They said it: 49ers after loss to Vikings

Coach Mike Nolan and the 49ers give their takes on Sunday's 27-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, wth comments from wide receivers Arnaz Battle and Ashley Lelie, cornerback Nate Clements, quarterback Shaun Hill, running back Maurice Hicks, defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin and linebacker Patrick Willis.

Opening Statement:
"It's hard to win a game when you have that many turnovers, I've said that before but it is accurate. Ball security is imperative if you want to win a football game, just look throughout the league. It's the same for every football team, including ours. We just happen to be on the wrong side of that. Positives in the game, I do believe there's some worth mentioning because that was the number one rushing offense in the league. Yes, they did get the one 84 yard run, but I thought our defense did an outstanding job on stopping the running game. I think Adrian Peterson may have had three yards total. That wasn't due to lack of carrying the ball or an injury. I thought our defense stepped up to the challenge. They did give up some plays a couple times in the first half on a couple missed tackles, the 84-yard run was one in particular where it was right into the face of a blitz. How it came out, I do not know. Then they missed a tackle on a slant, on a corner blitz. But other than that, I think they did some good things. I thought they stepped up to the challenge, like I said. Special teams as well, we had two 55 yard kickoff returns. That's a positive in the game and needs to be noted, because it did happen and those areas continue to play well. Nate (Clements) had a good return as well, and our coverage units continue to do well. But on the offensive side again, ball security is imperative in order to win a football game and that was not what it needs to be. Before you ask, I will answer the question of who called the game. Greg (Manusky) and I collaborated on the calls. Typically, I initiated most of them because I was here all week, but Greg and I were in constant communication on each call. There were a few cases where I became head coach and was not on and he made some of the calls, but I don't recall which ones those are. But again, it was a staff effort as far as that stuff goes. And questions about Alex (Smith), I will give you (answers) when something's updated."
Regarding an update on QB Trent Dilfer: "I think it's a concussion, nothing more severe than that at this time. I don't know about the following week and what will occur tomorrow. We'll have a normal tomorrow and Tuesday schedule. It was different than that, prior to this, but I want to put closure to this game tomorrow. So the players will be there tomorrow and then Tuesday will be off. We have a short week going into Saturday's game against Cincinnati on Saturday night, but we'll adjust the Wednesday, Thursday (schedule) for you."
On if he's talked to Dilfer: "I did at halftime and they brought his family in here. Trent left here and went to Stanford (Hospital). As I've always said, the Stanford staff is outstanding, they were here. The doctors went in and spoke with his family after they took a look at Trent and saw how he was and everything. I did talk to him at half time, he was a little woozy but he was aware enough to kind of look. The only reason I went to him was to let him know his family was here. When it's all said and done, he'll see them I'm sure. "

On his touchdown catch:
"We ran double out routes. Ashley Lelie did a great job of holding the corner. He ran a four route to the back edge. Shaun Hill was able to do a good job of scrambling around and was able to find me."
On the play of QB Shaun Hill: "Shaun is a competitor and can make plays. In the pre-season and in practice our guys could see it. He came in and led the first drive for a touchdown and had a couple good drives late in the game. Hopefully, we can go back and watch the film and correct some things. Hopefully Trent (Dilfer) gets better. This is an opportunity for another guy to step in and get this thing rolling for us."

On containing Minnesota's running attack:
"We still let up well over 100 (yards), which shows that we need to bring it on every single play. We contained them well, but they still got that 84 yard run on us, which shows that we can't let up on any single play because someone can always break a big run on you."
On the second half shutout: "We need to bring that intensity out in the first half so we aren't in that position in the second. We need to play with that intensity throughout the whole game, not just one half or one quarter. We also need to stop teams on third down because they were able to pick up some first (downs) on us."
On stopping Adrian Peterson: "There are no moral victories in stopping Adrian Peterson. We had a game plan all week to stop their run, and we were able to stop one guy, but Taylor (Chester) was still able to move the ball on us. We had some good plays on defense, but we need to bring it on every play to prevent giving up big gains."

On the play of the defense:
"If you take out that one play I think we did alright. I thought we were able to execute a lot of our sets on them, but I want to take my hats off to them. They are a young team that has enthusiastic runners, and what looks like a soon-to-be great quarterback."

On his returns:
"No, we didn't do anything different today. The guys up front did a great job of blocking and I was able to find some holes so, that was that."
On if the game plan was changed after the early deficit: "We didn't change our game plan at all. We went out there and tried to execute like we always do. We always try to stick to our game plan and we did that today."

On stepping into the game and moving the offense effectively:
"We do a great job of preparing and our coaches do a great job with us quarterbacks of getting us prepared to play with mental reps among other things during the week. We watch a lot of film so I felt comfortable with what I was seeing out there. The offensive line did a tremendous job protecting and the receivers, tight ends and backs did a great job of getting to the right spots and making some catches. They made some tough catches and got a lot of yards after the catch."
On throwing his first career NFL pass: "Well, obviously given the circumstances, my heart and prayers went out to Trent. I wasn't obviously very happy about the circumstances. Trent is just a warrior. One of the best guys I've ever met in the game or out of the game. So given the circumstances I obviously felt for Trent. That being said, I had a job to do when I got in there. I was excited to play. I've been in the League six years and I've taken two knees going into this game. So I was excited."
On his first career NFL touchdown pass to Battle: "Well it was exciting. It was a good play call and I had a lot of mental reps with the play during the week, and it unfolded completely different than I thought it would. I was really late and that's kind of what made him so open. The offensive line did a great job. Nobody was around me and Arnaz just stayed in that spot and made the catch. It was probably one of my worst reads of the game to be quite honest with you. I should have hit Arnaz way sooner."
On the interception he threw: "It slipped out. Whether it was the finger or what, I don't know. I don't want to make excuses, that's for sure. I had an open receiver to convert a first down and I wasn't able to make the play unfortunately."
On the possibility of starting for the 49ers next week: "That's what every NFL player wants. Everybody wants to be the starter. Every back-up wants to be the starter, every third stringer wants to move up to second string and then on up to the starter. That's what we're all here to play for. We love to play and I'm no different. It's been a long time and I would be very excited about that opportunity."
On his injured index finger on his throwing hand: "It's good. I had some tape stabilizing the knuckle there. Hopefully this week we can get that off of there too. I've been making a lot of progress every week on it and hopefully it continues to do so."
On going through his progression and finding secondary receivers: "To be quite honest with you, sometimes I got off the first receiver way too fast. We'll go back and watch the film and take note of those things. Like I said, my offensive line did a good job of keeping those guys off my lap and I was able to see the field. And those receivers, tight ends and running backs were doing the right things on those plays."

On getting the start for today's game:
"I had more opportunities today to make plays and, you've got to connect on those opportunities to win ballgames. We don't have any excuse why we didn't, so we've got to go work on it and get better."
On Dilfer's injury: "You just have to deal with it. Good things happen, bad things happen, you just have to deal with them. You have to overcome it. We've got three more games, so we have to go out there, have fun and play football. Trent might not play next week so Shaun is going to have to step up, in the same way that Arnaz was a little banged up so I had to step up. Its football, and its not that hard, we've just got to go out there and play."
On Shaun Hill's performance: "I think he did really well. He kept his composure and made critical reads like the one down there in the red zone to Arnaz. He didn't panic, he waited, read the coverage and found a wide open Arnaz. I think that says a lot about his composure, he was ready to play."
On Hill providing a spark: "Yes, we were fired up, but we were playing for Dilfer too. When one of your guys goes down or takes a hit like that, you kind of take it personally. Especially when it's your quarterback, we didn't like seeing him go down like that."
On feeling less pressure to make plays in the second half: "I wouldn't say that, there's always pressure when you step onto the field. But, what I mean by ‘let loose' is to just go out there and not worry about making mistakes. You have to know that there is always going to be a play after that and a play after that."

On handling the Vikings' run game:
"We really just wanted to be able to get our right personnel in there depending on what they had out there. We really came in with the intent on stopping the run, and unfortunately we let one big run hurt us. (Chester) Taylor had a good game, but that was a big run and you can't take that away from him, but outside of that big run, I don't know what they really had rushing. Outside of that one big run, I think we did alright. After the first half, we just wanted to win the second half."
On lining up against Adrian Peterson: "This is not a one on one battle; this is the ultimate team sport. It is not about one guy stopping another guy; it is about the defensive as a unit stopping their offense. I thought we did a good job on Peterson, but we did it as a unit."
On the play of San Francisco's defensive line: "Our defensive line played tremendous. We knew coming into the game, our front seven was going to have to play well and bring a safety in there. For the most part I think we did alright. Like I said, one big play kind of hurt us. There isn't anything we can do about it now, but just watch film and learn from it."

Niners Digest Top Stories