They said it: 49ers after loss to Cardinals

What the 49ers were saying late Sunday afternoon after their disappointing 23-13 season-opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals, with comments from head coach Mike Nolan, cornerback Nate Clements, linebacker Parys Haralson, tight end Vernon Davis, running back Frank Gore, and quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan.


Opening statement:
There are a lot of reasons why you win and lose. I feel that in this game, the thing that was most detrimental to us were the six turnovers [note: 49ers had five turnovers in the game] in the ball game. We had three in the first half and three [note: 49ers had two turnovers in the second half] in the second. They led to poor field position and poor play. I thought our defense the first half hung in there and limited them. But after that it wasn't … the second half we didn't do as good of a job. Penalties were also an area [that were detrimental]. We had a couple of penalties at critical times that cost us. But I would say those are the two most revealing areas: the turnovers and the penalties, as far as what caused the field position and things like that today that hurt us. We did move the ball well at times. But obviously we stopped ourselves several times with turnovers.
On what can be done about San Francisco's third-down defense: I don't know. They [Arizona] were 1-of-6 [note: Arizona was 1-of-7 in the first half] in the first half. We're typically a good third down team. I'll have to go back and look at it. There are third downs that are third-and-one where there is one group of players on the field. There is third down and short where there's another group on the field. So it's not just one specific area. What disappoints me is that as a defense, we need to play a 60-minute game where whenever we're called upon to stop them we need to do that. Our defensive players have that expectation of themselves and that's why I believe in them. They'll get it done.


About the game:
We didn't come out like we should have [which is] obvious from the score. I take my hat off to Arizona. They beat us in every aspect of the game.
On how the defense regroups from the loss: We have to come back on Monday and watch the film, make those needed corrections and apply them in practice. Hopefully next week we won't make the same mistakes.
On how much promise the team is showing on defense: We have to play at a higher intensity level and give our offense the ball and create turnovers. Those are some of the things that we didn't do. We have to work on it and get it taken care of.


On what the team needs to do to improve:
You can't blame any one area. It's a team game, and a team effort. That's just the way it happens.
On whether next week's game at Seattle will be time for the 49ers to make a statement: It's a great opportunity. It would have felt good to get this win. You just have to look forward to the next game, and try to win the next game. We need to prepare as hard as we can for the upcoming game, and we'll be alright. It's like Coach [Nolan] said – one game at a time.
On the play of quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan: I think J.T. did a good job. He did a good job. Like I said, there's no ‘I' in ‘team.' One man can't win the game. It takes everybody together as one. I think J.T. did a good job.


On the play of San Francisco's offensive line:
The offensive line did a great job and so did the receivers. They did a great job blocking down the field. I just read off of my [offensive] linemen, the hole was there, and I hit it. But we're a better team both on offense and defense. We just can't make the same mistakes that we did.
On what happened to the offense Sunday: We didn't start out fast. We've got to get the defense off of the field. We just have to stop making mistakes. That's the main thing. The mistakes really hurt us. You cannot win an NFL game with six turnovers [note: the 49ers had five turnovers].


If this is the start of a big season for him personally after recording 2.5 sacks:
You have to move on. It's the first game out of 16. We have to move on and prepare for the next one.
On what the defense has to change to win next week: We have to go in and prepare like we always do. We'll correct our mistakes and see what we can do to stop the offense.
His thoughts on Ray McDonald's debatable roughing the passer penalty, that kept alive an Arizona touchdown drive: I didn't get a chance to look at it again. We didn't even talk about it. We were just trying to get a stop.


On rating his overall performance:
I'm disappointed with the loss. It is tough to get past that right now. My individual performance is tied to the team.
On his expectations entering the game: My expectations were to win and to score points.
On how San Francisco's five turnovers impacted the game: Obviously, when you have that sort of turnover ratio, the percentage of winning goes down with each turnover. You can say it starts and stops with that, but our defense gave us the chance early in the game by getting stops. We have to go out there, obviously, and not turn the ball over and score touchdowns.
On why receiver Isaac Bruce wasn't more in the offensive mix: There were a lot of times I would have liked to have thrown to him, but it seemed like they had guys on him.
On the difference in the speed of the game in the regular season from the preseason: It is full-speed in the preseason. Guys are fighting for jobs in the preseason like now we're fighting for wins. I didn't feel that it sped up or slowed down.
On what happened on his first-quarter interception: That play is a good example of not being able to get the ball to Isaac [Bruce]. My pre-snap read was to throw to Isaac. They buzzed out underneath him. I moved to my left and up a little bit and just saw Arnaz [Battle] coming open. When I threw it, I thought I had it. I have to watch the film to see what happened. It is a good example of not throwing the ball late down the middle, but at the same time, there is a fine line playing football with seeing things and making plays.
On his impression of San Francisco's wide receivers: I felt when we had the opportunities to make big plays down the field, those guys made big plays. I feel we moved the ball well but as a team you want to score touchdowns. Moving the ball is not enough, changing field position is not enough. You have to score touchdowns. If I'm not doing that, it gives a bad taste in my mouth.

Niners Digest Top Stories