He said it: Mike Nolan after big win vs. Rams

Coach Mike Nolan gives his takes on the game Sunday afternoon after the 49ers rallied from behind for a 17-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis that gives San Francisco its first 2-0 start to a season since 1998.

Q: After the finishes of the past two weeks, are you going to be able to live through this thing much longer?
I like the way we came out of this one, without question. Our guys continue to fight hard to the very end. It's important for us to do that. I think I'd rather take the two victories we've had the way we've had them than kick somebody's tail two weeks in a row, because this is a long season and you've got to not only build on what you're doing on offense and defense, but team-wise the character is huge and this is what our team is made of.

Q: Finishing with six sacks, you had defenders flying at Marc Bulger from everywhere. How big was that?
The defensive staff did an outstanding job for two weeks in a row now preparing. I now that they got some yards on offense, but at the same time, you do not want to let Bulger have a pass-silly type of a day with no pressure. So you're going to give up some when you get some. And that's what happened today. But I will credit to the coaches and the players on defense for the way they played. I thought they played to win, and the way they did it … It was difficult, but we got a win.

Q: The Rams got some yards, but they only scored one touchdown, and that was set up by a 49ers' turnover. How big was it to stop them in the red zone and hold them to field goals when they got down there a few times?
On the one touchdown, we got them in a third-and-11, I'd like to have that one back. But you don't get it back. We made some big plays down there. There was some that were not so good, but we came through when it counted. We still have a lot to learn, but fortunately we got a victory in the process.

Q: What was happening at the end of the game when the Rams went for the 56-yard field goal? There was only seven seconds left on the play clock, and you guys called a timeout. That seemed to give the Rams time to get set. What was the thinking?
I thought it was real important that we make sure we get the right guys on the field, because it was a 56-yarder. Had that been anything less than that, like a sure-thing type of distance, then we would have just let it go. But as it was, I wanted to make sure. If it's that long, let's make sure wer'e all good. But the other thing was, it was kind of looking like we were having some attitude right there. I wanted to make sure we didn't get sit there and get penalized, give them a first down with another opportunity, and then all of a sudden one first down and it's an easy kick. So it was just a case of, it's 56 yards, let's slow it down, let's get lined up, and let's do what we do best.

Q: But the Rams were confused on the sidelines and it didn't seem they realized it was fourth down with kicker Jeff Wilkins running out there late. Conversely, it seemed like you knew just what you wanted to do. Is it easier for you this year managing the game because you're not so involved in the defensive calls?
It might be a little bit easier, no question. I can't say it wouldn't be. Your mind is always working and racing when you're doing any job down on the sidelines. But you're right, when you're doing two jobs, it's a little bit different. But I thought our coaching staff did a great job on the sidelines. We were well-prepared for it. They all of a sudden went into a hurry-up field goal situation because it was fourth down. If it had been any other down, they could have spiked it. I just think that because it was such a third-and-long (on the previous play) that maybe they weren't really thinking about it at the time, because (third-and-17) is a lot of yardage.

Q: One of the key decisions you made in the game was going for it on fourth-and-1 from the St. Louis 43 late in the third quarter. Then Frank Gore goes 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. What went into the thinking and the play call?
I thought it was a really good play. I thought (offensive coordinator) Jim Hostler did a great job on that call. I told him just prior to that series that this is four-down territory and be ready. As you saw on the fourth down, he hustled the people up and they called timeout, causing them to burn a timeout, which is good. He had a (fourth-and-1) play in mind if we had to use one, and we did. I thought he did a great job, and without question, Frank obviously did a great job as well.

Q: And what about Gore? He scored best San Francisco touchdowns and really seemed to help you pull out the game.
I must say, only one game ball was given out today, so the teammate that we all know and love, that we all know had a heavy heart all week, and that was Frank Gore because of his mother passing. So I want to say our thoughts and prayers are with his whole family, and that's where the game ball went today.

Q: Did you know this is the first time since 1998 that the 49ers have started a season 2-0?
What did they do in '98? Go to the playoffs? Did they finish it (in the Super Bowl)? It wasn't '94 was it? We're just going to keep plugging away. As you well know, we're going to take them one at a time. We've got Pittsburgh next week, and that's what matters right now.

Q: You're 2-0, but it's even bigger to be 2-0 in the NFC West. It's great to win your first two of the year, but when they're in the division, they take extra importance don't they?
They do. They're very meaningful, without question. And usually, you don't start to talk about those things until you get to the very end of the season, and then you say, 'All right, what are our possibilities and our chances to make this thing happen, and to get into the playoffs.' That's when you really start noticing, 'Ah, remember way back when we won those first two games, look how crucial they were.' That's huge, so you've just got to be really pleased by it.

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