From the locker room

What the 49ers and Minnesota Vikings were saying late Sunday afternoon after San Francisco's 9-3 upset victory at Monster Park. Also, head referee Ed Hoculi gives his explanation about what happened during during Joe Nedney's aborted 51-yard field-goal kick.


Opening remarks:
"We're certainly very excited about the victory. It means all that much more after the last couple of weeks, the way we played as a team, the way our football team responded this week in practice. You still don't know how the game is going to turn out, because you have an opponent you have to face. We're all very pleased with the way that they performed in the victory. That was outstanding. I do want to comment also that I thought the crowd was outstanding, especially at the end when we needed them the very most. They did an outstanding job there.

"I gave the game ball to Joe Nedney. He had three field goals along with the surprise on-side kick. Also, I thought the special teams overall did a nice job in the football game. They're a very well-coached team, Minnesota, in all phases. I thought our guys played well, but the kicking game was one of the areas that was good.

"Another area that I thought was good, it's just a single play in the game, but I think that Frank Gore's earning the first down at the end there and sliding out of bounds after he got the first just goes to show how good of a football player Frank is. He's a very unselfish player. He continues to pound the ball. He doesn't squawk, doesn't say a word. He just keeps fighting until the very end. I know he didn't have but 30 or 40 yards – they were playing outstanding defense – but he keeps coming back. When we needed it the very most that's when Frank showed up again. That was an outstanding play there.

"The defense certainly did a very good job today. I'm very pleased with their performance in all areas. I know that we got pressure up front, did a decent job in the game. I know Minnesota continued to try to run the ball. That was their game-plan. They stuck with it, but I thought our front did a good job. We created the third downs. We were better on the third downs. I don't know what our statistics were on it, but I know that we got off the field more frequently than we have in the past. I think a lot of that pressure up front was due to good coverage on the back end. I know that for sure."

On performance of the defense:
"It means a tremendous amount, because we stress all of the time that you have to believe in what you're doing and you've got to stay the course. That means to continue to work hard to get better and better. The only way that you're going to cure that is by having some success. Certainly that was a big shot in the arm for those guys. They have to believe because Minnesota is a good football team. We all know that. They've got explosive players on both sides of the ball and they're a good team. It means a lot to those guys. I think success breeds success and it does the same thing with confidence. That was big. We need to build on this."

On the standout play of linebacker Brandon Moore:
"He did play well. We were just saying that if there was someone I was going to mention defensively, it would be Brandon. I wasn't sure because there were a lot of guys who did some good things. Brandon did a nice job. He made some plays. He showed up a lot. Even when he didn't make the play, somebody else was there to make it. I know he missed one of the sacks, but somebody else came around and got it. He played well. How well, I'll have to see the tape. He showed up and did a nice job. I was really pleased with that."


On the 49ers' defense:
"The defense played great today. They gave us a lot of opportunities and great field position all day. They put us in a position to win and really took the game over when it mattered."

On the defense making his job easier:
"When the "D" plays like it did today, it makes any quarterback's job easier. When you get that many chances and possessions, it definitely makes my job easy."

On being happy for the defense:
"I'm happy for those guys. They really put in a lot of time and worked extremely hard. To see them come out and play like they did today with a lot of energy, emotion and to only give up three points, is outstanding."

On the frustration not scoring a touchdown:
"There's a little frustration not scoring a touchdown but right now we're going to take the win. We're going to enjoy this because we worked hard for it. But looking back at what happened on offense, there are things we can do better."

On this being a different type of game to manage:
"Having the lead, I had to be mindful of my decision making and be more careful with the ball. Especially in the end of the game when you don't have as many chances, each play becomes a little more important than the other."

On the opportunity to meet Joe Montana before the game:
"Quickly before the game, Joe wished me luck. It was the first time I ever got to meet him. Anyone who plays quarterback and gets the opportunity to meet Joe Montana, whether or not you play for the 49ers, is a big deal. I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that the day would come when I would meet Joe Montana, walk out on the same field as him, and wear the same uniform that he wore. It was a pretty special moment. It will be something I will remember for a long time."


On the strong showing by the defense:
"Our guys just had an attitude today. We started up front and it continued in the back end. The guys had an attitude. We played on their side of the line of scrimmage. We played downhill and we hit them in the mouth all day."

On the defense causing turnovers:
"That all started in the backfield. Our secondary played exceptionally today. They did a great job blocking their receivers down there. Whenever you secondary is shutting the receivers down like that, we can only do our job. We only have four or five seconds to throw the ball and we just try to get there."


On the overall effort by the defense:
"It was a game where we needed to step up. We've let some teams come in here and just put points up on us. It was finally time for us to step up and we did it today."

On creating turnovers:
"We have to credit to the whole defense. We play as a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We got off the field today on 3rd down as a team. We had pass rush up front. We had guys out there rushing and hitting. We just took it upon ourselves to bring a victory home."


On San Francisco's defensive game plan for Minnesota:
"We went out there and played the defense that was called, but a lot of the guys did a little extra. As far as the defensive line goes, we were playing our gaps, shedding tackles and going the extra mile. We were able to do that today and we executed well."

On the defense stepping up today:
"We always put the game on our backs because that's the way we want to play ball. It ended up happening that way and the defense had to pull it out for us to get the win."

On if this was a defensive player's "dream game":
"I guess the score indicated that, but I always like to put the game on the defensive side of the ball. It was a great game to be a part of. It was alumni day and we were playing for guys that wore our jerseys one day. You definitely felt the intensity from the crowd."

On the team's reaction to playing in front of 49ers alumni:
"Everybody was hyped for that. Even the most hardcore guys were screaming for Joe Montana."


On the importance of the victory:
"It was a big win especially because of what happened last week in Chicago. It was a good team win. I give a lot of respect to the defense and the defensive line played well. As long as we get the win, that's all I'm worried about."

On his key fourth-quarter run to seal the victory:
"We had to do it. The offensive line told me that we needed the win and they were going to block their behinds off. They got a good push and I slid like a quarterback to make sure the game was over."


On his interception:
"It was nothing I did. That was Sammy (Davis). Sammy has excellent coverage on his guy. The ball was tipped. I did the easy work, Sammy did the grunt work."

On how well the San Francisco defense played:
"We played together. We played a great team, but we played together. Everybody did their job. We played well. We played as one."


On his 51-yard field goal that didn't count:
"He (head referee Ed Hoculi) broke it down and explained it to us. It was very unique circumstances."

On his interpretation of the play:
"Well, we went out there, and the field goal got called. The offense was coming off, and the clock was running down. Andy Lee and I both looked at the ref, trying to motion to reset the clock. Everything was developing kind of late. Sometimes, the ref spots the ball down a little late and gives us a couple of extra seconds. Either way, Andy and I both looked at Hoculi, and said, ‘Reset the clock.' He said, ‘No, I'm not resetting the clock.' It was down to about seven. So I get in my stance and get back there, and as soon as I step over, I look up, and I see the clock. It says, '24,' so I was like, ‘Oh, they reset the clock. That's great.' So I take my time and hit the ball, and make the field goal, and he says it's a delay of game. That's when I looked at him and said, ‘Somebody reset the clock.' He said, ‘It wasn't me,' and I said, ‘Well, somebody reset the clock! It's not my problem!' I told him that one of his guys in the booth must have done it. I don't care. Somebody reset the clock. His best interpretation was that you can't charge us with a penalty on something that wasn't going correctly. So, he just made it a do-over."


On playing on the road:
"As I mentioned to you, good teams go on the road and win and I thought defensively they gave us a chance to win, but I didn't think we held up our end of the bargain."

On his team's three turnovers:
"Turnovers are always the story, doesn't make any difference if it's a 9-3 game or a 3-3 game…three turnovers lead to six points and that ends up being the difference."

On the clock situation on Nedney's first 51-yard field goal:
"There was eight seconds to go before the clock ran out. He told them to play on and at that point I looked at the clock and there was four seconds left as the kicker was measuring his steps and then it rebooted to 25…feels like home cookin' to me."

On dropped passes by the Vikings:
"Dropped balls end up killing you in this league. As a receiver, by definition you should receive. I was disturbed by the number of holds and those ten yard penalties after a ten yard gain are hard to take."


On the 49ers' 49ers' defensive strategy:
"They were in a bend-not-break mold. They were giving us a lot of soft coverages. They didn't want to get beat deep and they didn't. They backed it down from what they had been doing. They kept things plain vanilla. They put themselves in positions to make plays. They were very conscious of not giving up anything deep."

On the Vikings' offensive struggles:
"At times we passed the ball effectively and we ran the ball well. We played well between the 20 and the 30. They gave us a lot of underneath stuff and we took advantage, but we weren't able to punch it in. We were able to get the ball downfield but not make the big play when we had to. That hurt. Penalties, drops and other mistakes hurt us today. We had a lot of missed opportunities."

On the clock malfunctioning on Joe Nedney's field goal attempt:
"I've never seen anything like that before. I really don't understand what happened on that. All I know is that we ended up losing today. If we had made the plays when we had the opportunities then we wouldn't be here wondering what happened on that clock situation."

On Troy Williamson's dropped pass:
"He only had a couple of chances out there today. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make the play on that one. He's a good player. I'm sure there will be other opportunities."

On the penalty that nullified his long touchdown pass:
"That hurt. No question about it. We didn't get too many opportunities to make big plays. We made one on that situation but it ended up coming back. That could have made a huge difference."


On the frustration of losing:
"It was very disappointing. We played well enough at times but we need to play with more consistency. We had our chances out there but we didn't capitalize. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times with various types of mistakes. Inopportune penalties surely hurt. What's really frustrating for us is that defensively, they held up their end very well. But offensively, we didn't perform up to par. That's two weeks in a row that our offense didn't put points on the board when they had the opportunity. What we can take from this game is the realization that we must capitalize on our opportunities and we didn't do that today. We didn't come in overconfident, we knew the 49ers were capable of winning. They deserve credit for playing solid ball, especially defensively."


On the 49ers' defensive effort:
"They were getting after Brad (Johnson). They put a lot of pressure on him. We came out and tried to establish the run and they did a really good job of stopping that. Then the turnovers—that's what killed us. You can't win like that."

On if he was surprised by the 49ers defense:
"I was surprised by how strong their defense played. You look at all the scores they lost by. I thought our offense would give us something, but it didn't happen today."

On the crowd noise:
"They did a good job today. It was loud."


On his touchdown that was called back on a penalty:
"That hurt us. That's what hurt us today—turnovers."

On the 49ers' defense:
"They came out with a great game plan. We came out running the ball, but they made adjustments. We made plays, but the penalties and turnovers hurt us."

On if he was surprised by the 49ers defense:
"No. We stepped on our own feet today. We know better than that. We're an offensive group and we can't beat ourselves like that."

On 49ers' running back Frank Gore:
"He's a great back. He catches the ball out of the backfield and also runs hard. My hat goes off to him."


On what happened during the aborted field goal play:
"The play clock was running down and it was not a situation where we would reset the clock because the officials had not delayed the game, the team just took their time. The kicker (Joe Nedney) asked me to reset the clock, and I said ‘No we are not resetting the clock'. He (Nedney) then lined up to kick, the back judge who is responsible for the play clock watched it, it got to two seconds and then it went back up to 25 seconds. The back judge continued to count it the rest of the way down because he knew I had not reset the clock. When it hit zero he went ahead and threw the flag for delay of game and then came in and explained that to me."

"In my opinion, because there was time on the play clock, it had been inadvertently reset. I couldn't charge the delay of game on the offense because as far as they realized they thought there was still time on the clock because they saw it reset and they didn't know that I hadn't reset it. We didn't go with the delay of game because there had been time on the clock, so we simply replayed it over again."

On the back judge counting down the clock:
"Yes, and that's his responsibility. He is counting it down and it would have hit zero for the fact that for some reason it reset. None of the officials on the field reset it, but it did get reset and that's the reason I did not charge them with delay of game."

On if Joe Nedney asked for the clock to be reset:
"Yes, the kicker asked and I told him no. That's not unusual."

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