Fooch's Note: Jennifer Chan writes for nflfemale.com and onhergame.com. She was in the Bay Area for Week 4, so I connected her with the 49ers for a credential to the game. She spent the game up in the press box, and then was around for post-game interviews. Here is one with Perrish Cox.
After two heartbreaking losses with numerous penalties, the defense bounced back and played a penalty free game, shutting out a highly productive Eagles offense. What was the difference? According to Perrish Cox, it was communication. Practice this week was loud and fast in preparation for the fast tempo Chip Kelly offense, but it was more than just that. The fast pace put pressure on the defense to not only get to the line faster but to communicate faster as well.
The defense made big plays all game long, but arguably the two biggest came in stopping the Eagles on back-to-back goal-to-go situations at the 49ers 1-yard line. It turns out, the team had prepared for that kind of goal line situation. Nobody would divulge the specific defensive calls. Vic Fangio, Patrick Willis and Cox were all asked about it but they all kept mum about the two plays that helped the 49ers finally get their first win at Levi's Stadium.
Why was this week different for the defense?
"We got tired of not finishing. We've been criticized these past two weeks for not finishing. Our whole goal was to go out there and finish. We knew what type of offense we were going to be facing, top one or two offense in the league, so all week long we gave it our all. It came out good for us."
How was practice different this week?
"It was totally different this week, totally different. I think coach put a little extra on it as far as taking us deep and by the time that play was over with, they had another set of receivers so we'd have to run back and they'd take us deep again. It was more about the pace that we had. I think it was actually good. I kinda think we need to do that every week."
So the pressure to communicate quickly was higher?
"Yes, we had to work without a huddle. We normally huddle and get the call from our LB, but against this offense there was no huddle. I think it worked better for us. I think we need to do that more often."
How has the game changed for you this season? Has the game slowed down at all?
"No, It's the same game, the only thing that's changed is that I'm on the field. Coach always talks to me about staying ready because you'll never know when that time will come. I just want to make the best of it when I do get a chance."
Did you see Antoine Bethea coming towards you on you on the deep interception?
"I did, at the last minute when I was about to go up. Toine's been on me, since when we collided, I think it was against the Bears, and I got tired of my teammates messing with me. But I saw him at the last minute, I saw him coming down really hard and he had a good angle on the ball. We'll share this one as a team."
Regarding the guys who can't be on the field:
"Bowman, Brock, they come to every meeting, we still work out together, they are on the sidelines and in the locker room. They tell us what they see to help us for the next play. They are great motivation on the sidelines."
On bouncing back from tough losses:
"It's kinda like playing corner. When you play corner you're not going to make every play. You can try to make every play but once you don't make that play you have to forget about it and move on to the next. That's how I feel we did it today."
(Charles Barkley's "Short Memory" commercial comes to mind).
On finally getting that first win at Levi's:
"This is a big one. You know when you bounce back from a two game losing streak where basically we gave them up, it's kinda tough so yeah, we are going to celebrate this one. This was a tough week and a great win."