They said it: 49ers after win over Seahawks

Coach Mike Singletary and several of his 49ers players give their takes on the game late Sunday afternoon after San Francisco's 23-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks left the Niners alone atop the NFC West with a 2-0 record.

HEAD COACH MIKE SINGLETARY

Opening statement:
Before I say anything, I want to say this. From now on, when I come up here and talk I want you to understand that I'm not trying to go in the wrong direction. I want you to know that when I say thank God for my coaches, thank God for my players, that's exactly what I mean. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not meant to do anything other than I thank God for that. Okay? I just want you guys to understand. Going forward, I look at the game and am very thankful for coming out in the game and doing a decent job. I say that because I think we've got to do a better job if we're going to get in a rhythm. Next week we got a tough opponent on the road. We have to do a better job than we did today. Overall, I'm really thankful that we have guys playing that have been there, but we just left too much on the table. We just have to finish. We have to do a better job tackling. We have to do a better job on third-and-long. We have to do a better job overall cleaning it up, so that we can compete with anyone. That's what we're trying to do. We're not satisfied with being 1-0, 2-0 and, ‘Wow, we had a great start.' We want to be a team that really makes a difference in this year's playoffs, championships, whatever. That's what we want to be and that's what we're going for.

On whether he thinks 49ers should have had more of a killer instinct in the first half: You know what? First of all, I'm going to say this. I'm thankful that we won the game. I'm not… I don't want to take away what we did accomplish. I don't want to come in here and make it sound like we should have beat them more. I don't want to do that. I am thankful that we won the game. I just think that we have to do a better job of finishing and that just kind of comes with our maturity. And it's going to come, because we're going to execute better, we're going to play better as we continue to have a better grasp on the offensive side of the ball of what Jimmy Raye's trying to get accomplished and getting the quarterback and o-line in sync as well. So, little things like that.

On what his impression of the offensive line is after last week: They did a better job today blocking. Run-blocking, I felt they did a great job, but our quarterback is taking too many hits. Some of that maybe Shaun Hill can do something a little differently, but anytime you get the quarterback hit four times, that's not a good thing. We've got to clean that up. We've got to do a much better job.

On whether the 49ers are a team the rest of the league should take seriously: Well, you know what, if they're not taking us seriously, that's okay. They can keep doing that. We're going to continue to take ourselves seriously. We're going to continue to make steps each day. I think that's what's really important. We have never really thought about what the media is saying. The most important thing for us is we have to go out each day and get better. If we can get a little bit better each day then at the end of the day, we're going to get done what we need to.

On what the differences were in the running game between the 49ers and the Seahawks from week 1 to week 2: I think our approach, as far as Seattle, it's just one of those things where I just think they were going to line-up and they run the same kind of style. When you look at Arizona, that's a different style. Maybe if we played Seattle first, and Arizona second, maybe they approach it differently, maybe we approach it a little bit differently. I just think today that our offensive line did a better job of staying low, having leverage, and trying to get off the ball a little faster and create some holes.

On whether Frank Gore was more patient today: When you start talking about those things, I have to look at film. I just know that from the sideline, the offensive line was doing a good job of moving the people and creating some holes and space. As far as what Frank saw, I'd have to look at the film.

On what separates Gore from other backs in the league: His ability to trust. Once he gets past the line of scrimmage, he can make things happen. Just like a quarterback has to gain that trust in his receivers and get the timing down, Frank has to gain the trust in the offensive line to make sure that, maybe he takes a couple steps and he has room, he knows that. I just think those go hand-in-hand. The more they play together, the better it's going to get.

On whether Gore could have scored those touchdowns last year given he thinks he is in better shape: Gore came into training camp in what was fantastic shape. Would he have scored the same last year? I don't know that, but I'm just thankful he did today.

On whether the team is where he thought it would be in week 2: I think, to begin with, it's one of those things where you have to… We knew that Shaun had to get a better grasp of the offense and really own the offense as Jimmy Raye wants to do it. So we knew the more we ran a little bit more in the beginning of the season, the more Shaun can get comfortable, the more he can execute the offense and get a feel for it. I think that's what's happening.

On whether this is the template for winning 49ers football: No, I won't say that. I won't say that, because I want it to be more crisp. I want to execute a heck of a lot better. Last week was ugly, but I loved it. This week was ugly, but I loved it. It's going to be a wonderful thing, because as a team when we can get our rhythm down, and we get our timing down and have it be clean across the board, that's what we're striving to do.

On Frank's right ankle sprain: Frank's going to be fine. He's doing fine.

On Glen Coffee's injury: Glen Coffee will be fine.

On whether the more play action in today's game was in the game plan or on the fly: I think anytime that you're able to run the ball, and it's going to put you in a position to have a better play action, that's what you should do.

On whether he feels good about being 2-0: 2-0 isn't bad, but we got to keep going. We have to learn something from each opportunity and get ready to look at the next opponent. We're on the road next week, a very tough team. I'm very excited about that challenge.

On whether he thinks the 49ers have an early hold on the division: You'd like to think so, but I think for us, it's too early to tell anything. The only thing that we know is that we're striving to be a good football team. The only thing we know is that we can run the ball when we put our mind to it and our offensive line has leverage to do that. So overall, we just continue to get better.


OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIMMY RAYE

On how RB Frank Gore was feeling after last week:
He was feeling bad. He wanted to know if he was missing some holes. I mean what most great runners do, he felt bad that he didn't have the kind of opening day performance that he had anticipated.

On whether this is what he thought he would get in Week 2 from this offense: No, it's more than I expected because you can't factor in two 80-yard runs, but I did anticipate that we would control the ball. We had a 17-play drive and a 14-play drive that I think only netted three points. We controlled the ball 17 plays and got three,13 or 14 plays and got three. We've got to finish those drives with touchdowns. We managed the clock well, which is what our intent was and if we get the breakouts great, but we can run the ball and get the short throws and completions, that will be pretty good.

On whether he has had a player call him in the middle night after a game: Yeah, [RB] Marcus Allen. I've had that happen before, but all the great running backs that I've been associated with: Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Frank Gore, Curtis Martin. All the great ones that I've had, they have so much pride in their performance that a sub-50 [yard] performance with 20 carries, they've had restless nights and basically the call was more of a reassurance that we are going in the right direction and he hadn't played. You have to remember that he didn't play very much this summer, so he expected to jump out last week like he did this week and when it didn't happen, he basically just wanted to someone talk to.


CORNERBACK NATE CLEMENTS

On the play of the defense:
Every week, we try to take a step forward. We prepare, we work hard, we practice hard and today we went out there and executed.

On his game today: In this particular game, I was just playing my game, my style. That's what it is. Going out there, being aggressive, playing within the defensive system and making plays.

On whether the 49ers imposed their will on Seattle: Today, for the most part, we had them playing our style. We forced them play our type of football.


SAFETY DASHON GOLDSON

On his first career interception:
It felt good. I'm going to go ahead and watch the film and see what it looks like.

On describing the play on the interception: I saw the quarterback open up and I just broke [on it], and then I saw [CB] Nate [Clements] over the top and I thought that he might have gotten a hand on it. I was going to go for the hit until I saw the ball tipped.

On the overall play of the secondary in today's game: We got that mindset, we want to be the best. We practice hard, we work hard and we play together. If you want to have a good secondary, that's what you've got to do, and that's what we are doing right now.

On being 2-0 at the start of the 2009 season: It feels good, it feels real good. I haven't been 2-0 in a long time.


RUNNING BACK FRANK GORE

On why he called offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after last week's game:
I told him I was kind of frustrated because it was very disappointing. I told him that we should stick with it. I told him that I was happy about myself. The game our there, we just kept punching, kept punching. I was upset that we just couldn't get anything going. But I was happy about the win though.

On whether he was nervous to call Raye: No. I felt he was probably thinking about the game too. Knowing how much we want to be successful in the running game, and it didn't happen. It didn't happen last week. That is why I was upset with myself.

On whether his call woke Raye up: No, he was thinking about the same thing.

On whether he felt better after talking to Raye: Yes, I feel great. [Head] coach [Mike] Singletary challenged the offensive linemen all week. He told them, you all need to give him the seams, and I'm telling you that he'll get the job done.' My offensive linemen, my receivers, my downfield receivers did a good job up front. Down the field, the receivers did a great job and I just ran all day.

On whether today's performance signals that he is running like he did in 2006: Yeah. Like I said all off-season, the last two years I trained somewhere else. Things just weren't clicking for me. At the end of the season, I told myself I was going to dedicate myself and take that hour-and-a-half. I went back with my coach at the University of Miami and tried to get some of my guys I played with in college. That's what I did this off-season. I was strict on my diet. Most of the time, I watched what I ate. I told myself, if I want to be one of the top guys in this league, then I have to dedicate myself.

On whether he looked at the scoreboard as he ran for is first touchdown: Yeah, I saw him coming. If I went to the right, I knew that was the one way they couldn't catch me. That's what I did.

On whether he would have been caught on those touchdown runs in 2006: I don't know. I don't know. But when I got out here, I told myself I'm not looking back. The past three years, when I get in the open field I kind of looked back and put my hand out. I just told myself, ‘They're going to catch me. They're going to catch me.' Now I just look straight ahead and go.

On how his ankle feels: Good, good, good. They were trying to twist me up in the pile. That was the only way they were going to slow me down though. I'm just happy for this win. 2-0 on the year. Everybody was talking about how Seattle was injured all of last year, but we proved to a lot of people that we can play.

On his first touchdown run: The first one was a counter, a big counter. They bit on it. They brought their Mike up in the A gap and I knew they were going to bring him. Chilo [Rachal] went down, [David] Baas came around and hit the front-side linebacker. Moran [Norris] put the linebacker on the backside. It was just me on the safety and the referee. I kind of carried it behind the referee, and made the safety go right and I just went the other way.

On his second touchdown run: The second, I have to give a lot of props to my boy Joe Staley and my boy Josh [Morgan]. Josh, he did a great job sealing off the edge, and Joe brought the tackle down; and I just cut it back off. I hit the hole and saw the cut-back and hit it.

On being in the same company as Barry Sanders: I didn't know that. But, I have to give up props to my offensive line. They did a great job. And the receivers, they did a great job downfield. As an offense, we just have to keep moving forward from this game here.

On his offseason training: This year, I did a lot of sand work. I did a lot of full-body workouts. Step-ups, heavy step-ups. I did a lot of 200s, 300s. When I went back there, I told them I had to be back where I was in '06.

On whether he thinks he is better than Adrian Peterson: I don't think about that. I just try to go out there and play hard. AP is a great player. He runs very hard. I'm trying to go out there and just try to help my team get a [win].

On whether he believes this was his best NFL game: I don't know because in '06 I was rolling. I had 200 yards twice, in two games. It was great. The offensive line did a great job for me, and I'm proud of them. Coach Singletary, he really put pressure on them all week and they did it.

On whether the counter is the same play that he had success with when Norv Turner was offensive coordinator in 2006: Yes. That same. The same play from '06, the counter.

On whether he will be calling Jimmy Raye tonight: No, I'm going to call [running backs] coach [Tom] Rathman because I didn't talk to him after the game. So, I'll talk to him then.

On how big a challenge Minnesota will be: It's going to be a challenge. Like Coach Singletary says, we knocked around the game to beat the two teams that are supposed to be the best teams in our division. Now everybody is going to know we're for real. As long as we just come out, just do what we have to do and the offense, and long as we have no mental errors and don't give up the ball, we should be fine on offense. Defense, just play how they've been playing, just relentless. As a team, we should be good.


CENTER ERIC HEITMANN

On what was different on the offensive line this week compared to last week:
This week we held them at the line of scrimmage and [RB] Frank [Gore] could make the cutback. Last week those guys were penetrating so there was no cutback lane for Frank and today I think we did that up front. Frank made some amazing plays, some awesome runs, something you don't get to see too often in the NFL. We are extremely fortunate to have a guy like that in the backfield that can do that.

On whether they concentrated a little more on driving them back a little bit more than you did last week:Again, the biggest thing for us, with all the blitzes and the heavy eight man boxes that they brought last week, the linebackers were getting pressure into the backfield. We were on our down linemen and as we were blocking them, the linebackers were running through the gaps. We weren't coming as quick as we needed to. This week we were able to do that especially on that long run.

On what the play was on the 79-yard run: That was a power scheme play. We are all blocking gaps so if they are blitzing, we can play gap control blocking.


QUARTERBACK SHAUN HILL

On RB Frank Gore's 207-yard rushing performance:
It's awesome. Obviously, everybody took to heart what happened to us last week in the run game and wanted to see Frank do his thing and he did.

On whether it was nice to see one-play touchdown drives: Yeah. It's impressive. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that. Frank was running away from people. He's pretty impressive.

On when he knew Gore was going to score a touchdown: As soon as he passed the safety, both times. So, probably 15 yards downfield. That's a guess. Really, really good runs.

On whether there was any fear that he would be caught from behind: I don't think that at all.

On the difference in the offensive line play from this week to last week: Last week was a tough one for a lot of reasons, hostile environment, great front, loud noises, the snap count is a lot tougher on the road. This week we came out and we were on the count, take care of the guys up front, getting them on the second-level, receivers blocking downfield, turning those big gains into huge gains. There were nine guys blocking for him each and every play. Frank did his thing.

On how Seattle's front compares to Arizona's: Well, Seattle plays a different front, generally. Today, they gave us a bunch of a bear front. We made some great adjustments. We came over to the sidelines. We had great communication, be able to get on the same page and got Frank loose.

On how he evaluated his performance: It was good. There were a couple things there early, a couple of third-and-longs. I just didn't feel right trying to force something. A few of those sacks were on me, just trying manage the game and not force things. The offensive line did a great job.

On whether he plays better at Candlestick Park: I think our fans have a lot to do with that. Our fans and our players have the same mentality and the same hope, and that's that this is a tough place to play for the opposing team. I think it's showing, but we're starting to get that done. It's nice to play at the Stick and have our fans, their value to that, is a lot of fun.

On what it was like to see Gore break two long touchdown runs: Like I said, I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. He was moving. The offensive line was opening big holes and driving people back. It was fun to see from the back end, seeing the same thing Frank was seeing, and split them.

On whether head coach Mike Singletary is still stressing hard work: Yes, no question. Like I said before, this league is about constant improvement. It we go out next week and play like we have the first two weeks, it's not going to be good. We have to continue to improve every week. 2-0, that's the start that we're looking for, but by no means does that mean we're finished. We've got a long way to go and a good opponent coming up this week.

On whether throwing the short routes was a part of the game plan or something he was seeing in the defense: It depends on the play. Some of them were game plan things. Some of them were things I saw. But, those guys did a great job of catching the ball, getting down the field, making a guy miss, getting some YAC, some big third-down conversions and kept drives going.

On what makes Frank Gore and elite running back: There are a lot of things. Obviously, he's got good vision. He has great patience. His work ethic is unbelievable. He's so multifaceted, great in pass protections, great catching the ball and, obviously, a great runner. All of those things make him a very valuable running back.

On whether he sensed that Gore was frustrated after last week: Frank came to practice the same way he always does. I know he doesn't let that frustration carry over. He came to work, worked his tail off all week like he always does, but no, I didn't necessarily sense any frustration.

On being 2-0 in the division: Absolutely, it's huge to win those games against division opponents. No matter who you play, you're obviously looking for a win. It's even more important when you're playing teams in your division.


SAFETY MICHAEL LEWIS

On being 2-0:
It feels good, but like Coach Singletary said, we have a lot of work to do. He told us to enjoy this tonight, but tomorrow we go back to work.

On the play of the defense: We pride ourselves in playing great defense. That is what we try to do every weekend. Granted, other teams have good players on their side of the ball, but we feel we have a great defense and we can make plays. So we look at it as a challenge.

On the little things going right for the team: Things are going our way this year. Last year, we really weren't getting these things, but the hard work is really paying off for us. We are flying around and making plays, and things are coming to us.


FULLBACK MORAN NORRIS

On his assessment of this game and the way he was utilized:
It felt good to be involved in the offense but first of all the win and [RB] Frank Gore running over 100 yards and for me to be involved in it, besides blocking, it felt real good.

On the identity of this team unveiling itself: That's what we're trying to establish: a hard-nosed offense.

On being surprised on how much action he saw in today's game: I know that [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye calls the [plays] and I just try to go out there and execute. We had the plays in and he just dialed them up so it worked out for the best.

On his 15-yard run: It opened up in practice and I know I just had to be patient. I couldn't get excited. The linemen did an excellent job. Big Joe Staley pulled and I was right behind him. It worked out well.


LINEBACKER TAKEO SPIKES

On being 2-0:
It kind of validates what we have been through, all the work we put in, all the work until now. We still feel like we left stuff out there on the field. We always shoot for perfection. Yeah. We shoot for perfection.

On how well the team has played this season:Day after day, it just reinforces what we have been knowing all along. We may be new to America, but to us, we expect it.


OFFENSIVE TACKLE JOE STALEY

On how they were so successful compared to last week:
We just executed a lot better today. It came down to us as a whole, just getting the job done.

On the first touchdown play: The first play was a counter, the second one was just a zone read, where [RB] Frank [Gore] really set up the block off my butt.

On whether both touchdown plays broke off of the left side: I think the first one went up the middle and then the second one broke off my butt.

On which one of the runs he realized Frank is gone: Both of them after the first 10 yards. I looked up and saw him go by, I looked up and there was nobody in front. On the first one he had to make a cut on the safety and once he beat them, I knew he was gone.

On whether the Seahawks were over-pursuing: I think it had to do with our game plan, with what we were able to do and us executing that, staying on our blocks and them not finishing tackles. I think a little bit of it had to do with us being a little bitter about hearing how we couldn't run the ball last week and we wanted to do something about it this week.


LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

On whether he was surprised to see QB Matt Hasselbeck scramble given the injuries that he sustained in the past:
Not really, Hasselbeck is a good quarterback and he's been a good quarterback for a long time. He's all for helping his team and at the end of the day you're going to do what to can to help your team win and he took a chance. He laid it out there for his team.

On whether he knew that he injured Hasselbeck after contact: I didn't know at first. I just know that it wasn't an illegal hit. I didn't take my helmet and spear him right in his back, it was straight shoulder pad. So, I wasn't worried about it being an illegal hit or nothing like that. I knew that he was hurting a little bit as well. I don't know what his ordeal is now but I hope that he's okay.

On being a more physical team than the Seattle today: I feel like it but it's just something that [head] coach [Mike] Singletary talked about all offseason about the defense being relentless and being physical all across the board so that was the mentality we had coming into the game with.

On his perception of the defense finding its identity as the season progresses: I feel as such. For us, it's been something that we've been working on all offseason, and especially when coach Singletary took over, which was for us to create an identity of who we are. That's what we took into the end of the season last year and in off-season conditioning. That's what we took in to OTA's and in training camp and now it's time to let it all out and that's what we're trying to do.



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