [QB] Alex [Smith] put the team on his back and to carry them all the way down the field. He stepped up big time for us; a lot of credit goes to him today."

On whether QB Alex Smith came of age today:

"Definitely; definitely. He stepped up big time. He knew what this game meant to us, he had to come back and show the world that he is a good quarterback and last, last week was not his game. But that's just to show some of the things that he can do. He's a good quarterback and we believe in him, and he showed everybody this week what he can do."

On what the defense was thinking after the score was tied at 22-22:

"We got to get the ball back. You know, we knew they were going to try and get in field position. They couldn't run the ball, so they were going to have to dump the ball down the field and we knew we were going to have to tighten up our defense as a secondary."

 

RB Frank Gore
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints 

On why the 49ers lost the game:

"It's good and bad. We made too many mistakes. They're a good team, but they couldn't handle us out there. They can't handle us."

On what happened on the intercepted pass:

"It was a tipped pass. I tipped it up and couldn't get it. It was a jump ball and the defender made the catch."

On what the 49ers will do differently next game:

"We know what we can do. We know what type of character we got. We just have to stop beating ourselves. We whooped their behind up and down the field. They can't stand up with us. We beat ourselves for the second week in a row. That has to change."

DT Ray McDonald
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On whether the 49ers would win the game if it went to overtime:

"You can't say if we would have or should have. We would have fought them hard."

On the goal line stand to force a field goal:

"We just wanted to give our offense a chance to go down and score and they did. Our two minute, we didn't win it when we were supposed to. We just wanted to give our offense a chance to score and they did and they bailed us out. Once again we didn't hold them like we should have."

On the defensive tactics on Saints QB Drew Brees:

"We just wanted to rush four on third down. When you're blitzing he can read it and get out of it. A lot of it was four-man rushing. Our defensive coordinator [Greg Manusky] trusts us enough to get there and get good pressure on them and we did that for the most part, but as I said, at the end we couldn't pull it off."

WR Josh Morgan
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On the team's effort:

"The effort was obvious. We all put it out there and lay it on the line every game. Our biggest thing is that we know we can't turn that ball over like that. If we take care of the ball, the game is a whole other outcome."

On QB Alex Smith's performance:

"It was great. [QB] Alex [Smith] did a great job. The line protected him real good. We just ran out routes and got open. As soon as we got [RB] Frank [Gore] the ball, Frank had some good chunks and that just opened everything else up for everybody else. Like you said, Alex was very confident. He played a great game. You couldn't ask for anything more from your quarterback. Some of those turnovers, tipped balls you can't do much about that as a quarterback."

On the communication of the team:

"The communication was a lot better overall, the coaches to Alex, all throughout huddle. When we got up to the line we had time to communicate, who was going to get who and all of that. So, the communication was great and like I said, Alex was real commanding in the huddle, he got everybody lined up and he executed the offense."

 

QB Alex Smith
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On what he takes from this game:

"I don't know. A lot of emotions right now: frustrated. I mean, in the end, it's a loss just like last week. Lose by one, or lose by whatever - it doesn't matter. Some things to take away from it, but still killing ourselves. Turnovers, especially today in the red zone. I think three turnovers, whether we were in or right on the fringe of the red zone.  You walk away with field goals in all three of those, and we put up 30 points on a pretty good defense. Let alone, we hand them two points on the first series. I think, once again, just realizing the things we do to ourselves sometimes. Not to take away anything from them. They're a world champion football team. But, did a lot of things to ourselves today that put ourselves behind the ball, and when you play a team like that, it's going to make it tough."

On what happened on the safety:

"Better question for [G/C] Dave [Baas]. We were in the gun. I think just an adjustment he was making. I don't know if it slipped or what. Obviously, ask him. Obviously, he's pretty upset about it, but you've got to move on."

On whether he knew TE Vernon Davis was in on the two-point conversion:

"I didn't, no. I knew it was close when he got hit, and then it really looked like he was out of it. The guy was right there on the line. I thought he made the right call initially. I was doubtful he was in once they made the call."

On whether Davis was the first read:

"He was kind of 1A, I guess I would say - how I would put it. Him and [TE] Delanie [Walker] right in there. And then [WR] Josh [Morgan] coming around the back side on that side would be second if they jumped those guys a little. The throw would be in the back of the end zone. It was tough to pass up Vernon. Once I saw the window to take it, I pulled the trigger. I couldn't tell. I knew it was kind of a bang-bang play. "

On whether the team had any communication problems on the one delay of game:

"Obviously we emphasized it all week. I think the wristband helped a little bit. I just think we practiced better all week with it, and we were more conscious of it from top to bottom. The one today was a freak thing. Totally unrelated to anything we've had. I guess Vernon had some kind of helmet deal going on and was on the sideline. I think he thought there was a TV timeout or something."

On whether the two-minute drive at the end of the game was fun:

"Obviously, it's two-minute. You practice a lot of two-minute drills for that situation. We practiced all week. That defense - they do some really unorthodox things, a lot of overload pressure. They play some weird coverages, very different things. We saw some of that early, but I thought our protection there in that two-minute drive was great. I thought the guys up front - we hit all the calls. They were trying to overload us a few times, and we picked it up and were able to take shots. I was able to get out there and run a little bit because the guys up front picked all that stuff up.  I thought all those guys did a great job. We communicated well."

On the two interceptions:

"The first one, running the play-action pass. And, the corner delay blitzed on the weak side, and he was coming free. I knew I was going to get hit. Was trying to get the ball out, and I saw [RB] Frank [Gore] there, and literally, just kind of left it out there in front of him. I was thinking him or nobody, was the type of a throw.  Whenever you throw an out cut, you'd like to miss it, as we say, on the bleacher side, and that's kind of what I was thinking. If you're going to miss that, don't miss it behind him. Miss it out in front. I didn't see it. I got hit. I guess it obviously - it popped up and got picked. So that was my thought. They had a free hat, and I knew I was going to get hit. I didn't want to hold on to it. So I was thinking just leaving the ball out in front of him. Him or nobody type of throw."

On the second interception:

"Tip-pick. I don't know what to say about it. We were running a little play-action pass, running the slant backside. If you look on film, I think if I get it through there, it's going to be a bit play. He might have scored. It's kind of a bang-bang play. It's not one of those types of things where I can sit and wait for the next window. You'd like to get the ball out there. Some guys get the ball tipped, some guys don't. Don't be one of those guys I guess. It's part of the deal. It sucks, but can't let it happen."

On whether he feels the offense made a statement tonight on national TV:

"I don't know. We were productive. Like I said, I think we had some yards. But, the same thing, for all that yardage, coming away with only 22 points. In my mind, three times down there in the fringe - one time down in the - I don't know where the Delanie play happened, but, down close to the 15, 10. At minimum you walk away with some field goals there. In the worst case, you're 31 points. I think we could have been a lot better. There were some good things."

On whether he feels the team let one slip through its fingers:

"I mean, it definitely hurts. Yes, no question. I think when you look at that, over the course of the night, putting ourselves in the hole with the plays that we made early on in that game hurt us there at the end. You could probably point to five or six of them that put us behind the ball, and when you play a team like that it's going to come back and get you."

On whether there's anything to build from with this game:

"I think we understand that, no question. In the sense that those are definitely correctable things - things that we're doing to ourselves. Self-inflicted. I think the one thing that I take away, all week, last night, we put the workload on the offensive line. They knew they got challenged. They knew this was going to be on them, and they stepped up. I was really impressed, blocking. It was fun to watch Frank, getting all of those blocks covered up and let Frank run. And the same thing in the protection. Really do a great job versus a front that really throws a lot at you, a lot of pressure. I thought those guys, they were the reason we had success tonight."

On whether he meant that working on communication all week referred to the wristband:

"Worked on that game situation more. We were running with a 40-second clock and going and working on it. From top to bottom, getting it called."

On whether he's worn the wristband before:

"Never in a game. Just in practice. I mean, just working on the entire function of it. From [Offensive Coordinator] Jimmy [Raye] all the way to me to getting the play off with the clock rolling. Practicing that, making a conscious effort of it."

On how Frank Gore's running helped him get more comfortable in the pocket:

"Just to stay balanced. I think you look that's the difference between the first half last week, I mean the whole game this week. When you're able to stay balanced and to see what it does to the passing game, the things we're able to do. The tempo it creates. There's an energy in the huddle when we're getting back and we're rolling, and we're running the ball like that. We're making throws. It's just a different energy, a different tempo. And, last week we couldn't stay with it for a whole game.  I think we all look back and wished we would have. We were able to do that tonight, even into the fourth quarter. I think it's something we all understand. On the offensive side of the ball, it's something we need to have."

 

G Adam Snyder
Post-Game Quotes - September 20, 2010
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

On why the 49ers lost the game:

"I believed in [QB] Alex Smith from day one.  It's been that way for six years.  The guy is poised.  He's got confidence in his game, and I'm proud of him."

On what kind of team the 49ers are:

"We are a smart football team.  Things happen in the game. We overcame a lot. Obviously there are things we need to get better at to win games.  I believe in us, and I know everybody in this locker room believes in us.  And that's all we need-to believe and to keep going."

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