From the locker room

What the 49ers and Lions were saying late Sunday afternoon after San Francisco's 19-13 upset victory at Detroit's Ford Field.


Opening statement: "Certainly, it was an exciting win, a very important win for us. I talked about starting a streak last week after the victory that we had against Minnesota. The importance of going on the road and also gaining a victory was important for us. Last year, the last two games of the season we won those two - one of them on the road. We had a streak, but obviously the season ended. So this is important for us for a lot of reasons, those being a couple of them. It's never easy to win on the road. Detroit obviously won two of their last three games, and was feeling very confident coming into this game, and it's a noisy place to play in, but I felt that our focus was very good and our players did a good job. I thought we did a good job of taking that crowd out of the game early, and that helped us quite a bit. They were able to come back in later, but we did a good job. Our guys did a good job of working together throughout the ball game. Alex (Smith) was able to use a lot of players in the game. We were minus-1 on turnovers. Alex had the one, and then we were plus four on the other side, which was as we all know and I continue to talk about the turnovers throughout the season, but it seems to be in this year in particular for us, an important factor for us whether we win, lose or even play well. So that was good. Third down continues to get better, defensively. Overall, I gave the game balls to (kicker) Joe Nedney on special teams and on the offensive side of the ball we gave (running back) Frank Gore and the offensive line did an outstanding job. I don't know the exact statistics, but Frank had over 100 yards at the end of the first half and then got some more in the second half. Then he had his bell rung, so he came out and (Maurice) Hicks took over. But he did good there. Arnaz Battle played a very good game. Made some keys catches in the ball game, but also did some good blocking down the field - was very active in the overall game. Wasn't always noticeable because the blocking is not always sustained, but he did a great job there. So Arnaz got a game ball as well. Defensively, I gave the entire defense the game ball. Last week they held Minnesota to three points. Today, they did an outstanding job as well against a very potent, very explosive offense. One of the more explosive offenses in the league, as far as big plays go. And they did a great job with that. I think a few guys need mentioning - Brandon Moore, again had 2.0 sacks; Shawntae Spencer's hit on the quarterback fumble and sack was a big play in the ball game for us, first play of the second half. As well as Keith Lewis' interception on that fourth down down there obviously when they didn't get the ball back after that. So that was good. I thought the last play that Alex made was a big-time play."

On if scoring six points off of four turnovers is going to be how this team will win this year: "If that's what it takes, yes. If we win 3-0 with two turnovers and the plus margin, I'll take it."

On missing RB Frank Gore for most of the second half: "I don't know exactly how much we missed him - we won the ball game and that was the critical factor. But I can't give you percentages and say this and this much. I've always said I've got a lot of confidence in Maurice Hicks as well as Michael Robinson. Frank is the guy, but when Frank goes down we have confidence in the other two guys and I feel good about them."

On what happened to Gore: "He just got his bell rung. I just talked to him. As Frank always does, if something's wrong he wants to talk about it. So he wanted to talk about why he got his bell rung, but he said the guy really hit hard."

On what he's saying the injury was: "We're putting down as a concussion - mild concussion."

On if things are getting easier to win now that he has the right people: "No, it's not that easy. If it was, it wouldn't have been as evident. I'll say this, as I've said all along, the guys have continued to work through the difficult times. Many of you have seen it every day, day-in and day-out and you see the work ethic our guys have. Even in the worst of defeats, which a couple of those were pretty bad defeats, was a little bit on turnovers. But when the ball is turned over four or five times in scoring range and field goal range against Chicago, it doesn't help our defense actually show what they might be getting better at. But at the same time when we don't, we have the opportunity to show the improvement and build confidence, most importantly. That's the big key. When you're able to play well you build confidence. From a competitive standpoint, that's important. Outside of that they just continue to work and I think it's a credit to them that they don't hang their heads; they don't go in the tank; they come back each week; they play hard; they do the things necessary and that's in building whether all 11 starters will be here next year or not is irrelevant. You're still building something and the people that are here today are the guys that you build on. I'm proud of the guys and I'm happy for them because like I said, they've persevered. Again, we're in the midway of the season so it's real important, the things that we gain from this, because we've got to play with confidence."


On how good the win feels today: "It did. Since I've been here this was the first time we got two in a row. It was a good victory to get some momentum going and get some confidence going. It was big for where we're at right now - young and we're still learning a lot so I think it's big for our confidence."

On if this was a weird game of who wanted it: "It was. We were able to build off of that first drive. We got down to the red zone and got a lot of field goals the first time around and they came back and made it a game."

On the performance of Frank Gore: "It was big to get those kinds of yards. What did he play two and half quarters or something like that? He's a back that can do just about everything. He catches well, he runs well, he blocks, and he does a lot. He doesn't really have a weak part to his game. He's been big for us especially on first down."

On how big was the third down play to Arnaz Battle: "Big; it's nice to have that confidence for our coaches to call that play. With the game on the line to be able to call that and being able to execute it and get it done, it's a nice feeling."


On the success of today: "We struggled on the road in the past and to come into Detroit today and come away with a victory is huge for this team."

On how the 49ers moved the ball today: "He does a great job of moving the ball. Frank Gore had some good runs. The O-Line did a great job of blocking and the receivers moved down field to make some key blocks and we were able to put some points on the board. Overall I think we played a good game and wins are hard to come by in his league but we had a tight win and were able to get one on the road"

On the performance of the defense: "They held them late in the game - stepped up made some big plays. They gave some offense the opportunity to put some points on the board and we came out with a team victory."

On beating the Lions after they came off an emotional win and what it means: "Coming off a huge win, we were coming off a win - two teams that were kind off struggling. Our focus was to put consecutive wins together and come in here and get us a win on the road. We feel it can tip for us and hopefully we can do that and we're just going to take it one day at a time."


On things going well for him today: "I was just able to get out there and move around. I didn't know how much I would be able to do with the injury that I have, but we played fairly well, defensively."

On what the injury was: "I had a strained internal oblique muscle, that's on my side, so that kind of limited my mobility and my agility out there on the field. But overall, I felt pretty good as the second half went along."

On anything special they did with the Lions: "No, we just pretty much focused on doing what we do. We were just more aware of what they did, but it's all about us playing our game and once we do that and everyone's on the same page, things begin to be a lot easier for us."

On what the negatives of the game were: "We gave up a couple of plays here and there, but they were making some of their plays. I'm sure we can tackle a little better, but overall I think we played fairly solid."


On the final interception of the game: "We had our backs against the wall, and we were playing well all day, and we had the right amount of pass rush to make him, (Kitna) make a throw that he didn't want to make at the end of the game. So it all worked out."

On if he was surprised the Lions went for it on fourth down: "I wasn't surprised at all. That was one of those do-or-die situations. It was one of those things that they had to do. They felt that they had to go for it at that point in time, and that's what they did."/p> On if it was easier to get the win with an early lead: "We've been talking a lot about starting fast, and that's one of the things we've been lacking. So now we're starting fast and everybody's out there having a party out on the field."

On if they were worried at the end: "Not at all. For the most part, everybody was pretty calm and collective and we knew that it was up to the defense to make the big play and seal the victory. If they didn't score a touchdown, we won the game, and that's what we did."


Opening statement: "First, I believe we came out with no injuries - nothing major right now. The second thing is I want to make sure I congratulate San Francisco. They came all across the country and played a heck of a football game - very physical - they came out wired in (and) ran the ball very tough. I take my hat off to them and make sure I compliment them. In terms of us, I'm very disappointed in how we came out and that's my responsibility. We should have come out with more of an edge to us and we didn't do that. That reflects on myself and this coaching staff. We have to get that across to our team each and every week - the consistency it takes to win in this league. One thing that we did ok, is we competed the whole way through to the end. We weren't smart all the time - as coaches and players with the four-to-one turnovers and takeovers, it's hard to win that way. Tackling was an issue. Containing the quarterback was an issue and we've got to do a better job there - secure the ball. Pick-ups got to be better. Other than that the energy of the second half was good, but not good enough. It's not about energy. It's about winning the game."

On if he thinks the team will be able to get the last game out of their heads: "I don't know (and) I really don't care. What I'm trying to do is play one snap at a time, one game at a time. Obviously we didn't (with) the way we started. We just go back and get the basic things: talk about consistency again, the toughness it takes to win in this league each and every week and to come out and play exactly the same every week. We waited too long and got down 16-3. It's tough to make a catch-up game. This game was tough, we had our chance, but we've got to be able to do it. Nobody cares about how close we get. It's about producing and winning."

On if the mistakes are a sign of a lack of concentration: "To me it all fits together. It could be a turnover, angles on tackling, containment - all those areas are all the same. The turnovers are drastic, but I look at containing and controlling as the same thing. It's doing what you're supposed to do. Some of the run fits in the first half we got scored away in the second half, but we've got to be able to come out of the shoot and do those things right off the bat. I'm going to give them credit, but we've got the issues - it's still us - it's us and how we do things."

On the career-high rushing for RB Frank Gore: "The one run - the one draw - it was 60 some yards on that. We've got to make those plays. We had guys in position. One guy overshot, one undershot and we've got to be able to take the correct angle - we knew he was a good back - coming, in we were aware of that and now as coaches and players we've got to do a better job of teaching that and creating the angles again in practice. It's just about fundamentals and doing things right."

On when the lack of play becomes a talent issue as opposed to just the fundamentals: "I'm always going to look at the fundamental issue because guys in position. Sometimes we're in position, but we've just got to saw that guy down and make the play. I'm not going to let anyone off the hook - coaches or players. The men that we have on the field, I believe, are good enough to win that game (and) we've got to keep coaching them to make the plays they're supposed to make. They've got to do that."

On what QB Jon Kitna saw in the last interception: "Couldn't really tell you until I talk to him and see the film tomorrow. Then I can do a better job. Right now I'd be talking off the top of my head a little bit."

On if he ever considers going to another quarterback: "No, because I believe in him 100-percent. I think what he brings to the table - I've seen him play some games where he's started slow and he finishes really strong. He's got that great mental toughness to him and he's got the leadership that I'm looking for. That would be why."

On if there's ever a case where a guy isn't having a good day and he needs to do something: "But, see, I think you have to look at the film first. We have to make sure their routes were run correctly, the protection is right. A lot of things pop up on tape that sometimes you don't get an opportunity to see. So, for me to answer that, I'd prefer to wait until after we all see the tape and I can do a better job at correctly answering your question."

On if he thinks Kitna coming out slow affected the whole team: "No. Each man - nobody should allow somebody to set their own course. Each man is responsible for setting their course. Each man is responsible to set their course, how they play and they shouldn't rely on anybody else. Nobody else should need a spark from anybody. Each man is paid to do their job. Each coach is paid to do their job, do your job, come out and (be) ready to go."

On if on the last fourth down he considered kicking a field goal: "It was going through my mind and the one thing I thought: we were down there, we had a chance and we had two time outs and the two-minute. With that situation I thought we had them stopped, we contained at the end, we had them stopped and they had to punt. We would have had about 1:55 in the ball, just make another drive at it. So, I just thought we were down there, our quarterback has come through all year and I believed in him and I believe in him and that we were going to get that score. Now, we got to turn it around, stop it and get off the field and give him another chance. It all works together."

On who the blitzer was on the last play: "That was, I believe, Alex (Lewis)." On how disappointing it was thinking he had called the right defense: "Again, I'm always going to put it back on - how much did we create that angle, all of a sudden your free, he's a mobile guy, got to keep him on the inside hand - all those little things. The details, the details of the game and the teams that can win the game at the end of a game - the close games - will do things exactly right and we've got to learn to do those things right all the time."

On how deflating it was for CB Stanley Wilson to have missed the interception: "I won't use the word deflating, because it's not. I just move on. (We) had the chance to make a tremendous swing, it didn't happen. You just have to let it go. We've got to keep playing, just keep playing and that word shouldn't be part of us."

On if he thinks it was a lack of hunger coming into this game after the win last week: "Again, I wouldn't look at that, I wouldn't want to believe that. Again, I've just got to go back and look at myself and how we prepared this team and make sure that we learn (that) it's a game of consistency. To try to put three in a row at home, I was hoping we would have the opportunity to do it and we couldn't do it. We start next week and we've got to get started again, we've got to understand from this and it's not fun but we move on and I've got to get it corrected. I believe in this team - it's a good team when we do things right - it's a very good football team, but we've just go to learn that we're that right there, every week. Win or lose, it's that. We've just got to do a better job."

On if the team will continue to believe in themselves after loosing: "I believe 100 percent (and) I think you'll feel that. They know, part of my job is I show it to them. I don't hide anything, I don't sugar coat - I'm not a sugar coater - I'm going to take the film, put it right in their face and say this is where we broke down. Coaches and players, we're all in this together. There's no pointing the finger, I don't do that. We didn't teach it right, we didn't explain it right and they didn't gather it right and they didn't execute it right. So, it's a team and once you see that we'll improve and make progress."


On this game being a setback and the team coming out flat after a big win: "I don't know, it's hard to judge whether you're flat or not. I think what this team needs to realize is and mature to the point of understanding how important every possession is. When your fighting and scratching you give yourself no room for error in terms of record - every single possession is important. We can't take plays off and downs off. So we'll look at the tape and you have to give credit to San Francisco, they came in here and played as hard as I've seen a team play in a long time."

On taking a few hard shots and if that's a result of the offensive line: "Nope, it was not the lines issue on those hits. The offensive line has been doing a great job all year and they're doing a great job now."

On what was the issue on the hits: "We'll have to check it on tape but that wasn't the line's fault; it was only one hit I think."

On what happened on the sack during the final drive: "Last year they made a pretty good emphasis in terms of the NFL and they were going to call defensive pass interference and they were going to clean up the game in terms of guys getting tackled and physically bumped around after the 5 yards. We had a play on where we were going to have a big play to Mike Furrey coming across the field and they tackled him. They (officials) had already called pass interference and another illegal contact so maybe that factored into them not calling that but we had a big play there. For me I was trying to get out of the pocket so I could throw it away and didn't feel the guy coming from my back."

On what he was looking for on the final possession: "They were dropping eight or nine guys into coverage and we were just trying to get a seam in there and in the back coverage they had five guys standing back there covering the field. We were just trying to get Mike Furrey coming across the field there and on fourth down you have to let the ball go."

On being out of sync early in the game: "San Francisco came in here and played hard and early on we didn't match their intensity on the offensive side of the ball. They did a great job of changing up coverage and all of that stuff, but you have to give credit to them today."

On if the offense took a step back today: "We didn't play as good as we should have - as good as we need to. We're not getting a lot of possessions with the football so you can't turn it over four times. You can't come out in the first few possessions and go punt, turnover, punt. You're only getting four possessions a half so you have to take advantage of them."

On if he could have thrown the ball away before the last sack: "Well you can't throw it away in the pocket, that's the first thing - it has to be towards the receiver. The other thing in that play is they tackled our receiver. That's unfortunate because we were going to have a big play there. But when you're standing in the pocket you can't throw it away because that's a penalty and a loss of downs. So I was trying to get out of the pocket and didn't feel the guy coming from my back side."

On if San Francisco's main focus was on taking away WR Roy Williams: "They did a good job, they were playing the run pretty effectively with two safeties back there and they changed up coverage the whole game on Roy. It's not like we didn't try to get him the ball, I don't know how many catches he had today but we just didn't have many plays. We didn't have many opportunities and that's unfortunate."

On building excitement after last weeks game and looking to get on a roll: "Every loss is disappointing and we have to learn how to put tit together week in and week out. Right now we're struggling to do that. We're not mature enough as a football team as whole to come in and do the things that are necessary; down in and down out to give us an advantage in football games. We fell behind today and it made it tough." On what he means by mature enough: "Just understanding the importance of every single possession. Every play your out there is a battle and you need to do win and do what your coached to do and I don't know if we did that today."


On the performance of the offense: "We struggled the first half - we couldn't get anything going. We couldn't get the big play to spark this offense. It was tough and I give them credit. They flew across country and handed it to us. It's nothing they did defensively to screw us around on the offensive side of the ball, we just didn't make plays."

On the look on his face describes how everybody it the locker room feels: "Defense played well. We put them in a lot of trouble with turnovers. You can't win this game turning the ball over. There are two things in this game you can't do and one is to turn the ball over and that's what we did today."

On if he felt maybe they were finally getting that consistency together on offense: "Yeah, it's a good offense - a good offense to be in. The personnel is great and we get the ball moving. We fumbled the football - I had a crucial fumble. I' got us across the 50-yard line and fumbled the football and luckily our defense did a good job and got the ball right back. If you wan to score you can't turn the ball over. You can't complain about the refereeing; they did a good job. It's nothing that anybody else did; it's on us and we were terrible in the first half."

On the final drive it looked like the Lions were about to score: "Yeah it did. We had a couple of big plays. Kevin Jones had a big grab but we just couldn't put it in. We just couldn't put it in at all. I wish that ball would have come to me on the outside - give it to the big guy and see what happens. Maybe we get pass interference and maybe I come down with it."


On how his touchdown happened: "First of all, it's only positive if you win, which we didn't do and that's what's frustrating. It was a rollout, it was a sprint out. I was just protecting the backside and once I felt Jon (Kitna) roll back to my side, he didn't have to throw front side, so he was just rolling back trying to buy some time so I just released and he found me. It's just a heads up play by Kitna. I just went out there, he's the one who turned cross-body and made that throw and found me."

On how frustrating a loss this is: "It's frustrating because we made our share of mistakes today that ended up costing us. San Francisco played well. They came in here and they were ready to go and they played with everything they had, and we didn't. So give them credit, but it's just frustrating when you shoot yourself in the foot like we did."

On if it's even more frustrating based on how well the offense played last week against Atlanta: "It should have carried over (to this week). We're better than that. We know we're better than that. Everybody knows we're better than that, everybody on this team knows that. The way I see it is that we didn't' pull our weight today, offensively. As far as defense, that's not my concern. What I know is that they played their butt off and they put us in a position to win and we didn't get it done offensively and that's what's frustrating to me."


On how he's feeling after playing with an injured calf: "Right now we can't dwell on injuries or nothing like that. It's one of those things that you just try to put aside and keep the main focus at hand, and that's trying to win games. I can't make that as an excuse. I just went out there and played hard for the unit, not for myself, but for the unit. That's what you've got to do. We started off slow, couldn't get it going in the first half. In the second half we fought hard, but time ran out. I tip my hat off to them, they came cross country and played hard and that's what professionals are supposed to do."

On if he has an answer to why the team started so slow in this game: "We prepare hard, and it's not just us. They came ready to play. It took us awhile to get going, but once we did we were making plays. It just took a little longer."

On how frustrating containing 49ers QB Alex Smith was: "It's one of those deals - he's a good athlete; he can run with the ball. We knew what to expect with him running the ball outside of the pocket with boots and all. So we tried to contain him as much as we could, but credit to him, he was making good plays and getting the ball to his receivers when he needed to."

On how frustrating it is after the defense's strong performance against Atlanta: "You work hard every week to get wins, and when you come up short it does hurt. But we've got to get past this game tomorrow and regroup and fly out to Arizona in seek of a victory."

On if it's going to be tough to regroup: "No, you've just got to get your mind right. You have to have the right attitude, and once you have the right attitude you can get past anything."


On how frustrating and disappointing a loss this is: "It's frustrating. We thought this was one we could definitely get. We prepared well all week and just let it slip out of our hands. We started out slow, came back in the second half and we played better, but we got behind too fast."

On why the team started slow: "I have no idea. I think if we knew, we could have answered it. But for whatever reason, we did, and we just dug ourselves a hole and couldn't get out of it."

On how could they have stopped 49ers QB Alex Smith: "I don't know; I've got to go back and watch film. We did a good job with (Michael) Vick - he's a faster guy. But I don't know, we've just got to go back and watch it and see what happened on those plays."

On if still having a chance in the fourth quarter to win the game makes him feel better about what they're doing: "No, a loss is a loss. If you lose by 99 or if you lose by .9 - a loss is a loss. That's the way we look at it, especially when you have a chance but we let it get away."

On how this team bounces back from this loss: "We keep moving. Like coach says, it's a train and if you don't want to get onboard, you're going to get left behind. We're going to keep moving, keep moving on, and try to win the rest of our games."

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