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Comments from 49ers defensive veterans after ugly Cardinals loss

To say the mood in the locker room was somber is an understatement but the players fulfilled their media requirements and spoke after the game.

The last thing players want to do after such a lopsided loss is talk to the media, but they are required to do it. The following are transcripts for NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks and Ian Williams. You can see the Bowman video here but it starts well after the long pauses that he takes before answering "I don't know" to two questions. The frustration was evident. He didn't actually sound like himself until he was asked about his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and he chuckles a little bit. This was the first time that he seemed at a loss for words since taking over the unofficial role of defensive spokesperson.

The 49ers defense has a lot of work to do, and the veterans will be critical if this group is going to turn things around. Here are transcripts from three veterans following the game.

NaVorro Bowman

How did being down 14-0 make an impact?

I wasn't even worried about the score. I just go out there and relay the calls and hope that we execute the calls. There is not really anything we can do about the offensive side. We as a defense need to go out there every single play and defend the end zone. That is what our goal is.

They had 28 first downs. where was the break down?

I don't know.

You've been around for a while, does there need to be a major change in the game plan?

I don't know.

How do you feel the team mentally bounced back from Pittsburgh?

I believe we had a great week of practice, but you have to come ready to play and we didn't and it showed. The great thing about it man, is you have another game next week and it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Regarding coming ready to play is that due to the younger guys on the team?

Uh, I don't like making excuses. I mean you guys know we have a young team here and if you do the math, you know, maybe that's the reason but once we put those helmets on and go out there, it's no excuses. You have to be ready to play.

You were a little slow to get up after tackling Chris Johnson and you stretched knee out after. Did you feel like you had done some damage?

No damage but I felt it. Just rolled up on it.

Everything was ok with it?

Yeah, I'm fine.

Is that a good thing that you can take a weird hit and pop up afterwards?

Yeah, it's a good thing. That's the trial that I’ve been telling you guys. You can't simulate football until you go out and play games. Expectations are high for me but I understand what's going on with my body and I am giving it 100% very single day. Those kind of tweaks and little aches are going to come and I know I gotta to get back up and keep going.

Are you all the way back?

No, I'm not.

The penalty that came in the pile, what happened?

They probably were tired of me honestly. I play with a lot of emotion and I felt like a bad call was made. When I have the ball in my hands, I want the ball, I'm fighting hard and then they tell me to get up off the ball. It was just emotions, nothing serious, hopefully the refs forgive me.

Did you say something or did you just not get up?

Yeah, I just didn't get up.

Was it emotion just the way the game was unfolding?

Yeah, that's all it was.

Ahmad Brooks

How do you recover from a loss like this?

I don't know man, it's just one of those games we got embarrassed. We really got embarrassed today. Um, that's everybody. So I mean the best thing that we can do is just try to fix our mistakes and have a good week of practice and get back on track by getting a win next week.

After so much success, this has been a rough two weeks where the point differential has been big. What are you feeling?

It's an embarrassing feeling. I don't think I've ever lost a game by 40 points. I'm smiling but deep down inside it hurts. I know what this team is capable of doing and we just have to believe in each other and we have to want to make plays and we have to want to win and believe in that. Believe that we can go out there and win. The sky is the limit from there. First it starts within the locker room, so we just have to take it one day at a time and continue to get better. We still have a group of young guys. They're making their way into the league and building that confidence within themselves. We just have to continue to grind.

After losing so many guys, are the answers on this team?

Yeah, we have to take it one step at a time. The losses that we had last year were big pieces. Guys like Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith, those are big shoes to fill. But at the end of the day, we're all professionals. We're all here for a reason. This is our team and we have to make the best out of who we have.

Did being down 14-0 so quickly have an impact?

That was a big momentum changer obviously. They got two interceptions for touchdowns within three minutes, so it was a big momentum swing, but as a defense we could've done a better job stopping them from getting a touchdown. Even though the offense gave up two touchdowns, we gave up two touchdowns so it was 28-0 in the second quarter. So we could've minimized the score if we played better defense.

Ian Williams

What is the process to move forward?

We just have to focus on back on ourselves. The only people we can fix is ourselves so we just gotta look in the mirror and get this team back rolling.

Did the Cardinals present challenges that caught you off guard?

I think we were prepared, coach did a great job of preparing everything and us as players we gotta go out there and execute and we didn't do it to the best of our ability so we just gotta get em all in this week, get back to our fundamentals, get back to what we do best, and go out there and put up a fight against the Packers.

How tough is it to go out there after being down early after two pick sixes?

We can only control what we can on defense, they went out there fighting too, the offense was fighting too. You know sometimes things just don't go your way, but as a defense we can only control what we can, and we didn't do that great today.

Did you feel backed up on our heels?

Like I said, we can only control what we can. They just happened to go out there and make some plays. we weren't able to make as many plays as they did so that's why the outcome of the game was the way it was.

How do you emotionally recover from these two losses?

Get back on this flight, take Monday to recoup and recover, and the good thing is, we have a game coming up this week to try to prepare for and get ready and get the wheels back on the track.

Were that last two teams just that much better or are you not playing to your level?

The last two teams were good. Pittsburgh is a team that goes deep in the AFC playoffs every year. AZ went to the playoffs last year, they have a lot of vets on the team, they got their quarterback back so, these are two great teams that we played. Not saying that they're a step above us or anything like that but we just have to get back to what we do best and get back to work on Tuesday.

This is not a defense that is used to poor performances and the week ahead will be a true test of their mental fortitude. The younger players on this team will need the support of the veterans to help them bounce back and get ready for a tough match up with Green Bay this week. How do you come back from embarrassment? How do you get the fire back into a team that seems mentally defeated after only week three? The coaching staff will have to figure it out or it could be a very long season.