They said it: 49ers after loss to Patriots

What the 49ers were saying late Sunday afternoon after their disappointing 30-21 loss to the defending AFC champion New England Patriots, with comments from coach Mike Nolan, linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Takeo Spikes, cornerback Nate Clements, quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and running back Frank Gore.

COACH MIKE NOLAN

Opening Statement:
"Okay, defensively we've got to get off the field better, obviously. (We) didn't do a good job there. And offensively, we definitely have to stay on the field. We've got to convert on third down. Special teams was uneventful. There wasn't much to report there. But that's what led to the loss: gave them another big pass, uncharacteristic of our secondary. But two weeks in a row, I'm not going to say it is becoming characteristic, but we got the quarterback on a blitz and he just unloads it deep and beats us."

On what's going wrong on third downs: "I know we brought pressure. It's a good example of getting five sacks. (I know) how excited people get about sacks and how they think they're directly related to winning. That should give you a great example that it really isn't. To win is all about having more points than the other team. It gets down to staying on the field offensively on third down and getting off on defense, and a lot of other things but it's never one area."

On getting an explanation on the pivotal personal foul called on Justin Smith in the second quarter that led to a New England touchdown: "On the third down, we converted and they said that we got a sack…whatever. They said that he put his hand on the back of his helmet as he was pulling him backwards and said that you can't do that. They said that's a personal foul. I've never heard that before. It's not as if it assisted in tackling nor did it hinder the player's safety. But he called it a foul."

On the coverage on Randy Moss's long touchdown reception: "We had three-deep. Three-deep, yep. We ran a quarters coverage but it's half, quarter, quarter so that equals three. Three guys should have been back."

On the thinking behind on de-activating linebacker Roderick Green for the game: "With Rod I thought that I'd just let Tully (Banta-Cain) have the opportunity. I thought that it was important to get (Marcus Hudson) up for the special teams as well. So, Hudson did the special teams. He's a good special teams player. I felt we'd need him for the game. And Tully had a good week. I thought we'd inspire him and see if he would do something. But I'll look at the film, but he…again from a pass rush standpoint, I don't know. I guess I shouldn't say it before I know. We were okay in that area, like I said, five sacks, but we didn't win the game."

On what he thought the team was going to do defensively to improve in this game: "I thought we were going to execute better than we did and get off the field on third down."


LINEBACKER TULLY BANTA-CAIN

On how it felt to play against his former team:
"It was a great experience for me just to get a chance to play against them. I have been inactive for four weeks so for the fact that I'm active for my old team, I couldn't write it out better. It would have been nice to get the win, but at the same time, it was nice to get to play."

On if he felt he had something to prove after being inactive the past four weeks: "I always feel like I have something to prove every time I step out on the field. But it was a little more intense this week being (that) I hadn't played in a while. The reason I feel that I'm here is to play and to make plays. So hopefully, regardless of the loss, they will see that I'm capable of playing well."

On New England's big advantage in time of possession: "That's not good. As a defense, you want to get off the field. We just didn't play consistent enough on defense. That's something we need to improve on if we want to be special."

On whether New England's four running back look helped change the tempo of the game: "We knew what they were going to do. It comes down to making plays. And details are the biggest key to winning. When you get one guy making a mistake here, another missing a tackle, and one guy misaligned, those plays add up. You have 11 guys on the field, when one guy makes a mistake, that's 11 mistakes. Great defenses play consistent football and that's what we have to work on."


CORNERBACK NATE CLEMENTS

On the defense not getting off the field on third downs:
"That's the one key down we had to play tight coverage on. You have to over-emphasize everything because it is third down and we have the opportunity to get off the field."

On Randy Moss's long touchdown reception: "Good throw. Good catch. I thought I had it covered. It happens."

On losing the momentum of the game: "They were faced with an adverse situation and they responded. They switched around and changed the momentum of the game themselves. There are going to be situations like that during the course of the season. We have to learn to weather the storm and continue to press."

On his interception: "I saw the ball and made a play on it. Nothing really to it."


RUNNING BACK FRANK GORE

On penalties against the 49ers:
"The referees did their job. I can't answer about what happened. As a team we just have to stick together and play better."

On what areas the offense needs to improve to get better for next week: "We just went out today flat. We went out flat as a team. We just have to go out there and stick together and play hard. We can't give up. We just have to keep playing hard."


QUARTERBACK J.T. O'SULLIVAN

On what accounted for the offensive inconsistency:
"We had too many three and outs. Three and outs just aren't good enough for any offense. I feel that there were a lot of reasons (why the 49ers had troubles getting first downs). They were playing coverages sometimes and bringing pressure sometimes. But I didn't worry about any of that. I only worry about what we're trying to do."

On safety Rodney Harrison's interception: "I probably tried to squeeze it in there, but that's still a throw that I make a lot. When I released it, I thought I was going to get it in there."

On the 49ers' inability to establish a consistent offensive rhythm: "I'm not going to make any excuses about having rhythm or not having rhythm. The point is we didn't capitalize on enough of our opportunities. It's something we're going to have to work on."

On the different looks he got from the New England defense: "They do give you a lot of looks. I expected it. They're a veteran defense. They're very good at what they do. But nothing they did today surprised me."


LINEBACKER TAKEO SPIKES

On his responsibility on his interception:
"I dropped into a zone. I think he was trying to throw deep but Aubrayo (Franklin) hit him and I happened to be in the right place at the right time."

On the frustration of being on the field so long defensively: "They had the ball for far too long. It's disappointing and frustrating. We have to give our offense more opportunities. You've got to give them credit; they just played better than us. They made the plays, that's the difference."

On the frustration of being unable to force the Patriots into more punting situations: "They were able to convert a lot of third downs. It's not like they surprised us or anything, they just executed better than we did in those situations. We can't afford to give up big plays like we did today. We knew what they were going to do, but we couldn't stop them."

On his outlook after another tough loss: "It's always disappointing to lose, but we'll learn from this. We'll be all right. I honestly believe it."


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