From the locker room

What the 49ers and Packers were saying late Sunday afternooon after Green Bay's 30-19 upset victory at Monster Park in San Francisco:


Opening remarks: "I'm very disappointed in the loss. For three weeks now, we have been, at many times, our own worst enemy, whether it's been giving up the ball on third down, not getting turnovers on defense, responding at critical times – they had two explosives today for touchdown passes on busts – or penalties. We called back a big play tonight. Those are the things that continue to hurt us right now. We do not maximize the opportunities that we get. Taking advantage of the opportunities after a turnover didn't happen today, but in the past few weeks, that has been some of it. The other has been, that when we do get a turnover, we haven't gone in and responded in a positive way every time. I don't want to take away from the few times that it was down inside the five and we stopped them and made them kick a field goal, that was pretty good for us. As a whole, when there are third down turnovers, explosives and penalties, it's difficult to win when you do those."

On whether there has been a pattern to the defense in the past few weeks: "It's evident to me that we play really well in spurts defensively, then we give up an explosive. That's exactly how today's defensive game was. I thought we played really well in spurts, whether it was going down to the six or seven yard line and stopping somebody. Then coming back after a turnover two plays later, they throw 70, 80 yards on a busted coverage and score a touchdown. It's feast or famine, that's how I see it. That's exactly what we've done. In the New Orleans game, it was exactly like that. We had four out of five three-and-outs early in the game. Four out of five is pretty damn good. Then we came out after half-time and gave up a 70-something yarder. We just missed guys. One of the things that bothers me is that I have typically prided myself on not letting the best guys on the other team beat you. By game plan, we take them away. Last week, it was Bush that made great plays because we didn't take him out, although the plan was designed to. He just made some people flat out miss. Today, Donald Driver made a big play on the one. The other was a flat bust. The first touchdown of the game, that was just a bad mistake and a bust."

On whether QB Alex Smith regressed in the last few weeks: "As a football team, we haven't played like we did prior to that. I think it's more fair to say, that as a team, we aren't playing like we did in the other three wins we had back-to-back-to-back. As far as Alex, obviously he plays the most critical position on the team. He has spurts also. I thought he made some good plays today, but he also made some not-so-good plays."

On the current mindset of his team: "That's a good question, because it's hard for me to answer. When you're winning, you do build confidence as was the case. We did go to St. Louis and play flat in a game that I think we all felt, we should have won. Right now, as I see it, our young guys are not at the point where they are mature for 60 minutes as football players. Not as people, as football players. We don't play in a mature fashion. What I mean by that is that when there is a turnover, you respond. When there is a big play, there's not a foolish penalty. Things like that. That shows maturity as a football player. Our inconsistencies in playing shows a lack of maturity from my standpoint. That's to be expected of some. When you win back-to-back games like that, you think maybe we're making some progress."


On the game: "I still have a lot of optimism, just because there are games left and there is an opportunity for us to be 8-8. But you definitely take a step back whenever you loose, that's why it's called a loss. We lost something."

On Green Bay's defense: "It's not the top ranked defense in the league, but give the guys credit. They have a veteran secondary and they have guys who know how to play football. They came and they out-played us, and that's the bottom line. That is what it is. They made ways to get their guys who can make the plays the ball and they made ways to keep guys like myself who make plays for us not get the ball, and that's just what happened."

On being on the sideline for certain plays on offense: "That was coach's decision."

On what the coach told him about that: "Personally, I just feel like we lost the game, so it really doesn't make a difference. I had opportunities to make plays in the game so it really doesn't make a difference. I'm upset we lost the game. It doesn't matter where you start or where you finish."

On if he's frustrated: "For any guy who wants to be involved and help this team make plays, of course. I've been like that all season. Sometimes you have the opportunity, sometimes you don't. Of course, I'm frustrated. We lost three games in a row."


On losing despite personally having another stellar game: "It's tough. I feel like we ran the ball pretty. We made plays."

On what the offense can do better: "Turnovers hurt us. If we don't make those errors and play the way we can play, then it's our game all the way. It's tough. We play the best against the best. You cannot make turnovers in this league."

On if the team was flat: "We started off slow. That wasn't the only thing that got us."


On the game: "We had some missed opportunities on offense, definitely on third downs. We definitely didn't play well enough to win, that's for sure. But we have to come out this week against the Seattle and play tough and physical and get a win."

On what the 49ers can take away from a loss like this: "During critical moments in the game, especially on third down, we have to convert and make plays when they're there and not shoot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and stupid penalties."

On the NFC playoff race: "We still feel like we're in this and we're fully capable of performing at a level where we can win these next games. We have three games coming up and we're going to take them one game at a time. We have Seattle coming up on Thursday. We have to get back on a streak and we know we're physically capable of winning these games. We've got to play to our capabilities and not shoot ourselves in the foot."


On the overall play of the San Francisco defense: "The biggest deal we face is stopping big plays and being successful in key situations. We had an opportunity to change momentum and change the flow of the game and we didn't get it done. In order to be one of the top defenses and in order to be successful, especially in this league, we're going to have to be better in those key situations."


On his rollout-pass interception intended for Vernon Davis: "It was third-and-one, we were a couple of scores down with good field position. We ran the boot and Vernon was my only option. I was just trying to make something happen. I thought I was on the same page as Vernon as far as him coming back towards the side-line. I should have just thrown the ball away and play another down."

On if he thought he was on the same page with Davis: "Either that play will be available or I'll learn to throw it away. One of the other needs to happen."

On his performance regressing: "If you look at the stats, one would think so, statistically speaking. As far as seeing things, playing faster, making things happen, and making better decisions, I feel that I'm so far ahead than where I have been looking back at the start of the season and where I am now."

On playing with Vernon Davis: "I can kind of feel his pain a little bit as far as this being his rookie year and having an injury. I see him getting into the flow of the game now, getting into the mix a lot and getting some balls thrown his way. Just seeing what he can do is exciting. He is a tough match-up for anybody. The more he plays and understands, the harder match-up he'll be for defenders."

On today's overall performance: "I felt like I did a good job. I threw a lot of balls away today. I felt like I had been playing smart. All of a sudden, you get down three scores with six minutes left and you have to force some throws to get your team back in there. Although it might hurt my stats and QB rating, I'm trying to help this team win."


On how it felt to make his first NFL reception: "To get my first catch felt really good and there's more to come. I'm going to make a lot more catches. But, the loss still hurt us. I would want to be happy about my catches, but nobody is happy about the loss. Next week, I'll come out and try to make plays and hopefully, we can get a win."

On what he contributes to the 49ers: "Make plays. I can catch the ball and get up the field, to get first downs. I can make the right blocking assignments. I want to do whatever I can on special teams too."


On the game: "Once again, I think it's been a long month for us, the way Sundays have gone, but they prepared, they work and they stuck together and it speaks to the type of character we have on this football team and I'm proud of the way they stayed the course. This is a great victory for us to come out here on the road."

On how gratifying was it to win on the same field he coached last season: "Well, it's very gratifying. I have a lot of respect for a lot of guys in that locker room, both players and coaches."

On if Brett Favre continues to amaze him: "Yeah, he's special."

On if he things Favre will play next season: "I'd love to get through one of these press conferences without someone asking that question. That's a question I will answer after this season."

On if there was any benefit today to having coached in San Francisco previously: "I think it's overplayed. It's our job to come up with a game plan to put our players in a position to win."

On how big was that sequence where Alex Smith's pass was intercepted followed by Favre's touchdown: "It was huge. You could make the argument that they had the momentum at that point in the game and that kind of changed the momentum of the game."


On his touchdown pass to Ruvell Martin: "The best thing is Martin got so wide open. But the thing was, there was Greg Jennings pointing to him (Martin) being so wide open. Greg was pointing to Ruvell. I've never had a guy running down the field pointing to a teammate who happened to be wide open. Believe it or not, that was my hardest throw."

On his touchdown pass to Donald Driver: "I caught a lot of grief on the sidelines for all my pump fakes on that play. As for the play itself, it was all Donald Driver. You've got to give him a lot of credit for making such a great play."

On his success against San Francisco: "It's hard to explain, it's just one of those things. Looking at today's game, San Francisco has a lot of talent with great potential. They're young and the only way for them to go is up. Nothing's ever given to us in a game, you've got to be able to make plays. Fortunately, we've been able to do that against San Francisco."

On his growing appreciation of a regular-season win: "This wasn't a championship game or a playoff game, for that matter. But I've grown to appreciate each win. A win's a win. They're much harder to come by these days. We're a young team and we're growing together. One of the keys today was we showed more consistency than we have in recent games. An example of that was how we hung in there and kept bouncing back. You saw Gore's run early and we hung in there and held them to a field goal. We were able to make plays today and when you make plays, it's contagious. One guy makes them and then someone else makes one."

On his thoughts of retirement: "I really haven't been thinking about that until you brought it up. After a game like this, you feel like you can play another ten years. But there are times I don't quite feel that same way."

On his thoughts of seeing Steve Young before the game: "He was one of the best, no doubt about that. I always admired the way he played the game. It was great to see him not in uniform. I don't have such a fond memory of seeing him in uniform here during the playoffs (1998)."


On his homecoming, being from Sonoma Valley: "It was amazing, simply amazing. Playing in front of so many of my friends and family members, I'll remember that experience for a long, long time."

On his feelings having Brett Favre as a teammate: "He's an amazing player. He keeps going on and on. He's still got that great competitive fire that drives him."

On Nick Collins' key interception: "At that point, the game was starting to slide in the Forty Niners' direction. But it all changed when he made that huge pick."


On his thought as the ball was coming down to him on his touchdown pass: "It seemed like forever coming down. I think they dropped overage and bit on play-action fake. They thought it was going to be a run. As soon as I took off, I knew right away that I was going to be open. I saw they weren't covering me. My biggest thing was getting Brett to look at me on that play. It felt great to score on that one."


On 49ers tight end Vernon Davis: "He's a good player and they were trying to get him the ball a lot today, as they should. He's got a lot of speed and can do a lot of things. I've known him for awhile now and he's only going to get better, now that he's healthy and playing well. He made a great run after the catch on his touchdown. You love to play against some of the best players in the league and he's a good one."

On his first career interception: "I was over the top of the tight end. They ran that same route a couple of times today, a middle read down the field. They tried to hit him in the end zone and luckily when I turned around it was there and I caught it. It was my first interception in the NFL and it felt good. I was just glad to get it when I did and keep the momentum in our favor."


On being back in the Bay Area: "It felt good to be back. I'll tell you what though—the weather is definitely a lot better here (laughs). I've spent so many years out here and had so many memories. I'm going to get a chance to see some old friends while I'm here. I'm going to stay behind tonight so I can go see (former teammate) Willie Brown tomorrow. I'll get to see some old teammates. It will be fun for me, because I've been keeping track of them."

On if he has any regrets leaving the Oakland Raiders: "Well, no. I feel like with all the injuries and things, I was pushed out of Oakland. I have no regrets at all."

On if he's been reborn in Green Bay: "Well, there's no nightlife in Green Bay (laughs). It's been fun. Just playing on the opposite side of Al Harris and being able to make a lot of plays on the ball has been fun for me."


On expecting to be double-teamed: "I expected them to double-team me. On certain plays they did double me and my guys took care of business, especially on Ruvell Martin's touchdown."

On the offensive line protection: "We had to establish the run so could we open up the passing game and our backs rushed well. Also, the O-line blocked well and that allowed Brett time to throw the ball."

On Favre picking up Driver after his touchdown reception: "My biggest thing is that i just want to be part of his legacy. So far I have 3 pickups."


On the Packers' game plan: "When we came to the game, we wanted to stop the run. We weren't necessarily trying to force [Alex] Smith to throw, but we wanted to make sure they couldn't control the game on the ground. We were just playing out there. Our belief was that if we could get them to third-and-long, we could get off the field. That's what we tried to do. We tried to stack-up on the first two downs, get them to at least a third-and-six or something like that and then get off the field."

On the importance of third-down conversions: "If they got to third-and-short, they're pretty good at that. Any team is good on third-and-short. But if we get them to third-and-six or longer, we feel like we're able to get their offense off the field."

On Brett Favre's performance: "When the defense goes out and forces a three-and-out, and then he comes on the field and scores like that, it's just huge for the momentum and confidence of our team. He and the offense played an excellent game and we [Packers defense] put the rest of it together."


On slowing down the 49ers rushing attack: "For the most part we did, except for that one run that he [Frank Gore] had, which I missed a tackle on. But other than that, we feel like we did a good job at stopping the run."

On the feeling along the Green Bay sideline: "We just felt like we were in control. We felt like if we could go in there, stick to our technique and work together that we could stop them. We felt pretty good."

On the defensive line's pressure on Alex Smith: "Any time you put pressure on a quarterback, it's a good thing. You can't give him time to just sit there. He's the kind of quarterback that reads the defense. We feel like we did a good job putting pressure on him and not giving him enough to sit in the pocket and pass the ball. That's when he's dangerous."

On Brett Favre's touchdown pass to Donald Driver and his leadership ability: "That's exciting. I mean that's just exciting. It gets everybody's spirits up. Plays like that kept the momentum on our side."

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