Kap: 'It's a little bit crazy, a bit surreal'

Coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick give their takes on the game after the 49ers' classic 41-34 victory over New England Patriots.

Jim Harbaugh


Q: What do you take from this for your team?
JH:
Great victory. I really liked how our team sucked it up so many times. We didn't make all of the plays, but we made a lot of plays. Didn't make most of the plays; they made plays too, but we made more. It will be a happy flight home.

Q: How challenging is it to face Tom Brady midway through the third quarter when he was leading the comeback he was?
JH:
It's a huge task. It's a huge challenge. This environment in December, not a lot of teams have been successful. Really, only in the last 11 or 12 years only one team has been successful. I'm mostly proud of our team for that.

Q: What did you tell the guys when they tied the game at 31, because the next thing you knew LaMichael James was scoring?
JH:
Great return by LaMichael and I think that was our second run play, touchdown drive of the game. LaMichael makes the big run after [the] catch, which he has done for us all year long. Just a tremendous effort by him, nice job by Colin [Kaepernick]… not where he was supposed to go with the ball – it wasn't the intent of the play – but he saw what he saw, kicked it out to LaMichael and then LaMichael made a huge play.

Q: Can you talk about the momentum swing with LaMichael's kickoff return?
JH:
He did a great job staying inbounds – it looked like, from my perspective. Tremendous run. Huge play in the game.

Q: Talk about Colin Kaepernick's game.
JH:
Another over 100 passer rating in a real tough environment. There was rain the entire game, but he did a nice job powering the ball through the elements and through the defense at times. Didn't make every play, but that's a good football team.

Q: Were you impressed with how he Kaepernick played during this game?
JH:
No question. You saw how hard it was for both teams; wasn't perfect for either team. There was a stretch there that looked pretty darn good for New England in the way they were operating. But, like I said, as far as Colin's play, the deep-ball throws early in the game, touchdown passes, those were really nice throws.

Q: What was going on with the center-quarterback exchanges?
JH:
We were having some difficulties there. Just kept working on it, talking about it. The ball was hitting and squirting off his hand…moved his guide hand, this left hand about a third to the right, and his top hand, a third to the right, and that helped.

Q: What impression did Tom Brady make in that second half?
JH:
It was really good. Tom Brady-like. Nobody else to compare it to.

Q: Was there a little passiveness with your defense when they were up 31-3?
JH:
I don't think so. They did a great job hitting the intermediate routes. Had they not hit those passes, and scored those points, we wouldn't have won the game. So, I feel good that we won the game.

Q: How important of a victory was this for you as a coach? Was this your biggest win in two years as a coach?
JH:
They all feel like…as a coach and a player you love all these wins. This is a great win. Our team now feels good that they did a lot of big-time pressure games. They've overcome adversities, shown they can do that. It's like, I like used to live next to a train station in Chicago. It's like the more you hear the train, the less you hear it. I feel that way with our team in terms of pressure in big games. The more you hear it, the less you hear. The more you feel it, the less you feel it. So, I feel good about that. I feel good about our team in those big game situations.

Q: What does it say for your team that you gave up a 28-point lead and then you rebounded?
JH:
They came back. There was some adversity [and] our guys dealt with it. They handled it. I feel great. It says a lot about your team.

Q: Did you address the fact that you clenched a playoff berth with this win?
JH:
We talked about it earlier today before the game.

Q: Is it a step for Kaepernick to get through this game with some stumbles and adversity?
JH:
It was a tough game to play quarterback. You saw both quarterbacks at times – you're not going to hit every pass. You're not going to make every throw. There're going to be fumbles. You saw turnovers on both sides. It was a heck of a football game. I think Kaepernick definitely [acclimating] himself well. He's got poise that's beyond his years.

Q: That touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree – how many quarterbacks in the NFL can make that throw?
JH:
I don't know exactly, but [I was] very impressed especially after you throw an interception. There's a lot of times…I just feel this in my bones, after you throw an interception, it's very hard to lead a touchdown drive the next possession. Basically step back in there, throw a ball right down the middle, which he had done in a previous possession, and had it intercepted. It takes some guts and talent, of course. I think it says a lot.


Colin Kaepernick


Q: On the winning touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree – Coach [Jim] Harbaugh said he wasn't the first option. What lead you to go to him?
CK:
That was just another option in the play. I saw him one-on-one with the matchup. I liked it, he's a great player and makes a lot of great plays and he did on that play.

Q: You guys came out really aggressive at the start of the game, it was similar to what you guys did against the Bears; were you guys looking to strike fast and early?
CK:
We knew we were going to have to put up points. Tom Brady and that offense are very potent; they can put up a lot of points, so we knew we were going to have to match that today.

Q: That is an all out blitz coming on that game winning touchdown pass. Can you go through what is going through your head as you are seeing what they are doing?
CK:
That was a quick answer. I like that matchup. [Crabtree] made a great play.

Q: Talk about the play of the offensive line tonight. Do you think they really stepped it up?
CK:
Our offensive line did an amazing job. They've been doing that for weeks now. They always come out ready to play.

Q: What was the deal with the fumbles?
CK:
[It] was just a wet ball mishandling it. [It was] 100 percent my fault.

Q: Did you put on a glove after the first few? Did it help?
CK:
Yes.

Q: Did it help? What was the reason for it?
CK:
I was just trying to make sure my hands didn't slip.

Q: Jim Harbaugh said that last touchdown wasn't designed to go to Michael [Crabtree]. Why did it go to Michael?
CK:
Once again, I liked the matchup.

Q: Did you communicate that with him before that this could be coming your way?
CK:
No. All of our receivers know that on every play they could get the ball.

Q: Was he reading an all-out blitz on that one or was he supposed to run something different?
CK:
That was the route he was supposed to run.

Q: Crabtree is consistently your most targeted receiver. Is there a reason for that?
CK:
He's open.

Q: How does it feel to lead your teammates to the playoffs on a stage like this against Tom Brady and in their stadium?
CK:
It feels great to get this win and help us move forward to us getting to where we want to be for the playoffs.

Q: Talk about tests, one test after the other. Monday Night Football, a game in a dome with a lot of noise and then this game. Do you see it that way that you are being tested every time or just another week, another game?
CK:
I mean, it is a big stage to come out here and play tonight, but at the same time, you have to approach it like another game. Try to get this win, so we can get where we want to be for the playoffs.

Q: When you are seeing that lead go from 28 points to a tie game, what kind of emotions are you experiencing on the sidelines?
CK:
We were just trying to stay calm about it. I kept talking to our offense, saying we have to keep putting up points, we're going to have to score at some point, especially the way they were putting up points.

Q: What did LaMichael James' return do for that?
CK:
That was a huge part of it; that set up Crabtree's touchdown.

Q: Do you ever just stop and pinch yourself like, ‘This is crazy?'
CK:
It is a little bit crazy, a little bit surreal, but I'm just trying to keep my head down and trying to keep it going as long as I can.

Q: I mean, it is 6:33 left in the game and they have scored 28 unanswered points. You have started five games in your career and Tom Brady is going into the Hall of Fame starting on the other side…that is sort of the ultimate in surreal and you throw that touchdown pass. It's that simple, that is the play you saw?
CK:
This is my 17th year of football. I've been playing since I was eight years old. So, to me, I am going to go out there and I'm going to throw to the guy who is open and you try to keep football simple so your mind can be clear when you are on the field.

Q: Did you say anything else in that huddle before that touchdown pass to Crabtree besides the play call?
CK:
Just that we needed to score this drive.


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