The San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars put together a barn-burner of a game, and it’s time for a rundown of what some notable players had to say. These transcripts do not include Kyle Shanahan (found here) and Jimmy Garoppolo (found here). Given how the game went down, I’ve included quotations from both the 49ers and Jaguars down below.
49ers LB Reuben Foster
Four straight wins, you were up against the best defense in the league but it looked like you were the ones that were controlling this game.
“All of us were controlling the game, up to [San Francisco 49ers QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] and the offense and the defense, I couldn’t do it without them of course. My D-linemen were getting pressure and making guys cut back. All of us played a big role in this game.”
What do you make of this four wins in a row for this team?
“It’s a new beginning, a new start. We will keep it going.”
What makes San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo so special?
“It is his drive man. It is contagious. With him talking you know that he is for real. He loves the game.”
49ers RB Carlos Hyde
You have been through the ups and downs with this team. What do you make of this four-game win streak that this team is on right now?
“It has been really good. [QB] Jimmy G. [Garoppolo] has definitely been a big difference for us. Just him coming in with that natural leadership he already has. It just has been really good for us. Putting these games back-to-back, even winning close games where at the beginning of the season we lost close games.”
How much of an emphasis was on the running game knowing that they have two pretty good shut down cornerbacks on the other side?
“Every week the running game is a big deal. If we can run the ball we control the clock then that opens up play-action pass, opens up plays for the receivers, now we are able to move the ball down the field even more. So the running game is a big deal every week. This week was definitely a big deal even more with them being a top defense in the league, so we had a big task to fill. I think we did a good job of it.”
49ers CB Dontae Johnson
How does it feel now from the beginning of the season?
“It feels great. You can feel the vibe in the locker room, in this building, during practice and on game day. It is very contagious. It is something that we have been missing and we are enjoying it. We are going to keep thriving off our current success.”
You had that pick-six today. Take us through that play.
“It was an under route. I just ran underneath and I was driving it anticipating a catch and tackle because he was running away from me. It was over thrown and I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Once it was in my hands, I knew that I was in the end zone.”
49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk
There was really good run/pass distribution today in terms of trying to take away their pass rush. How important was it to set up the run?
“It was definitely big. One of our big focuses this week was to get the run game going. We knew exactly what we were facing with the pass rush and the secondary is very talented. I am happy that we were able to get the pass rush going. [RB] Carlos [Hyde] said that me, him and [RB] Matt [Breida] that it was going to be on our backs today to make some plays.”
They are a physical team and they seemed to get pushed around today. Is that something that you sensed and that is what they were upset about?
“I don’t think that they were used to a team moving the ball up and down the field against them the way that we did. I think that we did a great job not retaliating and just letting them talk, and beat themselves up. We came out on top because of it.”
49ers TE George Kittle
Four in a row, my goodness. What do you make of this transition this team has made from the beginning of the season until now?
“A lot of it is new coaches, new players. We are just really learning to come together as a team. I think we are finding our rhythm now. I feel like we are just clicking on offense, which is one thing we struggled with early. Our defense has been playing well all year. We were just struggling from the beginning, now we are just rolling. We are on a heater. I think we are going to stay that way. Hopefully we can continue this next week against the Rams going into the offseason with another victory.”
People were saying before this game that this is a measuring stick game to see where you really stand against a playoff-bound team. How do you think this team measured today?
“I thought we did pretty well. Coming out there with a big ‘W,’ that is one thing we wanted this week. We upset Tennessee last week. We all believed in ourselves and did that, so this week was no different. We came to work, and had good week of practice. We really prepared well, had a great game plan. Like I said we are on a heater right now and we are just going to stay that way.”
49ers T Joe Staley
What is it with this team, the four games straight, what is it?
“[San Francisco 49ers QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] is playing great football for us at the quarterback position. It is probably the most important position in team sports. He is doing a terrific job out there. He raises all shifts up there and everybody is playing really good football right now. We have a close locker room. I am really proud to be a part of it. It is pretty special here.”
How much satisfaction do you get, knowing that this offense was able to roll and get as many points as they did on their great defense?
“We knew that it was going to be a really good challenge. They have been all season long kind of dictating to other teams, so I am proud of the way that we came out and was able to them. I think we had one sack and they had about 51 on the season. We were able to run the ball and score a lot of points. I don’t think that they are too happy with themselves.”
49ers WR Trent Taylor
It seemed they were not used to being pushed around like you were doing?
“I think they kind of went on a nice little run into the half, and then scored right after halftime. I guess they are used to teams letting down at that point. We have a bunch of guys in here that love to fight and are going to fight to the end of the game, and that is exactly what we did.”
Do you wish you can start the season over?
“That would be fun. I don’t like to look back and say, ‘What if?’ We are just moving forward. I like what we got going. I look forward to what we can do.”
49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon
It feels like it all feeds off each other doesn’t it?
“That is what the game is all about, it is momentum. When we get the touchdowns, that is what we are trying to do, by getting the crowd into the game and help our offense get a little bit of energy.”
Regardless of who the quarterback is, it feels like that all of you guys with the late season experience have dramatically improved. Do you feel that in your game as well?
“Definitely, just each week is a new experience. You get new routes for the linebackers. New run fits. It is just things we are working on and improving. The only way you can do it is through trial. We will come back into the film room and we’ll work and try to get better and fix our mistakes. I think that is what I love about this group. Everyone comes to work every day with the same approach, just to improve on one thing. When all that comes together, you have success overall as a team.”
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone
“We didn’t do enough. Like I told our players, it’s really all three phases. It starts with me, then the assistant coaches, then the players. We have to do a better job with our composure, obviously, with the penalties. We have to give credit to San Francisco. They made plays, there’s no doubt about that, and we didn’t make plays. In the end, we had three turnovers that resulted in 21 points, which is difficult.”
We have to get ready. We’re 2-1 in this fourth quarter of the season. We have to get ourselves back. One thing this team has done is they’ve always come back strong, so I expect the same thing. I told them there will be heightened awareness and we’ll look at this game, correct the mistakes, and go on to Nashville to play a good Tennessee team that beat us earlier in the year.”
Is it difficult to consider the division championship after a game like today?
“This is what I told the team. I said, ‘Listen, we’ve earned that. We’ve won 10 football games. We’ve earned it, but we really can’t celebrate it.’ We know that there’s something for us this postseason. We know there’s a sense of accomplishment, but that’s something we’ll look back on. Right now our focus is correcting that, doing a better job and getting ourselves ready to play the final game of the season.”
How much can the San Francisco 49ers improve upon the fact that they have QB Jimmy Garoppolo now and are 4-0 with him as the starter?
“I’ve just watched the games with Jimmy Garoppolo playing. I thought they did a great job, and I thought the defense was starting to gel. They’re doing a nice job communication-wise, and special teams is playing well. I saw a team that is really a strong football team. Obviously they got after us today. I have a lot of respect for them. They did a good job.”
There seemed to be something going on between teammates on the sideline. Were there discipline issues on either side of the team?
“I’ve always been OK with sideline stuff. It’s a very emotional game. The sideline situation, those things have happened throughout my career all the time. It stays right where it is. Where I do have an issue is our composure on the field or a coach on the sideline when the players are on the field, which didn’t happen. The sideline stuff, you’re not going to get penalized for. Emotions are going to go on and that’s part of the game. Controlling our emotions when we’re on the field, that affects the team. That’s what we have to do a better job of.”
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette had 48 yards on 18 carries. How concerning is it that the running game hasn’t fired in the last month, in terms of big runs?
“We just have to continue to keep working and doing a better job. Early on I have to do a better job communicating to the players and coaches and put our guys in a better situation. The game was away, but then when it was tied we had the ability to run it again, but it got away from us again. We really didn’t have time where I felt that we could have committed to it when we were falling behind.”
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
The San Francisco 49ers defense today, did they give you guys some stuff you weren’t expecting a lot of today?
“No. Not really. They brought a couple things that were a little different, but nothing that we haven’t seen before. It’s all stuff we had practiced throughout the week and prepared for.”
The interception with Jacksonville Jaguars WR Keelan Cole, was that a thing where he was supposed to keep going?
The first one, the one across the middle that got taken back. The dagger.
“The one that got picked? Yeah no, he ran it right. Zone coverage, he’s got to sit down. There’s an extra guy over there, so I either have to do a better job protecting him or giving him the ball right on him or get off of him and progress.”
Odd feeling, you win the division and yet you have a result like this. Strange day in that sense?
“Yeah. Very, very weird feeling. I think anytime you lose, especially playing the way we have been playing is tough, but it’s also kind of in the back of your head, that we won the division. First time in Jacksonville Jaguars franchise history, so that’s pretty cool, but you know I don’t think anyone is happy or pleased with what went on today. We wanted to win the division by winning today. We weren’t able to do that, so it’s tough. We have to get some things fixed, get some things right, and go up to Nashville next week.”
Traveling home tonight, you guys will think more about what happened on the field as apposed to being division champs?
“Yeah, I know personally I would have treated it the same way whether we won it or we lost. Sit next to [Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator] Nathaniel [Hackett] and watch the game, grade it, figure things out, how we can be better and talk about the game and move on. We still won the division despite what happened today. It wasn’t our best football game today. We are a better football team than that, we are a better offense than that. Can’t turn the ball over, put our defense in tough situations so we have to be better.”
Some of the mistakes today that you guys hadn’t happened in the past three or four weeks?
“Yeah it’s just a lack of execution. It starts with me and turning the ball over and then kind of everybody understanding their assignments and executing them. I thought we had a good plan going into the week. We just have to find ways to move the ball, score points and take care of it.”
Do you look at this as the anomaly, the one off?
“Yeah, I think so. I think we are definitely better than how we played today. I think that we’ll figure this out, we’ll get it corrected. We’ll be better next week.”
You guys have been pretty good at bouncing back. Does that give you confidence that you’ll get it figured out?
“I think anytime we’re kind of winding down the season, you lose a game like this and you got one more opportunity before going into the playoffs you what to make sure you’re kind of clicking on all cylinders going into the playoffs. I think it’s exciting. It’s an opportunity to kind of get back on track and get rolling going into January.”
Did you feel good today about the way you were playing going into it, obviously?
“Yeah, going into it I felt fine, felt good with it. Obviously, I had a couple throws I would love to have back that I turned the ball over on, but that’s going to happen sometimes in football. I thought after the first interception, to get a two-minute drive then have to go down and score a touchdown was big. I thought the guys handled the adversity extremely well. Obviously, [Jacksonville Jaguars SS] Barry [Church] making the pick in the end zone gave us that opportunity. Like I said, you just can’t turn it over three times in a game. It’s hard to expect to win when you do that.”
Talk about your resolve though, the games last year you didn’t show that resolve you showed today. Talk about just the way that second quarter drive before the halftime, seven-of-seven just talk about that real quick.
“Yeah, I mean Barry made a good play in the end zone that gave us that opportunity to kind of go get some points. We got the ball and then we had a chance and then some guys made some plays and we were able to get a touchdown, like you said, before half, which was big. I think it kind of speaks to the character of the offense, character of the team, to continue to fight and keep playing. And even there at the end of the game, guys played until the very end. They played as hard as they possible can. Despite everything that went wrong during the game, at the end, kind of gave ourselves a chance there. At least a long streak of a chance. I think the bottom line is we just have to be better.”
So much emotion out of control today. What do you think?
“I don’t know. It’s an emotion game. I think that’s part of what gives our team an edge, is that we play emotional, passionately. I think everybody kind of understands that we have to be able to keep that in check, be smart with it, kind of play with that rage and with that fire between whistles, make sure we’re not doing anything to hurt the team.”
The run game hasn’t really gotten going the last three, four weeks. What has to happen to kind of spark that?
“We just have to figure out how to create holes and how to give, you know we have a good group of backs. We have to find different ways to create some alleys and some holes for them to run through. It’s on everybody, we’ve got to be better. I think it’s definitely the turnovers and then finding ways to run the football, you know, definitely will be a big part of that.”
Jaguars DL Calais Campbell
Those penalties and the mistakes. That’s what beat you today?
“Too many mistakes and they had more points than we did. It happens. They [49ers] played great ball today and we didn’t.”
You guys have had your composure all season. Did you lose it in the third quarter because of all of those penalties?
“It is what it is. The guys know how to respond. We fought hard and had a chance at the end still, even with as bad as we played. That says a lot about our team. But at the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done. I’m proud of the guys. We’ll fight back. We always do.”
The San Francisco 49ers seemed like they had a good plan. Early on, they seemed like they were confusing your defense---?
“They did some things we hadn’t seen on tape. That’s good ball. We made our adjustments, but at the end of the day we made too many mistakes and that’ll beat you every time.”
It’s Christmas Eve. It didn’t feel like that in the locker room, I guess?
“It’s a 24-hour world. As bad as it is or as good as it is, you shake it off in 24 hours. We’re going to have a Merry Christmas, bounce back and go to work on Wednesday.”
Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis
This locker room seems really upset by the loss.
“Yes, we came here to take care of business like we wanted to. You’ve got to give them credit. They came out and played really well, and they made plays when we did.”
Turnovers were kind of the story of this game, and you guys haven’t been like that all year--?
“Penalties, turnovers. Penalties that are self-inflicted that we’ve got to refrain from and not have those types of things going forward. It will be great to learn from. It’s better to have it now than two weeks. Definitely a lot to learn from, but we’ll bounce back.”
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey
What did you think of San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo?
“He’s very good for their system. They found the right quarterback to go with their system. They played a good game, they had a good game plan and they executed. That’s what it boils down to. They executed their game plan better than we did.”
You had a little bit of action come your way a few times. Were you even surprised they tried to throw in your area?
“I had four targets and two catches on me. No, I’m not surprised. I had a super-fast receiver [49ers WR] Marquise Goodwin on me over there. And Jimmy Garoppolo trusts his arm. I’m never surprised when I get a little action. It wasn’t as much action as I wished for, but that’s the type of offense they run. It’s a lot of bootleg-leg type stuff.”
What do you think of the San Francisco 49ers? They’ve won four straight and look like a playoff team, even though they’re not going to the playoffs. It seems like they’re clicking on all cylinders--?
“I can’t really speak to what they’ve done to other teams, but they really executed well today. What they did today against us is what they did. They looked good.”
Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook
Does it mean anything even in a loss to clinch the division and win the AFC South?
“For me, I hate to lose of course. I’m a team player, but a win would’ve been much sweeter and to come into the locker room, and find out we clinched the division, but at the end of the day we’ve still got one to go. We’ve got a division opponent next week and we’ve got to prepare for them.”
How important even though things were kind of locked up where they need to be is it to get back on track now?
“We’ve got to come in with the same mindset we’ve had all year. We lost one today, so we’ve got to come back and prepare for next week and get better.”