From the locker room

What the 49ers and Rams were saying late Sunday afternoon after St. Louis' 20-17 comeback victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

49ERS COACH MIKE NOLAN

His opening statement: "We feel we're about winning, and obviously we didn't win the game, so we're disappointed. We felt that the three-game winning streak that we had going into the ball game had given us a lot of confidence; certainly raised our level of expectation for ourselves. Certainly, that's why it makes it all the more disappointing to lose the game. We're on the road at someone else's place, but nonetheless, we feel that we had every right to win that game. We had a great week at practice, should I say good week at practice, so there's no excuse there. As I always say, those are just excuses, and excuses make it okay to lose, and it's not okay to lose. Like I said, had a good week at practice. There were no distractions. Put that behind us early in the week. Just came out today and didn't play as well in the first half as we needed to. Second half we did some good things both offensively and defensively to get us back in the lead, but obviously we lost the game."

On why he called a timeout on the last play: "A couple things. I saw we had guys, as you saw, taking knees. It took Larry (Allen) a long time to get…we had guys that were gassed, and that was the biggest reason. There was a little bit of a substitution issue, but overall I said ‘Guys, don't even worry about getting on this, lets just let the clock go down. We'll just use a timeout.' Our guys were pretty winded after that drive."

On if RB Frank Gore was injured: "I don't remember if Frank was in it, but Mo (RB Maurice Hicks) went in and did a good job. I know he got dinged…I don't know what it was."

On San Francisco's injuries: "Manny Lawson had a rib contusion. Safety Mike Adams had a stinger. Frank Gore was an ankle bruise."

On why they didn't go for a touchdown on fourth down: "I thought about it at the time, run it hard, but we're on the road. Three points. Go up by four, make it a touchdown game. I wouldn't change anything. Like to see us get it on the third down to be honest with you. Third-and-one you've got to get it."

On why RB Michael Robinson was the one called for the third-and-1 play: "Because he's that personnel group that we use on short yardage. He's our back."

49ERS WIDE RECEIVER ARNAZ BATTLE

On whether the hand injury influenced the mishandled punt: "I actually caught the ball. I was kind of hard to put the ball away because not having the other hand. I guess you can say that it was a small factor. The guy made a good play and knocked it out."

On lack of practice time for the punt return: "It is different. You have to get used to getting back in there and taking those reps in game situation, but it was a catch on the punt and the guy who hit me, made a good play and knocked it out."

On the practice time on punt returns: "I would say Brandon (Williams) take the majority of them, but I do take reps. It is going to happen, we bounced back form it and took the lead. So, it is behind me. It is part of the game. Mistake are going to happen, but I am going to keep my head up and go back out there and make some key third down catches. We had opportunities and I am not going to dwell on it. I will keep my head up and get better."

49ERS DEFENSIVE END BRYANT YOUNG

General comments: "This is a game we felt that we should have won. But, when you allow teams to stick around, they're not going to lay down. The Rams are a team that will fight you till the end. And we just never seemed to take advantage of those opportunities that we had and we lost the game."

On not being able to continue the winning streak: "We felt like we were putting something together. We come here and just couldn't finish this one off. So, give credit to the Rams and they did a good job today."

On facing Steven Jackson: "We knew the Rams with Steven Jackson were a very capable running team and we knew what we were faced up against. I don't think we did a very good job in the first half of stopping the run and we allowed them to sustain some drives. Defensively, we could have done a much better job today."

On the Rams final drive and the play of Marc Bulger: "He was on the money. Even when we tried to get pressure in his face he was avoiding the pressure and making those completions. So, give credit to him for sticking it out."

49ERS QUARTERBACK ALEX SMITH

On the outcome of the game: "It was a tough loss. We started off slow, it took a while to get going. They were good though. They put together a good drive and won it."

On the choice of the field goal in the fourth quarter on short down and distance: "It is easy in hindsight to look back and think about what could have been done differently. At the time, it was to put points on the board and make it more than a field-goal game. They did a good job in marching it down. They executed well at the end."

On the running game of the 49ers: "I think we ran the ball effectively today. We are kind of disappointed that it took a while to get it going. It took until the second quarter to really get going. We should have got the rhythm going earlier."

On the interception on the final drive: "It was tough. Time was running out and trying to get into field goal range, I was just trying to make something happen. I lost vision while trying to make the play."

On his play-passing today: "We thought they were vulnerable to the run. We knew that they were not very stout against it. We thought we could run the ball against them. We showed that in the second quarter and second half, I do think I need to execute better in the red zone and get those touchdowns on the board."

On the last possession: "When you look back at it, I think there are a handful of plays in the game that impact it, like them scoring right before the half. Those plays make the difference in the game and could have made a difference in the outcome of the game. The red zone play is same thing. It is easy to say now, looking back, but the game comes down to the last play of the third and 1. If we get a first down there, it is probably over. It would have made them use their timeouts and run down the clock. Their chances of scoring a touchdown go down and we are up by eight. It would have been a lot different game."

49ERS LINEBACKER MANNY LAWSON

On his interception: "I was just in position to make a play and I made a play." On the frustrating loss: "We can only blame ourselves because we got a late start on a great team. We have to put this one behind us and move on."

On the Rams: "When a team starts losing or gets on a losing streak that means there's motivation there to get out by any means necessary. And so they're going to step their game and we got a late start on a very good team and really there was just no coming back from it."

On Frank Gore: "He did an excellent job running the ball. If we as a defensive would have stopped them earlier it could have been different. It's written in the books now and all we can do is put it behind us and move on."

49ERS GUARD JUSTIN SMILEY

On the 49ers letting the game slip away: "First of all, we tip our hat to St. Louis, a good ball team, that played good football. They've lost some close games, the two to Seattle, you can't say enough about them. We had some opportunities. We had some big plays negated by penalties and what have you and shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. So, obviously you'd like to place the blame on yourself. It's not what anybody else is doing it's what you do to yourself."

On what the 49ers must do to win close games: "I'm not sure what the turnover ratio was, but I think we were on the bad end of it and obviously that's never good when you're trying to win football game. There's ball security and it's always tough coming into another opponent's field. The NFL is tough, so we have to come up with more poise, more than we did and we have to start fast."

On the decision to kick the field goal late in the game: "It's a smart call. They're stacking the box on us. It's man-on-man and they're going to have eight or nine people in the box. It's gut check time. It's third and one and we didn't get it, so we kick the field goal and we knew they were going to have to score to have an opportunity to go down the field. The cards were in our favor, but we let it slip away."

RAMS COACH SCOTT LINEHAN

On the game: "Our team's effort was outstanding. By all means this was a gut-shot game and our guys passed the test in all phases: offensively, defensively and special teams. This was more of a team win than any we have had all year. We addressed some things we needed to address and came away with the plays we needed to come away with in the fourth quarter. To come back from the way we played last week and to play with this type of heart says a lot about them. I am very proud of our football team and our coaches. They worked really hard to get here and this gives a little boost that we really needed.

On QB Marc Bulger's injury: "He just got the wind knocked out of him, it was nothing serious besides he couldn't catch his breath. I went out there to see if he needed some help and it was apparent that he just needed to get up."

On the third-and-one stop: "It's big. We talked about it as a team. Defensively, things didn't look good on that last drive, but we got the stop when we needed to. Offensively, we had to go down and answer with the touchdown. Offensively we answered, and then special teams had to go out and cover big on the kickoff team. We played our best football from that third-down stop on. It was big and a huge boost for our defense knowing they were able to stop the run when they needed to."

On San Francisco kicking a field goal to go up by four: "I understand, we hadn't scored in the second half and that forces us to score a touchdown. I understand the thinking there."

On the play of running back Steven Jackson: "It was huge, he had 103 yards at halftime, he ran hard which was opposite of their game plan. We have to continue to ride that, it is going to give us the ability to stay on the field and put ourselves in better third-down situations."

RAMS RUNNING BACK STEVEN JACKSON

On why their runs on fourth down were successful: "Coming into the gameplan we felt that we were going to spread them out and allow for the running game to open up. We felt like they were going to match up with our receivers, which would allow natural holes for us to run through and they gave exactly what we wanted."

On him jokingly saying that he was a big Marshall Faulk: "I constantly try to work in the passing game and allow Marc (Bulger) to have an outlet to take some hits off of him. These last couple of weeks he's been taking some big shots and I just try to show up when I can. Jokingly I said I'm a big Marshall Faulk, but to be honest with you, I've been able to catch the ball. I just said that jokingly because for so long I've been having to live in that. Hopefully, with this year we can get away from that and allow me to be Steven Jackson and allow people in the general public to see what I'm able to bring to this game."

(On him being able to lower his body during runs this year: "For a long time, even going back to last year, I've had a tendency to run high. Naturally, because I'm a tall back, when they tell me to get low I feel that I am low. This coaching staff is allowing me to see more film on myself, and with Stephen Davis coming in, being a big back and being able to get his pads low, I was actually able to see what that meant, and now I'm able to grasp the concept of getting my shoulder pads down."

On what makes the running game so important to the Rams offense: "The intensity of running the ball. Whenever you're running the ball, you're going after the other team. We're just going to go out and try to pound away at you, try to move the ball, and keep our defense off of the field. We feel like for us to protect Marc (Bulger), allowing me to run helps keep him away from getting hit. The offensive line stepped up big time. We had the rookie (Mark Setterstrom) in there, and he did a great job. I don't know if you realize, but on fourth-and-one we ran right behind him and that shows that we have a lot of faith in him and what he's going to do."

On the defense being able to stop the 49ers from converting the third-and-one late in the fourth quarter: "It gave us a ton of energy. Basically, that was the game. The defense held up their end of the bargain by holding them to a field goal and as an explosive offense, we never felt like we were out of the game. With Torry (Holt) and those guys, and the way Marc (Bulger) has been throwing the ball all year, we felt like if they could hold them to three, we could go out there and score a touchdown."

On the Rams running the ball on fourth down during their final drive: "That's just the attitude. There's no need to play conservative at this point because we were on a five-game losing streak, so we just have to go out and do what needs to be done. That just shows that Coach Linehan has an amount of respect for the running game and offensive line. For those guys to rotating in and out and us to run the ball like we did, I think it's just kudos to those guys."

RAMS WIDE RECEIVER TORRY HOLT

On the Rams final drive giving them momentum for the rest of the season: "I think that drive will and I think the overall win we had as a team will give us some momentum as we head into next week. This was an absolutely fantastic win in all phases. The defense played well, special teams made a play; offensively we made plays on that drive to win the ballgame. Hopefully this will kick start us and give us some momentum as we go into next week against Arizona."

On how far this win can possibly take them: "It can go as far as we want it to go. I think we should definitely enjoy this today and feel good about it, come back next week, watch film, and see what we did to get this win, build on that, and just play confidently. I think that's the way we played today. We never felt that we were out of it, we played confidently, we made plays like a confident football team should, and here we are with a win. We just have to continue to build as much as we can off of this."

On passing Jerry Rice for most receiving yards in his first eight seasons in the NFL: "It's another tremendous accomplishment. Again, I guess it goes back to my hard work, focus, and dedication to the game of football. I want to thank my teammates for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to succeed on the football field as well as the coaches and management. It's a testament to everybody who believed in me when I came here. It feels good and along with the win, makes it that much sweeter. So, I'm excited about it and hopefully I can move on from this now and set some more goals and accomplish those."

RAMS WIDE RECEIVER KEVIN CURTIS

On his touchdown catch: "When they challenged it I got a little bit worried. I knew I had it and then I was getting ready to celebrate. I was going to spike it when it got knocked out of my hands. I hoped it didn't get overturned."

On the throw by Bulger: "It was an out on the sideline. I was just trying to get inside of the cornerback and Marc (Bulger) kept it low and away in a place where the corner(back) couldn't make a play. Marc put it in a place where I could get it."

On the catch he made to set up Jeff Wilkins' 51-yard field goal "The clock was winding down and thank goodness no one touched me when I was down on the ground. I tried to get up as fast as I could and get out of bounds so we could get a field goal off."

On the last drive: "We need to win in the worst way. To come out of there and score when we need to gives us a lot of hope for the rest of the season. The defense made a stop when they needed to and the offense went down and scored."

RAMS CORNERBACK TYE HILL

On stopping the losing streak: "To win this game was real big, it helps us get that monkey off our back and try to turn this ship around. So we can start up a winning streak because we are not out of it. We know we still in it and we have to keep pushing, and keep hope alive."

On how much talking was going on the field: "I thought it was going to be some talking when I first was on the field but it wasn't that much talking and that was a little surprising."

On what the 49ers offense wanted to do: "We knew what they was coming out to do. They wanted to come and establish the run that was number one and we had to come out and do a great job of stopping Gore. He is a powerful runner, I think I missed him three times that's something I have to work on. But we knew they was going to try to establish the run and set us up with the pass."

RAMS DEFENSIVE END LEONARD LITTLE

On the big third-and-one stop the Rams were able to get: "If they would've gotten a first down I think the game would've been over. We stepped up as a defense and got together before that last play and said that if we stop them and put our offense on the field, we'll have a chance to win the game. We were able to stop them on that third-and-one, and our offense ran the field and got a touchdown out of it."

On RB Steven Jackson's performance in today's game: "He came out with an attitude, but he comes out with an attitude every week. The offensive line did a great job blocking for him, he hit his holes, made the first guy miss, and was able to gain some yards. I think he's one of the best backs in the league. There are some great backs in the league, but I think he's up there with the best of them."

On the defensive line's performance after Victor Adeyanju's injury: "We just had to come together. Victor (Adeyanju) went out early and the defensive ends didn't have any backups so we had to sit out there basically the entire second half. We just had to suck it up and try to make a play when it was time to, but this defense made plays when we had to. They were going in to score, we stopped them on third-and-one, and they kicked a field goal."

On the Rams performance against the 49ers rushing attack: "We're pretty low on rush defense, but in everything else I think we're in the top 10 or top 15. That's one key thing we'll continue working on. In the second half they got some rushing yards against us, but I think we did a great job in the first half of not letting them run the ball on us consistently."

RAMS QUARTERBACK MARC BULGER

On his injury and its effects: "I've felt worse after games before. I came in with a little rib issue over the past few weeks. I'm not sure who it was, I think it was Bryant (Young), but they got me right in that spot and knocked the wind out of me. I just couldn't breathe. It wasn't even an issue with the pain, I just couldn't breathe. Once I got my breath back I could go right back in, but (Rams QB) Gus (Frerotte) was doing a good job so they let him stay in."

On the comeback: "We were very confident. We've done it many times, more here at home than on the road. These last couple of weeks these teams had success getting back at us. The NFL is a copycat league and that is what everyone is doing. I'm glad I am a little bit older so I realize it and can do some check downs and move the ball down the field at 8 or 9 yards a pop. I hit Steven a few times for 5 or 6 just moving it down the field."

On the go-ahead touchdown: "It was a quick out. Torry and Isaac had 7 routes to either side and the coverage there were giving us allowed for the quick out. It is a little tougher in the red zone, especially within 5 yards. My biggest concern was the nickel guy undercutting him, so I threw the ball low and he (Rams WR Kevin Curtis) made a nice catch."

On motivating the offense: "The line was doing their thing, so I was able to get with the receivers and running backs and say let's go. We knew it was our last opportunity so, like I said, we have been there before. We sometimes score too quick, but we knew we could go down and finish it off."

On the defensive stop: "If they get that it would have been eight points and not only would we have to score but with only 1:30 left needing a touchdown with a conversion to force overtime. There was not even a debate, since they took it out of our hands going up by 4 points. We knew we needed a touchdown. It was easy in our minds knowing what we needed to do."

On the offensive line: "They did a good job. I had time to peek down field, and they allowed me to have time to check it down, which was big. I think all game running the ball they did well. Steven got over 100 yards in the first half and he played great but it was nice to have some holes for him."

On finally getting a win: "It has been since before the bye week. A month and a half is forever in the NFL. It's nice to say we need to improve, and we practiced this week like we have been. We would say the same thing if we lost, but it gets old after a while. When you get a win and get some momentum going, attitudes will change."

RAMS GUARD ADAM TIMMERMAN

On Rams RB Steven Jackson: "He does a great job running, particularly today. I think this was the hardest I've seen him run. He was running up the gut and running right where he was supposed to be and really got off to a good start which really helps the play calling."

On the presence of Jackson: "You know where he is because there is some impact when he runs by. You start to get a feel for it and where he's going to run and where he's going to break it. We got in some situations as well, where they thought we were going to pass and we ran the ball. That worked out well."

On switches in the offensive line: "We had some new guys in there and we're rolling linemen a little bit. Everyone that played really did a great job. (Rams OT Todd) Steussie came out early. He messed up his nose, even though I didn't think you mess it up any worse. (Rams OL) Adam (Goldberg) came in and (Rams OL) Mark (Setterstrom) did a great job with his first start. I'm very proud of the guys."

On the victory: "All year, the ones that we have won have been close and hopefully this one will get us on a nice little streak and serve as a springboard into the next couple games. We are taking it one game at a time and hopefully we will get back on track because of it."


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