Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Can you talk about the interception that was called back. What was your thinking on the play call and what did QB Jimmy Garoppolo say when he came back to the sideline?
“Didn’t have time to talk to him about it because we stayed out there. It was a man-zone read. We got a man look. A receiver was supposed to do something to help out [RB Matt] Breida right there. He didn’t. trying to go inside, make them play over the top. We got the wrong route from a receiver. Obviously, we’ve got to see that and still try not to throw it though.”
How big of a sigh of relieve is it when there’s a penalty there and that gets called back?
“It’s huge. It’s real big. It’s better than the feeling I had the series before when I thought we didn’t get one. Nothing goes perfect. I was very upset the period before when I thought [WR] Pierre [Garçon] got it and they didn’t call it, but I would definitely take that one over that. So, I was happier.”
What did you see on all the sacks that Jimmy took today?
“I thought he took too many. We’ve got to get open. We’ve got to beat man coverage, that’s for sure. I thought we could have done a better job today beating man coverage, but on a number of those I thought we had to get rid of it. I’ll see when I see the tape on all of them, but those ones in the red zone especially, you’d like to give a guy an opportunity and if he doesn’t beat man, we’ve got to get rid of the ball.”
Did you have a sense that you let them off the hook a bit as a team, that you had a chance to put them away but didn’t--?
“Yes, definitely. A win is a win. I’m extremely excited about that and we’re all happy, but it was extremely frustrating there at the end. I thought we had a chance to completely finish them and put it away, especially when the defense got us that ball back. We got the first first-down on the, I believe, it was the drift to Pierre. But, that was disappointing. You want to finish it that way, so by no means was it perfect, but we found a fit way to win, which I’m very excited about. We’ll enjoy this the rest of the night, but when we come in tomorrow we still have work to do and we still have a lot of ways we can improve.”
Can you talk about what you saw from Matt Breida today, specifically that big run he had in the third quarter?
“I saw him running very hard. I saw our O-Line blocking very hard. When they gave him space, he hit it with no hesitation. He did a good job when he did get into the secondary not sitting and breaking down and thinking about making too many moves. He just hit it hard as can be and probably got about 60-yards and Pierre did an awesome job on the backside. I always tell him he turns into a fullback at the end of the play, because he ends up being the lead blocker to get us in, which was real nice.”
After that touchdown, I think Breida only got one more carry. I think it was RB Alfred Morris the rest of the way. What’s the thinking there?
“I think a lot had to do with, we ran most of it there at the end of the game. When you get into a four-minute drill and you’re trying to run the clock out, we needed about two first-downs to end it, I believe it was, you want to get a bigger guy in there just a little bit better with the arm tackles.”
Was CB Akhello Witherspoon healthy at the end of the game, you just wanted to give him a mental break?
“No, we took him out to get him out for a play. He was questionable all week with just how he was practicing, having some stuff bothering him going into the game. That’s no excuses or anything. If you’re out there you’ve got to play well and just saw him hobbling a little bit, so got someone else in there.”
You’re looking at a million things, could you help noticing that QB Matthew Stafford threw left like 20 out of 21 times there at the end. He wasn’t even looking at RB Richard Sherman’s side. Does that register or what does that mean to a defense when a quarterback isn’t even looking to his right?
“A lot of it has to do with whether we’re playing man or zone and usually you have your single receiver over there. A lot of it has to do with - the ball was on the left hash sometimes when you’re in a three-by-one. When the ball is on the left hash and it’s man, that guy’s going to be alone all day. I saw a number of times like that. You’re right I can’t look up all day, so I’m not sure how many times it happened. I think the way Richard has been playing in these two games, I think it’s pretty smart of them to not go at him that much.”
You mentioned your displeasure, obviously, seeing Jimmy get sacked four or five times. What do you want him to do there as far as, because obviously, it seems like he’s sticking around trying to extend the paly, do you want him to get that ball out sooner--?
“There’s a fine line with that and I’ll watch the tape tonight and tomorrow, but I’m not saying it’s just him. Guys can beat man coverage faster and make that a lot easier. I can call some better plays to help guys having an easier job getting open and when they aren’t we can make some tighter throws or we can block a little bit longer to give him a chance to look at it longer. I know we took too many sacks. By no means are all those on the quarterback, but when you do go against man, which they only play in the redzone and we’ve got some stuff going, we’ve got to do everything we can to avoid those sacks.”
Do you feel he overcorrected a little bit from last week and tried to not throw interceptions?
“I hope not. You guys can ask him that. It didn’t seem like that to me, but I hope not.”
You had some success in the redzone today. Do you feel like there can be some momentum to that, does it sort of get a weight off people’s shoulders?
“Not really. If I spend all week reading everything and then I’d worry about the weight on our shoulders, but I thought we did some good things in the redzone. I thought we were better in the redzone last week than we were this week. The results weren’t or the percentage, I don’t think. This week, I was more disappointed in it. I thought we could have done a better job, unfortunately. I thought we ran the ball very well down there. Better than last week, but we didn’t throw it very well.”
That’s your first win of the year and that’s when you haven’t won any, even though it’s the second game, must be something?
“It definitely feels good. I haven’t been a head coach for very long and it took me a while last year to get a win. I wish it was last week, but I’m very happy that it at least came this week. That was a tough wait last year. I do think that that’s something that gets the monkey off everyone’s back a little bit. Not me in particular, just the whole organization, the whole team. I was real happy for the guys there. I thought our defense played their butts off there. I thought our special team’s made some huge plays. [DB] D.J. Reed Jr., just the skill he had and the will, he was trying to do everything he could to get in the endzone there. It allowed us to score, I think, the next play or a play later. Then I thought we ran the heck out of the ball. We struggled a little bit in the pass game. That’s receivers, tight ends, backs, quarterbacks, myself, but I was really happy that we found a way to win. Especially when we didn’t play as good as we could have there at the end. Didn’t get discouraged and our defense got us off the field at the end.”
Why did you rotate Witherspoon and DB Jimmie Ward. Was that just a fatigue thing?
“I believe so. I know, like I said with Akhello, going into the game we knew we had to watch him with some stuff he was fighting through and I’m not in that all the time. So, I’m not exactly sure what had happened, but I’m not surprised that it did happen during the game. We thought there’d be a chance of that going in.”
Can you talk a little bit about what RB Raheem Mostert brings to special teams?
“Yeah, Raheem is playing at such a high level. He started with that last year. I think he was one of the better special teams players in the league last year and he has started off continuing that this year. The plays he made last week in Minnesota at gunner, even when he’s doubled, he still makes plays. Every time I looked up today he seemed to be making plays too. He does a hell of a job for us in special teams and there’s going to come a time this year, where we’re going to really need him on offense also.”
Are you interested in pursuing former Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon or are you good with what you’ve got at receiver?
“I’m content with our whole team. I love our whole team and the guys that we have. I always feel, since camp ended and we got our 53, we can win with the people we have. But, anytime a player is available, which I don’t know if he is or not. I don’t know what’s happened to do. If he isn’t, I’m not allowed to comment. But, my same answer for always, we will look into every situation to always try to upgrade our team no matter what the case is, but to answer your question, am I happy with what we have, of course I am”
Missed tackles. Can you talk about how you’ll address that this week?
“Yeah, we addressed a lot of it last week too. I thought we had some missed tackles versus Minnesota. I looked up a couple times today and saw a few of them also. You give credit to them because they’ve got some good runners when they get the ball in their hands, but that’s something we have to do a better job of. To me, you’re not going to do a bunch of tackling drills in practice. That’s not very smart. You’ve got to do it on gameday, but to me, when you’re struggling at tackling it means you need 11 guys swarming to the ball. So, you don’t put single guys in space by themself and the faster you can get more people there the less pressure you put on one guy.”
When you’re looking at Richard just from last game, are you thinking that’s the same guy you’ve gone against? Is he right there?
“Yeah, that’s what I see. We’ve seen it in practice too. I know it’s been a gradual deal for him getting back, but Richard is a smart player. Knows very well how to play in the scheme. Knows when to be smart and stay on top and let cover-three work for him and he knows when to be aggressive and use his length to jam at the line. Really happy to have him on our team. Not just because of how he’s been playing so far, but how he’s been as a person in our building.”
Did you get a good look at the holding call on TE George Kittle and if so, I assume you thought it was the appropriate call?
“Yeah, I did not get a good look at it. You’re talking about the one on the pick-six?”
“No, I wasn’t even sure which one they called it on. I was looking at the other side. But, of course it was a good call.”
Did you see one on the other side too?
“No, I was watching the other side where Breida was and watching out X and [WR Dante] Pettis.”
Was S Jaquiski Tartt the only injury that you guys had?
“I know we had some guys banged up who went in and out of the game. I know Pettis was battling through stuff throughout that whole game. I know Tartt there at the end, he didn’t return and I believe that was it.”
OL Mike Person didn’t look like he was 100 percent, I mean do you give him credit for--?
“I give him a ton of credit. He was kind of out of sight, out of mind all week because we didn’t think he would be able to. He came out on Friday and did enough that warranted us to work him out before the game and he worked out this morning on our practice field for our line coaches. He was adamant he was going to play all week. We kind of just smiled at him, but the way he looked today when we worked him out, he was and he battled his tail off. I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy.”
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
After WR Kendrick Bourne stepped up and took the blame last week, how nice was it for you guys to get together and have a touchdown this game?
“It was good. KB, he is a guy who comes to work every day. He’s a grinder, and I appreciate that. We had a good week of practice. We’ve been working on that play and he got a good result out of it.”
How are you feeling? You took kind of a bit of a beating in that pocket today.
“Yeah. I’m good. Normal bumps and bruises from the game and everything. Just got to work on getting the ball out a little quicker and help those guys out.”
Were most of those coverage sacks?
“There was a mix. I’ve got to get the ball out faster, though. Help those guys out, make it easy, get our offense in to more of a rhythm and just take what they’re giving me type of thing. I thought the offensive line played great today. [OL] Mike [Person] stepping up like he did. He didn’t practice all week and then he comes out and had a hell of a game for us. Those guys up front are battling and I’ve got to help them out.”
The interception that got called back, at what point did you realize there was a flag?
“After the tackle. I had no idea. Just some miscommunication and had to go down there and thankfully, there was a flag on it.”
CB Richard Sherman just said, ‘A win is a win,’ obviously, but he’s coming away from this one feeling like it was a loss just based on the way the team executed. How do you view today’s game? What do you take away from it?
“Sherm has a great mindset. It’s a good thing. I was just talking to some of the guys. It’s a different mindset than last year. Last year if we got a win, we were happy about it. Now, you kind of progress as a team. I think our guys are growing and learning like that. When you have a chance like we had to blow them out and take advantage of that stuff, we didn’t. It’s just little things like that we need to clean up.”
Having a lead like that, is there just a human element of maybe taking your foot off the gas? How do you overcome it?
“I think it just comes down to mental toughness, having all the guys thinking the same way. When you get to the opportunity, you’ve got to take advantage of it. It’s a lot of little things coming together. But yeah, you can’t let human nature take over at that point.”
What happened on the interception that got called back? Could you just take us through the play at the end?
“Like I said, miscommunication. Thankfully, I heard [TE] George [Kittle] got held pretty good on that, so good thing that that one got called back.”
You mentioned you needed to throw the ball quicker. Last week, you threw the ball a lot quicker but you also threw three interceptions. Was there some effort to not throw interceptions this week in your mind at all?
“No. It’s always in your mind you don’t want to throw interceptions. But, there’s a happy medium. It’s like everything with being a quarterback. It’s about decision making and putting your team in the right spot to be successful. It’s a bunch of little things coming together. I think overall, the skill positions stepped up today and the O-Line played great. So, I’m real happy about that.”
What were your emotions when you saw the flag?
“Very happy. I didn’t see what happened with the flag and everything, but, yeah, very happy.”
You were moving quickly to make the tackle there, too.
“Yeah. Going back to my linebacker days I guess.”
Can you talk about WR Dante Pettis and how he stepped up for WR Marquise Goodwin?
“Being a rookie, he doesn’t really act like one. He has a very calm demeanor on the sideline. He’s able to communicate what he saw and what you saw. You kind of move on to the next series when you have a guy like that. It makes my job a lot easier. Even on the first series, he ran a great route, kind of a double move and got wide open. It kind of sparked us. It’s nice to see him step up like that.”
You mentioned it being a different mindset this year. Being a first-time starter for a full season, are you noticing you are being approached differently by defenses? Does it get more challenging week to week now that you are knowing teams will approach you differently?
“No. Every defense kind of has their own wrinkles. [Detroit head coach Matt Patricia] Matty P I thought had a great plan today. It’s a tough scheme to go against. That’s the NFL. Every week’s a different challenge. Every defense is different in their own way. You just have to throughout the week break it down and learn it to the best of your abilities as quickly as you can.”
What does not having Marquise these last two weeks effectively do for the offense? How much does that take away your ability to maybe push the ball downfield like you would want to?
“Well, it puts guys in different positions. I’ll say that. Guys are learning different – X, Z, F, Y – whatever it is. We had a couple all-receiver personnel groupings, two running backs, two tight ends, all this different stuff. I think for a young group it’s difficult early in the week. But, I think we reacted well to it. Guys learned quickly and they’ve responded well to it.”
You mentioned that you need to get the ball out quicker sometimes. That internal clock that a quarterback has, how much of that is natural? How much of that do you develop on the job as you’re going through it?
“I think just over time you learn. That’s a hard thing to describe because it’s a subconscious thing that goes on. I think I’ve done pretty well with it. Just got to help the O-Line out. I thought those guys were battling today. Handled their games well up front and picked up the blitzes. It’s a mix and match thing. They helped me, so I have to help them.”
What were your impressions of WR Pierre Garçon’s 20-yard block?
“It was incredible. I was behind him the whole way just trying to catch up to him. They were running really fast, though. I went up to him before I went up to [RB] Matt [Breida] because those are the little things that go unnoticed. I don’t even know. He might have had one catch before that point and he’s blocking his ass off like that. It’s stuff like that. Mike Person coming out and gutting it out today. The guy is a warrior. It’s little things like that that you love to see and you love to have guys like that.”
Breida got a big explosive play. RB Alfred Morris kind of handled the end of the game there. Do you think those roles are starting to get defined a little bit?
“I think they both do similar things well. At the same time, they’re both slashers, they can get the edge, they can run downhill. Even for Matt being a smaller guy, he gets downhill and will deliver a blow. I thought they played tremendous today. I thought the O-Line gave them great lanes. Fullbacks and tight ends were blocking their ass off. It all plays together.”
What kind of energy can LB Reuben Foster give this team? I know he’s on the other side of the ball, but just on the sideline and being around every day?
“Lot of energy. He’s an exciting guy to be around. Always smiling, always having a good time. It’ll be good to have him back.”
49ers WR Kendrick Bourne
How did you feel about your first big game?
“I feel really good, especially after last week. To get my first NFL catch this year and touchdown is really big for me. I’m definitely happy.”
We’ve heard of the 40-yard dash at the combine, but San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garçon ran the 40-yard block today out there.
“We really emphasize blocking downfield as a wideout because we know what it can do. Working downfield, I caught a block early before my touchdown that sprung [San Francisco 49ers RB] Matt Breida to the left side. We just really emphasize that in practice. Even if you don’t get a catch, practice turning up field to find a block.”
Can you talk about the emotion of your first NFL touchdown and what was going through your mind?
“I was really happy. I got my son out here today, two-years-old. It’s his first game, so my first touchdown at his first game made me really happy. I’m just excited that my family was able to be out here to see it, and to make my family proud and help my team win.”
Did you look around after the catch and realize there was no one within 10 yards of you?
“I was really shocked. I turned and was ready to try to make a play and get some extra yardage, but once I realized I was open I was just excited to dance.”
What type of a lift does this game give this team?
“It really gives us a big boost. All the hype and all of the talk, we just try to prove it every day. We’re not trying to go out there and make anything up. We just want to do what we practice, and it’s starting to show. We’re just trying to start where we left off with the six games last year. [San Francisco 49ers QB] Jimmy Garoppolo is really poised back there. It was a tough game and things need to be cleaned up, but I think we’re on the right track. We have good people in here. Nobody is against anybody in here. We’re here for the guy next to us.”
49ers RB Matt Breida
Can you just take us through the touchdown?
“It was just a great job by the O-Line. They were blocking well all game. They just opened up a huge hole on that play, and I found [WR] Pierre [Garçon] to the end zone. He became my fullback down the field essentially. Like I said, those guys blocked their butts off all game.”
What did you think of the way Garçon blocked it all the way down the field?
“He’s a monster. He’s fearless to go to the middle to catch balls and he’s not afraid to block. I feel like that is what’s going to one day make him a Hall of Famer. He’s been in this league for a long time and that’s the reason why. He can do it all.”
Is it hard to have that patience where you kind of have to wait behind him?
“It is, because in college you can outrun a lot of those guys. Now, in the NFL, a lot of those DBs and safeties, they all run 4.3s. You just can’t outrun everybody, so you’ve got to set up your blocks. I saw Pierre out there and he was patient. He blocked his butt off and I was able to get in the end zone.”
49ers DL DeForest Buckner
Were you guys too comfortable with such a big lead?
“We had a lot of energy at the beginning of the game and throughout the game, especially when we got that lead. I feel like the energy kind of fell off a little bit and we needed to build it back up that last defensive stand that we had. I feel like guys kind of woke up during that last drive on defense. We’ve got to keep the pedal down all four quarters.”
I know you haven’t seen film, but how do you feel the pass rush did today, especially in the second half?
“I think we have some stuff we need to work on. I feel like some guys were winning their one-on-ones, [Detroit Lions QB Matthew] Stafford was just getting the ball out quick. Up front, we’ve got to do a little better job containing the quarterback and getting a hand in his face.”
You guys had to wait until Week 10 last year to get your first win. How’s it feel now?
“It feels great. Like I said, a win’s a win, no matter how you get it. 24 hour rule, have fun, enjoy it today and tomorrow when we come back, it’s back to work.”
49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk
San Francisco 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon would have given you that explosive element. I know you don’t have that and you are wondering where it comes from. Is that something San Francisco 49ers RB Matt Breida brings that you need?
“No doubt. I think him and [San Francisco 49ers RB] Alfred [Morris] have their strengths. Matt is very explosive, and Alfred does a great job of turning out those ugly yards, he is always falling forward. That is not a takeaway from either of them. They both do both well, and those are the strengths of those two guys.”
You still got the win.
“That is all that matters. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. It was fun, and we got the win.”
As an offense, how do you guys maybe take that next step and put a team away, when you get in that situation?
“There are a number of different things. I think we need to convert on third down more. That keeps us on the field longer and we can run more plays. When the game is in the offense’s hands there at the end of the game, we’ve got to finish them out. We get that one more first down, the game is over.”
49ers DL Cassius Marsh
Postgame Quotes – September 16, 2018
San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions
Were you confident in your mind that the San Francisco 49ers would close out this game?
“Of course. You can’t think that we’re going to lose a game. I hope nobody on this team is built that way. We all had confidence that we were going to come out with the ‘W’ and that’s what we did. It could have been cleaner. We’ll go back and we’ll fix the things that we messed up, and we’ll come back next week and be better. That’s all we can do.”
How has the defense collectively been able to get things done while plugging in for key players?
“[LB] Elijah Lee is a great player and [LB] Fred Warner is a great player. They’re both young guys, but they have all the potential in the world. We have confidence when those guys go out there. We have confidence in everybody on our team. We have a great roster here and there’s nobody on this defense who when they’re out there I’m not confident that they’ll win.”
Who recovered the strip sack and the fumble?
“I recovered it. It was a good play and a good turnover. It got the ball to our offense and got some points.”
How difficult is it to defend against a quarterback like Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford?
“He’s a veteran quarterback. He knows what he’s doing. He gets the ball out and doesn’t take sacks. It is what it is. We’re happy. We came out with the win, and that’s all that matters.”
49ers DB D.J. Reed Jr.
You came up with a big play in the game with the return. Can you tell me a little bit about that play and at the end?
“I just want to shout out all of my teammates that were blocking for me. Everyone held their blocks. For me it was easy and anybody could have done what I did. My whole special teams unit did a good job blocking. [San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator] coach [Richard] Hightower did a good job setting it up and calling the play up. I just want to send a shout out to everybody.”
It seemed like there were some missed opportunities last week. How do you think that this team has improved on executing and finishing?
“I think that we still have a long way to go. That was an ugly win, but I will take an ugly win over a pretty loss. We still have a long way to go as a team. We have so much potential. We just have to keep building. We are going to watch the film tomorrow and build off of that so we can be ready for next week.”
Like you said a W is a W; What kind of tone does that set for the season?
“Everybody in here loves winning, whether it is ugly or pretty. Whatever it is we won. We just want to obviously keep winning. That is one of our goals is to win. That is why we are here.”
49ers CB Richard Sherman
San Francisco 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon had a tough day today. Is there something that you can say to him as a veteran?
“Yes. You have 24 hours. Win, lose or draw. Regardless of the outcome or how you play. You have 24 hours, you look at the tape, you correct your mistakes and you move on. That is what you do regardless. If he played and had five picks, I would tell him the same. It doesn’t matter how good you played or how bad you played one week, this is the NFL. The next week is a whole new beast. You are facing a whole new team, whole new scheme. If you caught five picks, they are going to test you again. If you got five balls caught on you they are going to test you again regardless. That is this league and I think that he is going to bounce back.”
They stayed away from you most of the day. When did you realize that they are not coming this way?
“I didn’t realize it. I guess when the clock struck zero. I covered my man. I was there the majority of the time. [Detroit Lions QB Matthew] Stafford looked over there a few times and he pulled the ball back. I would have had two or three picks if he would have just let it go. (In the red zone play before the touchdown, I would have had a pick and the last play of the game, if he would have threw it, I read it, ran the route for him. I was waiting on him to throw it and he ran the other way.) You just work hard to study guys, you spend your time to recognize these routes and formations and you go out there and you play fast.”
I asked the Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia about them not throwing to your side and he said, ‘If you watched the film, you would have done the same thing.’ Do you feel that you are at that level?
“I am always at that level. At the end of the day, if people think that I am not at that level then they are just not watching the tape. It is more rumors, it is more he said, or people not watching tape and they say, ‘He had an Achilles’ or, ‘he has fallen off, he gave up 48 percent instead of 47, he has fallen off.’ If you look at my numbers, I have led the league in every category since I got in it.”
49ers LB Fred Warner
Finishing out the game today second on the team with 10 tackles, what can you say about this defense and your performance?
“We came out and we wanted to make sure we came out with a lot of energy from the get-go. I feel like we did that. Things got kind of sloppy in the second half giving up those points. A win’s a win, so happy to get that.”
What kind of tone does this set going forward now that you’ve gotten a win?
“That’s what we’re trying to do is win games. We’ll look at the tape tomorrow. We’ll celebrate this win. A lot to work on, but we want to be a dominate defense and we’re going to, we’ve just got to work hard.”
You told me a few days ago that you were looking forward to that first game at Levi’s Stadium. Where did you get that energy from the crowd hearing the Niner Nation?
“It was fun. On those third downs everyone was getting loud. I feel like that affected them a lot. It was great being out here with the Faithful.”