They said it: 49ers after loss to Eagles

What the 49ers were saying after Sunday's disappointing 40-26 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, with comments from head coach Mike Nolan, running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis, defensive end Ray McDonald, quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, linebacker Takeo Spikes and cornerback Donald Strickland.


Opening Statement:
"Naturally, there's a lot of things to learn from the game. We'll come in tomorrow. We'll evaluate those things and get ready to go to the [New York] Giants. Enough mistakes in this game obviously cost us."

On his two replay challenges that cost the 49ers timeouts: "Well, I was right there on the sidelines for the first one. All I asked upstairs is, was it clear that he caught it in bounds. We had it on the billboard when I saw it as well and I thought it was very close. My question was, ‘Did he have possession?' I saw his feet. I wanted to know if he had possession because if he was still bobbling it, then naturally it wouldn't have been a catch. So that's why I did that one. The second one? The field goal? This is not a complaint to the officials but they have to make a signal at some point that says it's above the bar or not. Because as it is, I challenged it not knowing if it's above or below. What I'm saying is if the challenge…I still have to challenge because I threw the red flag. Because I asked him, ‘Is it challengeable?' And he said, ‘It really doesn't matter now that you threw the red flag.' So either way it was going to cost me. So in the discussions right there, they have to correct that. There's got to be some kind of signal that says it's not only good but it's not challengeable or it is. Obviously that didn't cost us the game. But anyway, [it's] something they've got to fix."

On what happened to the 49ers in the fourth quarter: "Just became less effective, I guess. Naturally the defense had their problems as well so I wouldn't put it all on one. I thought we were moving the ball well the entire game. I thought we had a good mix. I thought we ran the ball well. I thought we passed it. I thought we kept them off balance. I thought it was a good plan. Naturally a couple of turnovers there at the end and a bad punt gave way for them to get some points. So we've got to play better as a team. It takes a team to win a game, especially against a good football team like Philadelphia."

On the field-goal challenge, how it can be reversed if there's not a camera at the same place where the referee is: "When he came over, I asked him the same exact question. Other than, can I challenge it? He asked the guy, ‘Was it below it?' And they all kind of said it was. But outside of that, I said, ‘What views are you going to see? Are they going to be different from what I see?' And he said, ‘I'm just going to see what they give me on the monitor.' That was his response. So it's not as if there's a camera, I guess. If there was, he'd have said, ‘there was one.' So as the way it's setup now, it's all fine and dandy. Basically what they get to challenge is if you've got a situation like last year where the thing bounces off the cross bar or hits the little machine that's there. Then you get it. Otherwise, it's ineffective. The challenges don't mean anything."

On not being aware of this before: "You know what? I thought maybe there was something…because I didn't think it was good, to be honest with you. I wanted to hear what he had to say coming over. That's why I also thought that coming over if he said, ‘You can't challenge it because it was above the (upright).' I was going to say, ‘Well then I get my challenge back.' But he says, ‘No, you're not going to get your challenge back.'"


On his big day:
"I can catch passes or block for my teammates, but most importantly what I look forward to is getting the win. One thing I told my coach is that once I get that first catch everything starts to flow and energy comes from somewhere else. I take that and I put it towards blocking or whatever else I need to do."

On getting the ball: "They call plays for me. All practice long I'm catching balls – Wednesdays, Thursdays, I'm catching a lot of passes. Then when we come to the game it's like they [the opponent] change the coverage up. If I'm running a "9 route" they'll probably have somebody over the top of me – a safety – and have somebody hit me on the line."


On the most frustrating part of losing games like this:
"I'm just frustrated that we're not finishing. I feel like that as a team we have to do a better job of finishing. If we had finished today, we'd win the game."

On not getting enough carries in the fourth quarter: "You know, we've just got to finish. I'm not the coach and I don't make the calls. The Eagles made big plays. We made mistakes and we lost the game. Our coach did what he thought was the best thing for us to get a first down and move the ball. We made mistakes toward the end. They made big plays and they won the game."

On what makes a team better at finishing: "We just need to keep playing and having fun, and keep playing hard, like every play is our last. We didn't. We got ahead and we got comfortable. The Eagles played great defense and made great plays. They turned the game around and they won."


On his blocked field goal:
"It was a great call by our special teams coach. They were firing out and it just was a great call and I just got in there and blocked the kick."

On what Philadelphia's offensive line was doing that made it so difficult for the defensive line to penetrate: "The Eagles, they max-protect and they run that west coast offense. [Donovan McNabb] gets the ball out of there pretty quick and with this defensive line it's kind of hard to get a rush when they max-protect, especially when he gets it out of there quick. At times we did get pressure, but for the most part we didn't make the plays that we needed to."

On what the 49ers can learn from this game heading into next week's game against the New York Giants: "We just have to watch film and get better. It seems like it's an ongoing thing, but we just have to stick together and play hard. I mean this is the NFL and this is a profession, and we just have to come in tomorrow and work hard and get ready for the [New York] Giants."


On the feeling on the team after three quarters:
"I feel like we were moving the ball well. I get frustrated when we don't score touchdowns when we have the opportunity to."

On if the pressure intensified in the final quarter: "I felt like we were moving the ball and the first downs were coming. Guys were making plays. We had somewhat of a rhythm going. The three-and-outs put a stop to that and made us struggle. I felt like we handled the pressure well. Anytime they blitzed, I felt I got the ball to the ‘hot' receiver. Not every blitz, but the majority, I felt we handled them well."

On whether he was trying too hard to make a play on his second interception: "That's where my read tells me to throw the ball. That's where I threw the ball. I'm trying to execute the offense. If the ball wasn't supposed to be thrown there and I misread it, and he was open, then it was my fault."

On how damaging was the end-around to Delanie Walker at the end of the fourth quarter:"It was very damaging. He [Juqua Parker] made a nice play. We would love to have that play back. I love getting the ball to Delanie as much as possible. We were just being creative."

On why Frank Gore was taken out of the game plan during the fourth quarter after having such an effective third quarter: "I believe whatever play Coach Martz calls is the best play for our offense. We were trying to move the ball and be aggressive. He is going to call the play that he feels is going to be the most successful."

On his confidence level: "It's good. I feel I threw the ball accurately. I want to win. That's the part that's most frustrating. If you can't get past that, then everything stops with the loss. As far as playing quarterback, I felt like we did a good job handling the pressure. But that doesn't always win games."

On settling for field goals instead of touchdowns: "I get frustrated not scoring touchdowns especially when we get the ball down there. It is our job to score touchdowns. Not doing that, we are leaving points out there."


On the most frustrating thing about the game:
"We couldn't get off the field."

On what the defense will look to do to improve next week: "We can't give up the big plays and we need to make more plays. Each and every one of us as individuals have to play better, and we have to get off the field."


On his blocked field goal return for a touchdown:
"It felt awesome. Coming into the game I knew I wasn't going to play much on defense and last night during chapel they talked about being significant, so that play. Although I was only playing special teams, I just wanted to make a play and be significant. The ball bounced my way. Ray McDonald got a hand on it, the ball bounced, I caught it, and took it the distance."

On how that play affected the whole team: "It was definitely a momentum changer. It was an 11 [if they would have made the field goal] point swing because they were going into [halftime] up by 10. We actually held the gap by one so that definitely gave us a boost going into halftime, and as you saw, we came out and put another touchdown on the board, so it definitely built up the morale of the team."

On what the 49ers hope to build on entering next week's game in New York: "The defense has to get off on third downs. That's been an issue thus far and it continues to be an issue so we definitely have to fix that problem. I can't speak for the offense, they know what they have to do, but as a defense we definitely have to make some more plays."

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