From the locker room

What the 49ers and Seahawks were saying late Sunday afternoon after San Francisco's 20-14 upset victory at Monster Park.

49ERS HEAD COACH MIKE NOLAN

Opening remarks
"It was a huge win for us. I want to compliment our players, coaches, and fans. They did an outstanding job today. They created an awful lot of distraction for the opposing team. It's a very big win for a lot of reasons. Beating the defending NFC champions and also a division opponent is huge for us.

"Our goal starting out this season was not just to win five games. We've won five, but that's not our goal. We take them one at a time and we'll continue to do that. It will always be about winning, it continues to be about winning, and that's why it's all the better. We talk about streaks. We've got a three game streak and we need to build on that.

"The adversity that we faced late in the game, to be honest with you, I'm thankful for it. It builds character, it builds confidence and it builds mental toughness. It's not often that you see a team that's trying to turn the corner play a team that's as good as Seattle, have some of the things happen that happened at the end of the game, and still hang on to win the game outright and not give it to the opponent. I'm very pleased with that from our football team.

"Game balls went to Walt Harris on defense, who had two interceptions. I think Walt has a career high six interceptions. He continues to be an integral part of the defense. On offense, obviously, it went to Frank Gore, who had 212 yards, a franchise record. He gave that game ball to the offensive line. He continues to give it to all of the offensive players, and I told him he's going to have to start buying the balls. Andy Lee got the game ball in the kicking area."

On having Gore carry once more after the fumble before taking him out: "Frank's our guy. Everybody knows that Frank's a hell of a back. Get him back in. It shows the guy that you don't lose confidence in him, for one. You pull him out, yank him, and sit him down and now you have an issue. Frank knows we have confidence in him and I think it was the right thing to do."

On most of Gores' runs going to the left side:"I'll say this, (Offensive Coordinator) Norv Turner was in a zone today calling plays. When a guy gets in the zone, all I do is listen most of the time. I've been there before as a coordinator and you want to be left alone. He was doing an outstanding job, whether it was left, right or whatever."

On how impressed he was by Gore's performance: "I was impressed, but as I keep telling you guys, we knew last year that Frank was a good back. We just had to do some things to keep him healthy. Frank's a baller, as I've said all along. He's an unselfish guy from the standpoint of what he wants to do for the team. When he struggled in the Minnesota game when he wasn't getting many yards, he just kept pounding away and his attitude on the sideline was great. He saw that they had all those people up there and he kept pounding and pounding. As you recall, his last run of the game was the one that won the game for us. That's Frank's attitude. It's great to see a guy do what he did today – 212 and a big part of the win, just like the day he got 41 and was a huge part of the win. That's who Frank is and that's why we give him the ball again when he fumbles."

49ERS QUARTERBACK ALEX SMITH

On Frank Gore's long gains: "It was so nice, especially when they're so rare at this level to see him gain big chunks of yards at a time. It was such a big momentum builder for us to run the ball like that and keep moving the chains."

On his impressions of Frank Gore:"Obviously, I'm impressed with Frank. It is rare when the first guy brings him down. He continues to break tackles and make people miss in the secondary. He turns eight yard gains into forty yard gains."

On the 49ers' three-game winning streak: "We are a young team that is trying to find our identity. We have been building our identity the last three weeks. To come off that Chicago game and put together this little streak. To beat last year's NFC champs today was big for us."

On not putting this game away sooner: "At the end of the day, a win is a win. A win in the NFL is hard to come by, especially when you're playing the defending NFC champs. We knew they weren't going to go away. Obviously, we would have liked to put it away sooner but a win is a win."

On the 49ers' defense: "They did a great job all day. They came up clutch in key situations which I think builds a lot of confidence in each other."

49ERS WIDE RECEIVER ARNAZ BATTLE

On the big win: "It felt good, a team like Seattle, who went to the Super Bowl and is number one in our division, we manhandled them in the first half. We came out and we missed a few points here and there, but because the defense played great, special teams came through, and the offense moved the ball, we couldn't ask for a better first half. The second half, it was sloppy, but coming out with a victory in the NFL is tough, so we'll take it."

On why the 49ers' receives played so well: "We match up well against everybody. Antonio (Bryant), myself, Bryan Gilmore, we're a physical group on offense. We also have guys that have speed, so we can stretch out the field. I think we match up well against a lot of people. We just come out and play our game, we're going to try to spring Frank Gore in the secondary, and then we're going to try to make plays in the passing game.

On his touchdown catch: "Alex put the ball right on it. I ran a slant in the slot. They were in zone, and I had a linebacker on me. He read it perfectly. He threw a nice ball, and we had the score."

49ERS DEFENSIVE END RODERICK GREEN

On his big sack in the final minutes: "It was amazing. When the quarterback was in the shotgun, when I saw him lift his foot up, and that's what I would go out for. It was a great get-off. The tight end wasn't ready. I came around and (Shaun) Alexander didn't want to block me, so I came around him. Free opening, sack."

49ERS RIGHT GUARD JUSTIN SMILEY

On Frank Gore's career day: "It felt great. These are the games you dream about. It wasn't easy. Those guys were in the Super Bowl last year. They have good players up front. We knew that coming into the game. We had a good game plan. Frank Gore, man, he's a baller."

On the offense's performance: "Obviously, week in and week out, we work on our technique. We're very well coached, with Norv Turner and George Warhop. If you play with your technique, good stuff will happen."

49ERS LINEBACKER BRANDON MOORE

On the 49ers' defensive play: "We played tremendous up front. Those guys were all over the field, especially stopping the run. Getting pressure on QB Seneca Wallace, keeping him in the pocket. He didn't have very many yards rushing. We kept the cup on him."

On the defense's recent improvement: "I think we're communicating better. We're playing with a lot more chemistry. We're playing together a lot better, which I think is a direct reason that we're playing so much better. I wouldn't say we have an identity, but we've established some chemistry together which is helping us."

49ERS CORNERBACK WALT HARRIS

On the 49ers' overall defensive play: "Bottom line with the defense, when you get turnovers you do fairly well. The momentum was definitely with us and guys stepped up and it was good to have that on defense."

On the defense creating turnovers: "We emphasized that. On top of that, guys are just playing the defense. Guys are pretty much getting familiar with each other on the field and we're playing the defense."

On what this win means to the 49ers: "That's three games in a row. We're back in the hunt and we want to stay on top of that."

SEAHAWKS COACH MIKE HOLMGREN

On the first half: "I thought we played a very poor first half of the football game. The second half we played better but we couldn't make up enough ground. I'm disappointed in our energy, our tempo…everything in the first half. The real obvious thing is the turnovers. Frank Gore had over 200 yards rushing…so we've got to give him credit. I was not pleased with how we played today."

On Seneca Wallace's three interceptions: "Anytime any quarterback has a game like that, usually you lose. If Matt Hasselback threw that many interceptions…you'd lose. Today, we were a little careless. There's a pretty good feeling on the team and we will bounce back from this, but today we didn't play well. And, I think San Francisco played well…with that combination, you're not going to come out with a win."

On the team's overall play: "I was not particularly happy with our pass protection down the stretch. We didn't get that 4th and 2 when we needed it and I don't know what happened, I thought we had a pretty good play. We couldn't get over the hump…we just dug a hole too deep. Seneca Wallace threw some nice passes in the second half and we got back in it, but I didn't like how we played the last seven minutes"

On the next step for the Seahawks: "We have a lot of games left to play. Offensively, you go through a stretch where you have a lot of different guys in there and it's tough to get continuity for one and you just can't make the big mistakes…those things can get you. I think we'll get most of the guys back next week."

SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACK SENECA WALLACE

On his three interceptions: "Basically, they were bad reads on my part. It was nobody's fault but my own. The receivers did their job. Next time, we'll have to do a little better job of taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us."

On his two second-half touchdown passes: "We just did a better job executing in the second half, especially on those touchdown plays. But we came up a little short. They (49ers' defense) weren't doing anything we hadn't seen before. Maybe I held the ball too long a few times and I tried to force it in there a couple of times. Give them credit too. Their defense made some big plays. This is very disappointing, but we'll bounce back."

SEAHAWKS LINEBACKER JULIAN PETERSON

On his emotions with his first game back against San Francisco: "You know I really wanted us to win this one. It was good seeing some of the guys again, but this was all business to me. I'm very disappointed that we didn't come away with a win."

On the keys in the game: "They got three turnovers and that changed the game. You win the turnover battle, you got a good chance of winning. And they did today."

On Frank Gore's performance: "You saw what he did. He works very hard, both in practice and in games. I know that from experience. I believe he's going to be one of the best backs in the league in the next couple of years. Gore finds little holes and explodes through them. He takes advantage of what the defense gives him. He makes a lot of big plays and you saw that today."

SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE TACKLE RUSSELL DAVIS

On his impressions of Gore's performance: "You saw today that he's an excellent back. He takes advantage of the littlest opportunities and the next thing you know, he's breaking one for forty or fifty yards. Nothing he does surprises me, he's a physical runner. If you don't wrap him up, he'll get away from you. He just keeps going and he's very difficult to stop in the open field."

On the Seahawks' defensive adjustments at halftime: "We didn't really change much in terms of schemes or strategies. We just made up our minds to play better in the second half. We made fewer mistakes in the second half but as it turned out, what we did in the second half wasn't enough."

SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE END BRYCE FISHER

On the 49ers' offensive strategy: "They came in with the same basic plan as Chicago did. They ran a lot to our weak side and made some good cutbacks. We made mistakes waiting for Gore to come to us rather than going after him. You've got to be aggressive against a very good runner like Gore."

On Seattle's failure to capitalize on opportunities: "They gave us plenty of chances, but we didn't always take advantage of them. Turnovers hurt, there's no question about it. But that's something we can correct."

SEAHAWKS RUNNING BACK SHAUN ALEXANDER

On returning after his long layoff: "I feel it's very positive. It took me about the first half to make runs and cuts but in the third quarter I felt very good, too bad we were down 20 points. I think for me personally it was positive."

On his difficulties getting into rhythm: "My foot did great. I think it was the speed of the game. That's kind of why I even wanted to play in this game and get back as soon as possible because the pressure I put on myself is so high that I expect myself to go out there and get 300 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns every week. The sooner I get back in there and catch up with the speed of the game, I would finally be realistic with what I can do."

SEAHAWKS WIDE RECEIVER DEION BRANCH

On his thoughts of the game: "The bad thing is we started off so badly. We did the total opposite of what we were planning on doing and it showed. This is the NFL, if you start off badly - you're probably going to wind up bad."

On the Seahawks' lack of execution: "That was the main thing—just executing our plays. There wasn't anything that they did that affected us. We just didn't do what we had to do."

On if the NFC West is up for grabs: "That's for you guys to judge. What we have to do is continue to play football. If we continue to play our football, we'll win. If we go out and display what we did today- who knows what will happen."

SEAHAWKS WIDE RECEIVER DARRELL JACKSON

On his thoughts of the game: "It's a rough place to play a division game. We came out and had a rocky first half and committed a lot of turnovers. Anytime you're on the road and commit a lot of turnovers it's going to be tough to win."

On if the Seahawks are secure in staying at first place in the NFC West: "We feel very secure. We know we should've won this game. This is a team we know we should beat. We still lead the division. The 49ers still have to come play us at home. We're just going to go back to the drawing board and get back on track."

On the 49ers' defense: "The 49ers played good. They showed a lot of looks on defense. They were flying. They were moving. They just played good. You have to take your hat off to them. That's how it goes sometimes."


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