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49ers-Falcons recap: Blaine Gabbert, NaVorro Bowman, others discuss Week 9 win

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We have a rundown of various post-game comments from 49ers players. Give them a read to see what offensive and defensive players had to say about the win.

49ers QB Blaine Gabbert
Press Conference - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers

How would you assess how the game went? How did you feel out there?

"Well, the biggest thing is we got the victory. It wasn't pretty at times, but our defense played well. Got a big stop for us at the end and we found a way to move the chains there at the end to kill the clock."

Did you feel good throwing the ball?

"Yeah, I felt great. Tried to get into a rhythm out there and let our guys go to work. Our receivers, running backs, tight ends did a great job making plays."

Talking about being able to move the chains there at the end, you did it on a bootleg run. Can you just go over that play and what you saw?

"It was just, it was a play that we had been working on all week, kind of that we were going to go to in crunch time. Our offensive line did a tremendous job selling the power to the left and it was a run-pass option, but once I knew we had the defensive end sealed, it was me on a DB. I was just going to go for the first down regardless."

How supportive was QB Colin Kaepernick throughout the game and how did he help you?

"He was wonderful. The relationship that we have is great. He was the same way today as I had been with him in the past. Whatever he saw, he told me and we just kind of worked together well."

Such an aggressive mindset for this offense. We see the team going for it on fourth-and-1 even though it was only the nine yard line, it was earlier in the game. What had changed this week as far as that aggressive mindset working--?

"We just had to manufacture some momentum. Momentum plays such a vital role in any football game. We had the opportunity to convert a fourth and a couple inches, I like that. I think we converted it into a touchdown. Anytime you can do that, it bodes well for your football team."

You looked so disappointed when they took away your touchdown. What was going through your head at first when they told you you were down at the one?

"It was huge. It was just kind of a funny play. I thought I was in, but I slipped a little bit so it didn't look too pretty. But, we bounced back. [TE] Garrett [Celek] caught the ball well and our O-line sold the run on that pass play and that opened up really nice."

Head coach Jim Tomsula said you didn't want to come out of the game on that, when they kind of ordered you to, to have your head checked--?

"Yeah, I was a little fired up but that's the protocol that we have installed now and it's all for the safety of the players. So, you've got to respect their decisions and go through kind of the steps to get cleared. I felt fine. There was no doubt in my mind that I wasn't coming back in. That was about it."

I asked Tomsula if you're the starter for the next game in two weeks and he wouldn't answer. I think that's fair to say, he didn't commit. Do you expect to be the starter?

"All I know if we got the victory today. We got a bye week coming up and we're going to prepare for Seattle. That's our next game up there. So, whatever 11 guys we march out on the field, we're going to go up there and expect a victory."

Is that what he told you to say or did you come up with that on your own?

"No. I consider myself a smart guy so I can form my own words and sentences." [laughs]

How did it feel to just be playing again and starting for the first time--?

"It was wonderful. I'm so appreciative for this opportunity and I just wanted to go out there and compete. Lead these guys. I almost gave it away there in the fourth quarter but our defense, like I said previously, had a tremendous stop on third-and-four on the four to get them down on the one-yard line. And so, I just wanted to go out there today and just have fun. You play well when you're having fun and that was the biggest thing."

You looked comfortable in the pocket today which is the opposite of what the people have always said about you in Jacksonville and even last year in the preseason. What has changed with you in the last year where you seem to have a comfort level where you didn't in the past?

"I think just knowing that check-downs aren't a bad thing. I wouldn't say that I wasn't comfortable in the past but certain situations, certain plays, certain twists that the defense would run create you to move outside the pocket. But, at the end of the day, I told that O-line I as going to stick in there and take some shots to the chin but get the ball out and our running backs did a great job on check downs and our receivers did a great job getting open quickly."

What's it like for a quarterback when the Falcons drive down to the two, they face a fourth down and you don't know whether they're going to kick the field goal or go for it. How does that impact you mentally in you going back on the field?

"It's a great situation too be in. Those pressure moments are why we play this game. Gets your adrenaline going a little bit, but regardless of that, we had the same mindset to go out there and win the football game. Whether they score a touchdown or kicked a field goal, our job as an offense it either go out there and secure the victory or go get a victory. And that's kind of the approach that we took."

How did you feel about some of the comments in the national media that, a couple guys saying basically that you lacked courage? You ended up taking some pretty good shots today.

"Their opinions are their own. I know the way I play. My teammates know the way I play and everybody's entitled to their own opinion. Maybe I don't agree with it but at the end of the day, they can say whatever they want."

You found WR Quinton Patton early on. Was that kind of a plan going into the game plan or was you just finding the open man?

"It was just finding the open guy. Coaches always say throw it to the open and it's easier say than done, but he did a great job running and getting open and making a big play there. I think it was in the first quarter."

Kind of off topic a little bit, but are you aware of what's going on at your alma mater of Missouri with the player boycott and things like that and what's your take on it?

"I heard bits and pieces of that and you got to respect the kid's decisions, but at the end of the day they got to do what's best for that program. You just got to move forward from it. They'll find a resolution, and you just move on."

You mentioned that you learned check-downs aren't a bad thing. Can you just talk about that philosophy a little bit?

"It's about taking what the defense gives you. The Falcons have a great defense and kind of the way they play, they want to rally to the football. Catch it short and rally and make the tackle. And we knew that going in. I told our backs to get ready to catch a lot of balls today and they did a tremendous job."

There was a situation where in the game, you were going to the Falcons sideline, and it looked like there was maybe a physical and a verbal thing going on there with the coach or couple coaches?

"I ran out of bounds, I think it was on the third-and-ten on their sideline and got a shoulder from somebody. It was in the heat of the moment and some words were exchanged. I couldn't tell you who it was. I got to go back and look at the film. But, that's really about it."

It looked like it might have been the head coach?

"I couldn't tell you. Everything was moving so fast. All I know is the O-line had my back and the receivers did too."

Did you think you would get back to being a starting quarterback?

"I was talking the other guys earlier this week, as soon as you lose that vision of not seeing yourself as a starting quarterback, you regress tremendously. So, throughout all the ups and downs in Jacksonville and through the early parts of my career, I just treated those as learning experiences. Knowing that things will change, things will turn around and as long as you put your best foot forward every day, keep working, keep grinding through the tough times, things will turn around."

49ers LB NaVorro Bowman
Press Conference - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Are the Falcons one of your favorite teams to play? It seems like something about playing them brings the best out of you.

"You work a guy out personally when he comes into the league and don't draft him? You're going to have a chip on his shoulder against that team. It was fun. I always look forward to playing them."

Forgive me for asking this everything you're up at the podium but today seemed like the real NaVorro Bowman. Is this the closest you've felt to being back?

"It's getting there. That's what I want to keep hearing, that I'm starting to look like the normal me and I told you guys it was going to be a process. It wasn't just going to happen overnight. I'm pleased with the progress I've made so far. Like I said, there's still more to come and more to do. I plan on continuing towards that."

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman is a small elusive back and you guys held him to 12 yards. Does that give you encouragement that things are going to get better on defense?

"Yes it does. I think us playing with each other and going through adverse times helps us realize whatever happens we have to control what happens on defense. Going through all that, you're either going backward or forward. The guys we have in are young but as long as they're trying to get better and go forward, we're going to get better to be able to play the run like we have in the past years. I think that was a good example of how hard we're working and how many hours we're putting in throughout the week to get it right. We showed that today."

You guys brought a lot of pressure right up the middle. Was that something that was talked about a lot in the week leading up to the game?

"It's the coaches doing a great job coming up with the scheme and understanding what they like to do with their protections and things like that. Putting pressure on [Atlanta Falcons QB] Matt Ryan and understanding if you get in his face early it's hard for him to get the ball out. Everything that happened today, the run being stopped, Matt Ryan having to run, it goes to the D-Line. They had a heck of game today and without them me, [LB] Mike [Wilhoite] and the DB's wouldn't have been able to make those plays today."

Did changing the quarterback give the locker room a different sense of energy?

"I think so. [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] had to approach it free minded so he could give it his best shot. We wanted to rally around him and not think, ‘Ok the backup quarterback is our quarterback.' We still approached this game the same as if 7 [QB Colin Kaepernick] was in there. We rallied around Blaine and he did a great job today to get us this win."

What did Blaine do well today? What were some of the things you were impressed with?

"His confidence. He went out there and executed what the coaches asked him to do throughout the week. Expectations came from the teammates more than the outsiders and I definitely think he led us and played for us. Hats off to him and we look forward to coming down and playing on the road next."

Were you surprised at all that the Falcons kicked that last field goal when they only had a yard and a half to go on the 4th down?

"No, their running back [Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman] had 12 yards on the day, so I wasn't surprised. They wanted to put some points on the board and once again it was the D-Line who played a great game today."

Obviously you always want to stop the run but how much was making them one-dimensional an emphasis during the week?

"It was good. We only had 6 DB's here today so I can only imagine how the game would have went if the pass was working and the run was working. For us to really get them in that one-dimensional spot it helped the DB's with expecting the pass on passing downs. That really helped us out today."

How are you coming along with your recovery?

"Waking up in bed and feeling better every day. It used to be rough. The corner is being turned but like I said there's still more that I feel I can do. It's about the team to progress and put the work in throughout the week so I can feel good on Sundays.

The 49ers ask you to do a lot of things. Covering WR Julio Jones on a deep route, is that pushing it a little bit?

"He's a tough cover but I do whatever the coaches ask me to do. That was a great ball and catch by Julio. We knew those things would probably happen with the threat he is as a wide receiver."

49ers TE Garrett Celek
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

What about your chemistry with QB Blaine Gabbert? He put it on the money and you had some nice moves in the end zone.

"Yeah, Blaine is a good quarterback. I just happened to be open and he found me and I got the ball."

What do you think it says about Blaine Gabbert that people might not have known?

"I mean, with him not playing the whole year and then to step in like this and do what he did, I think he's a really good player and he's a tough guy."

But, it wasn't just Blaine. It was also RB Shaun Draughn and RB Pierre Thomas, too.

"Yeah, that's a good point. 24, man, that guy, he's fast. To come in this week and do what he did, that's extremely, extremely impressive."

On your first touchdown you went with the two-handed spike.

"Yeah, I don't know what I was doing. I was trying to go with the worst celebration ever. No, I was just so excited I just didn't really know what to do. It doesn't happen much for me, so it was just exciting."

49ers CB Marcus Cromartie
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

You lined up quite a bit against Falcons WR Julio Jones the first couple plays of the game. People look at that and say a guy who just came up from the practice squad against Julio Jones, that's not going to be pretty. What was your mindset and did you have confidence going into that matchup?

"Most definitely. I have confidence going into any matchup because I practice hard. They say practice makes the games easy. The coaches knew what I could do just based off practice. So, I go out there and I practice my butt off and I just hope it carries over to the game, and it did today."

49ers RB Shaun Draughn
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Shaun Draughn with almost 100 all-purpose yards in his first game as a Niner. Give us your thoughts.

"I'm humbled, I'm grateful, just happy to be back working. [I'm happy] to be out here with guys that love the game. We practiced hard all week. It's great to be back. I'm happy."

You were used out of the backfield and handing it off, do you have a part of your game you're more comfortable at? You seemed pretty natural as a receiver today.

"I like to do it all. If it's a pass they want me to do, I'll catch. If it's a run, I'll do that, too. I want to be the all-around guy. They used me that way and I was happy about it."

You gave a fresh perspective for this offense and you're one of four new players that started for this offense. What was your take on the week of practice leading up to this game that impressed you? What was the impression you took going into today's game?

"It's a tight-knit group, you don't get that everywhere you go. Like I said I've been on a lot of teams and there's just a feel, and the morale of this team is a good feel. I'm wondering why it was only two wins, you know what I mean? But I see the type of guys that are in here and the way they practiced this week, they were definitely hungry for a win and it showed up in the game. We definitely still have some work to do." 

What impresses you about QB Blaine Gabbert? His first start since 2013, he was kind of in the same boat [as you].

"Blaine's a good guy. I met with Blaine a couple times also, just to hear his lingo and just to be around what he's feeling about the game. He's a take-charge type of guy. I don't know if you all heard or saw when he got taken out of the game, but he's a competitive guy also. He was hot about that. He's a good guy, he's a take-charge [guy]. He sits in the pocket; if he needs to, he takes off and makes great plays with his feet. You need that."

What about your readiness to jump into the fray with just a few days prep? How long have you been out of the game?

"I really haven't played offense in a while. I've been playing special teams and got released two or three weeks ago from the [Cleveland] Browns. I wasn't out too bad, but it was a bit of an adjustment. When you're called, that's part of the job."

Did you know going into the game that you were going to be used as much as you were? Did you know you were going to start or is that just how the game played out?

"No, I actually didn't. [49ers head coach] Coach [Jim Tomsula] walked up to me during pre-games like ‘Oh, you're starting by the way'. I was like ‘OK, let's go'. But during the week he said we would play, they would use us, but we just didn't know how much. I guess they made a decision and went with it."

That 30 yard run was the longest of your career. How did that play open up for you?

"It was a draw play. The [offensive] line did a great job of executing the way it was drawn up. You don't really get the looks you want with certain plays but we got the look we wanted and they slammed it down. I tried to break a tackle and get in the open field and see what was out there."

For a guy that had been playing predominately special teams, how much fun was it to get as many touches as you did in a win? How much fun was that?

"It was great. I'd been praying for this opportunity for so long. Like I said, eight teams, that doesn't happen often. Especially when you skip from team to team and then you come in one week and you're starting, that doesn't happen. I'm just thankful and humble for the opportunity that the coaches gave me."

49ers WR Bruce Ellington
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

What was it like in the huddle with San Francisco 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert?

"It was no different. He was just out there like ‘let's do this, let's get this, let's keep moving the ball, let's keep pounding, let's keep going. Just out there being a leader which is what the quarterback is supposed to do.

What did the intensity mean to you, this offense and this team?

"It just shows he is ready to step in and be a leader and lead this team to win."

What was the sense for you guys out there? The offense started clicking early. You put up some points - 17 in the first half, I believe, is a season high. You started to get some mojo going.

"Oh yeah, you always need that. Once the offense gets going and the defense makes stops, you know, that's what we're trying to do - get the whole team going."

What about QB Colin Kaepernick's reaction and him sitting in this locker room. What do you make of that?

"Kap will still be him. He still comes around, still talks to us. I don't think it's going to change. He still works hard. The coaches made a change and he is playing his role."

How much did you guys need this win, you must be able to take a sigh of relief?

"I know, right? We needed this, man. It's fun when you win, so it was a great team win and we have this Bye Week and then it's getting ready for Seattle."

49ers FB Bruce Miller
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Were you surprised at the end there after going for the field goal and not the touchdown with only about 3 minutes left in the game?

"I think they just want to have faith in their guys and their defense. I'm not their coach, so, I probably would've went for it."

Was there a little bit of adrenaline on that last play knowing your number was getting called?

"Oh yeah. The nerves were going. I trusted the guys up front and had a good exchange from the quarterback and was able to pick it up."

It looked like you had a hole and then you got hit from behind. Did you know you got it [the first down] right away or did you think it was going to be close?

"No, I knew it was going to be close. The referee gave me a good spot so it was good to see."

There were two fourth downs for this team, one called early in the game. What do you think was the message the coaches were sending to this offense to go for it on fourth down so early?

"That we were going after it and that we wanted to win this football game. And that it was important to go into a Bye Week with a win. The guys are just out there fighting. You don't want to put it in their hands. To go for it on fourth and one - you saw the reaction on the sideline. Guys were excited about it and wanted to win the football game. It was good to see."

So many new players on this offense. You have RB Shaun Draughn out there, RB Pierre Thomas, as well as QB Blaine Gabbert starting. What was it about this offense that impressed you so much with so many new players starting?

"It was impressive that they were able to come in this week and take the information and translate it onto the field. He [RB Shaun Draughn] played an outstanding game. He was running the ball well. All three of them did a great job running the football. So just a great job  to them to be able to come in and get the information to be able to make it happen on Sunday."

What energy did QB Blaine Gabbert bring to this offense? I know that he was coming in to give QB Colin Kaepernick a breather as Head Coach Jim Tomsula explained it, but what kind of life did he bring to this offense in this game?

"I think a lot of the same things. Confidence, determination and then great leadership. You can feel it in the huddle with all of our guys."

49ers S Eric Reid
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

You guys didn't sit back and play a lot of zone reads today. You got after it. You had a lot of edge rush and blitzes and yourself and 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman really made an impact.

"That's huge, especially with a quarterback like that [Falcons QB Matt Ryan]. He's a smart guy. The disguise worked well for us. He had a hard time with the coverage, I think. We were able to mess with him a little bit and it worked out for us."

What about that fourth down decision at the 2-yard line to take the field goal rather than try to punch it in? Did that surprise you? Were you saying thank you?

"Yeah, I said thank you. I thought an onside kick was coming. I'm glad they did it."

What about the quarterback change and how it sparked the offense? How did it impact you and the defense?

"They were able to move the ball. I'm happy for [49ers QB] Blaine [Gabbert], happy for his opportunity, and he played well today. It doesn't mean anything if we don't stack another one. We have to enjoy the Bye Week, get our bodies healthy and come back fighting again."

Did you think the defense had a little extra hop in its step after seeing the offense move and score, putting up 17 points in the first half?

"Definitely. Any time the offense can sustain a drive and get the defense some rest, the defense plays better as a result. It think it showed today."

49ers S Jaquiski Tartt
Postgame Quotes - November 8, 2015
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

What was the plan going into the game?

"We tried to keep our eye on [Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones]. The running back [Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman], obviously he's their leading rusher. They're a good team so we wanted to go out and play our defense that we always play."

With each game are you getting a little more comfortable and knowing where everything is coming at you?

"Yeah I can say that, but I always keep making rookie mistakes. I've got to eliminate those and I'll be good."

Having the offense score some points and move the ball, do you guys as a defense feed off of that a little bit?

"Most definitely. If the offense can put points on the board it allows the defense to rest. It helped out a lot."

I know you guys were obviously looking at Jones a lot but what about [49ers CB Marcus] Cromartie and the job he did? It seemed like he was matched up on him a lot.

"Yeah, he's a hell of a player. He did a great job. He did everything the coaches asked him to do and he was successful."