They said it: 49ers after loss to Tennessee

What coach Mike Singletary and the 49ers were saying late Sunday afternoon after their 34-27 upset loss to the Tennessee Titans.

HEAD COACH MIKE SINGLETARY

Opening statement:
"Obviously, after the game there's not a whole lot to say about the game. It's very obvious as to what happened. I don't think our guys quit. I think the guys played hard. We didn't play very smart in terms of giving the football away. We have a formula in terms of how we play, how we win games. The number one thing is we cannot turn the ball over, and that's the thing that basically killed us today. I'm sure there are a lot of other things you could come up with as to why we lost. Bottom line is turnovers for us."

On what he told the team after the game: "Basically, we have to get out of this situation right now where we get a lead, we have to know that we're going to keep that lead, but we're not trying to maintain. We have to continue to gain. We have to finish games. It's as simple as that. When it came down to whatever else I was talking about, it comes down to finishing football games. And that is the thing that we're not doing. We're not finishing football games. If you go back to Minnesota, if you go back to Indianapolis, if you go back to the game today, take your pick, we're not finishing games. We have to finish games."

On whether the interceptions were QB Alex Smith's fault: "No. I wouldn't say that at all. I thought Alex was playing well today, for the most part. When you get turnovers, obviously you can't say that, but I thought he made some good decisions. We just have to look at the film and kind of come away from it as to where the fault is. It looked to me that he was getting the ball where it needed to go. Whether the receivers could catch the ball or not, I don't know. I don't know if there was contact at the time of the ball getting there, contact before the time of the ball getting there. I don't know. I have to look at the film and see."

On how big of a blow this is to where he wants the take the team:"Well you know, it's definitely frustrating to be at this point, but we do have eight games left. In my mind, as long as we continue to fight, as long as we continue to play the way we played today, we got a chance, if we take away the stupid stuff where we're killing ourselves. And that's really the bottom line."

On why he spread out the line and used two tight ends: "You're asking me why I did it? You've been asking me all week why I wouldn't I do it. Now you're asking me why did I do it. You know what? It's as simple as this: we thought it would give us the best chance to win. For the most part, it worked pretty well. Alex has been doing a much better job in practice getting the ball out, finding his receivers, giving us a chance to run the ball as well, open things up. It's a good game plan if we execute it. Obviously, if you turn the ball over three or four times a game, it's not going to happen. We have to eliminate that and, once again, the gun's still pointed at us. We have to make sure that we go out and we play a complete football game without killing ourselves in the process."

On whether Alex handled the ball properly given his history of fumbles:"You know what, what he did in the past, I'm going to leave it in the past, the whole lot about whatever he did in the past. All I know is what I saw today. I saw a quarterback throwing the ball pretty effectively, for the most part. As far as the fumbles are concerned, once again we have to look at it and we kind of go from there. But, to be honest with you, I have not… I'm a little bit surprised that he hasn't fumbled more. When you get a quarterback that's coming in new and not taken any of the snaps during the year, these are some of the things that you're going to have early on. I thought for the most part that Alex did a good job. I really did."

On whether it's desperation time for the 49ers: "Desperation is a word I won't use. Preparation is the word I want to use. We just have to prepare better. We have to prepare, we have to game-plan. Coaches are doing a great job of coming up with a game plan to give us a chance to go out and win. Players got to execute. It's as simple as that. That's the thing that we talk about all week. Players have to execute. Number one thing: can't give the ball away. Give them nothing cheap. We're just not there yet. We don't have much time to sit around and contemplate whether we want to do it or not, we have to continue going forward and get it on the run."

On whether he was happy with the defensive effort overall: "No. Anytime a team is going to take the ball down and score at a critical time, you're never happy. I mean if I said I was happy with that, then you need to replace me really quickly."

On what he thinks about being a couple of games behind the Cardinals: "I don't care about the Cardinals. I care nothing about the Cardinals. I care nothing about anything else that's happening in the NFL. I don't care about that. The only thing I care about is this football team realizing that we can win games if we do not kill ourselves. It's as simple as that. I don't care about the Cardinals. Done."

On his assessment of the offensive line play today: You know what, the past two weeks I think they played well. I really did."

On whether the team can still achieve its goals: "Absolutely. Absolutely."


CORNERBACK DRE BLY

On Titans QB Vince Young:
"Playing a scrambling quarterback, a guy who can run the ball and throw it, he is more of a threat and he played well today. We did have a chance to win the game, but we weren't able to pull away with it. It is frustrating, but like I said, we have to go back to the drawing board and regroup. We have a fast one next week and we just have to get ready for that game."

On the play of the defensive line: "When you are playing against a guy who is as athletic as he is, for the most part, without watching film, they got pressure. But he is going to make plays. I can't really criticize anybody because we were all playing hard and flying around and trying to make plays. It just didn't go in our favor when we needed keys stops."

On Tennessee's explosive plays: "We know [RB Chris] Johnson, he has been a threat all year. He has been doing it ever since he has been in the league. He is probably one of the fastest backs, if not the fastest in the league. The one thing he has done well, he can run inside and outside. We knew we had to close creases fast because he has the ability to take it the distance. Luckily, that big one was called back, but he is a fast guy and he can do a lot of great things when he has the football. He really made some plays today. We were really flying around defensively and were trying to make plays, but I have to tip my hat to those guys, they made more plays than we did which led to a victory for them."


WIDE RECEIVER MICHAEL CRABTREE

On his assessment of the 49ers offense:
"I'm just doing my job. I'm just doing what I can control and what this team gives me."

On what he thought of the team's offensive performance: "I think that we played alright but there's always room to get better."

On playing his first game at Candlestick Park: "I love the fans. They gave me a lot of support and they gave the team a lot of support. Candlestick has so much history and I'm just happy to be out here."

On throwing some hard blocks on Tennessee's DBs: "Yeah, I was just out there playing football doing all the things that I acquired [over the years]."

On what he feels the offense needs to work on for the rest of the season: "We need to work on a lot of things. I'm not a coach so I can't really point it out. I'm a role player; I do my job and whatever coach has for me."

On the turnovers in today's game against Tennessee: "There are turnovers in every football game, that's part of football. So we just have to suck it up and go back to the woodwork, work on some things at practice, and come back ready for the next game."


TIGHT END VERNON DAVIS

On how he feels about the team right now:
"I feel good about the team. We have a lot of time, this isn't the end of the world. We just have to keep getting better in practice and learn how to finish games."

On what the team needs to do different to finish games strong: "It all starts in practice. You practice how you play. Just get it corrected and don't look back. We need to keep our head straight and keep moving."

On the turnovers: "We just have to pay attention to everything around us. We have to do what we were taught to do, which is protect the ball and make plays. Sometimes as a player you forget the little things, and we just have to do those little things."


RUNNING BACK FRANK GORE

On what happened to his right eye during the game:
"Somebody poked me in the eye under the pile."

On whether his eye injury affected his vision during the game: "I was alright. But I wanted to win. I'll do anything to win. I told my boys that I'm going to stay out there and fight with them and that's what I did."

On what he can do as a team leader to help this team get ready for the next game: "We just have to stop killing ourselves. The teams aren't beating us we're just beating ourselves. Once we take care of that, then we will move forward."

On what he thought of the game plan today and how it opened up for him: "Yes, it was. We were moving the ball up and down the field. We just can't hurt ourselves. Anybody can hurt themselves in the NFL with turnovers and it's tough to win and that's what happened today. We had a great game plan and we showed that we can move the ball. We just hurt ourselves."

On whether there is a sense of desperation on the team after losing four straight games: "A lot of our guys in our locker room know that we can play. We know what we can do on the field. It just comes down to two or three plays that really hurt us. The need for two to three plays is real big and it cost us the game. That's what's been happening the last couple of weeks and we've got to fix it. We have to fix it if we want to go forward and win."


LINEBACKER PARYS HARALSON

On whether the team can still accomplish its goals:
"We don't have any quit in us. We are just going to pull it together and get ready for Thursday. We aren't giving up on anything. We still feel that we can get accomplished what we want accomplished. That's what we are shooting for."

On whether it is good to play again so soon: "You always want to play again. Once this game is over, you hate that it happened, but now we have a game coming up and you have to prepare for this one. You have to have a short-term memory when you're in this business. We have to put this one behind us and prepare for Thursday."

On how close he was to stopping Titans RB Chris Johnson on fourth-and-goal: "I really won't know until I see it on film. I thought he was closer to the sideline than apparently he was and I left my feet too early. It is a play I have to make."


CENTER ERIC HEITMANN

On the turnovers:
"Of course I didn't get a really good look at it. What can you say except that it's unfortunate. You've definitely got to do everything you can to minimize turnovers in a game. Certainly, we had four. Certainly, four is too many. Everybody on offense plays a role. We've got to look at the film and do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen again."


WIDE RECEIVER JOSH MORGAN

On whether the team can still accomplish what it wants to accomplish:
"We can accomplish anything we want. Like we say every week, we just have to finish."

On losing the game on late turnovers: "I think it is demoralizing with every loss you have. It's already hard enough to win without turnovers at the end of the game, the turnovers just make it harder on yourself. That is something we just have to correct as a team. It's not anybody's fault. The defense gets paid too, they make plays and they just had a good day."

On being 3-5 midway through the season: "We just have to win all our games now. That doesn't put a crimp in anything. We're still out here playing football."


QUARTERBACK ALEX SMITH

On how much responsibility he feels for the turnovers:
"I'm the guy back there making the decisions, and when you look at all four of them, the three picks and the one fumble when I was going to throw, it's tough to overcome that. No matter the game, or who you're playing or the opponent, it's tough to overcome."

On whether there were a couple of tough bounces: "It kind of comes with the job. It does. When you evaluate the film or tomorrow when I go and evaluate my play, really look at what can you control, did you make the right decision, could you have thrown a better ball – things like that are really what you look at. The fumble, when I was throwing, I still haven't seen the replay of that. I kind of want to see what that looks like on film, if I could have done anything different."

On what was the most challenging aspect of the game: "They give a lot of different looks on defense. They play a lot of different coverages. It's not like you're going out there and seeing three defenses. You're going to see an assortment of pressures and coverages and all kinds of stuff, things that are very unorthodox, things that not a lot of other teams do. Very unique. That was probably the biggest thing."

On the two interceptions to WR Josh Morgan: "The one over to the left, the safety rolled down and jumped the ball and made a play there. I'll look at that on film as well, if maybe I could have done something different – maybe a throw away there just to keep the ball. The second one was a comeback. It was the first play of the drive – try to get us going. It was a bang-bang play and somehow that ball gets popped up and gets taken back."

On whether this was a step back for him: "The biggest thing is we can win those games. I think the biggest thing, like I said, when we come in tomorrow and look at the film, really evaluate my play. Really look at that. What could I have done differently? It's hard to tell just walking off the field and just reviewing it in my mind. You only see parts of what's going on out there. I think, obviously, there are some things I'd like to have over. That comes with any game, but I don't know at this point. It's probably too early to tell if I think it's a regression or not."

On how important his film study will be during this short week: "I don't know if that's necessarily me, I guess. I think that's maybe more of some things, what are we doing as a whole? Coming around, turning around and playing on Thursday, there's probably not going to be a lot of time for that, not a ton of time to game plan. We're just going to roll it out there and play a little bit. Obviously, we'll have some new stuff in, and they will too. On such short notice, there won't be a lot of that."

On whether the short week is an advantage: "It'll be nice in the sense that you won't have a lot of time to dwell on it. You have to turn around and go tomorrow. Tomorrow will be Chicago film, and we'll be going."

On whether he likes the two-tight end, single-back formation: "I think the mix helps, especially in the first half when we're mixing it up, and they're in the third quarter mixing it up and it's still a game. They're in the fourth quarter at the end and you're really in two-minute mode, make-a-play mode. Before that, when the game's even and you're really giving multiple things for the defense to think about. I think it's nice, especially with some of the runs we had out of the gun, I think looked good today. I think those are all things that can help us."

On how he would assess the state of the team after a 3-1 start followed by four straight losses: "Anytime you lose four games in a row, that's tough. These guys put in so much work. We put in so much time. Especially to have a couple of close ones, last week to have a close one, to come in at half time and be up and be unable to finish games in the second half is hard but part of the deal. It's a long season. We have got to keep working, keep going. You can't feel sorry for yourself. You've got to learn from it. You can't dwell on it and get better. This is a long season. You've got to keep working. You definitely can't get down about it."

On whether the team can still accomplish what it wants to accomplish being two games back of the Cardinals: "I think so. I think the biggest thing is we just need to focus on us, focus on Chicago. That's it. Not worry about the Arizona Cardinals or what they're doing or the rest of the division or anything else like that. We have a single focus, and that's get a win. Get a win on Thursday. Study this a little bit tomorrow and go over it and then on to Chicago. Then, that's it. There's no time to dwell on anything."

On WR Jason Hill: "It was nice to have him out there. He and I got a lot of work together the first six weeks of the season, working out there on scout team together. I've got a lot of trust in Jason, and it showed up out there today. He's just one of those guys who just continues to keep working and working hard and waiting for his chance. I thought he did a nice job today."

On the touchdown to Hill in the back of the end zone: "We were in the two-minute mode and down in the red zone. The call we were in, we were in the two-by-two and called a play, and I scrambled out to the right and he made a great play of first, sucking the DB up and then turning and running deep and made a nice play on the ball. That stuff's all important, scramble rules. Those things all can make the difference in a game."

On why the team has struggled recently: "You could probably point to a lot of things. For whatever reason though, you've got to get over that hump. That's something that we need to do."


LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

On how the defense played today:
"It is hard for me because I know coming into this year we wanted the defense to be the forefront of this team. We told ourselves that despite what happens on the offensive side, we have to show up every game. They're making steps, and there is no reason for us to make it even harder for them when they are already trying so hard. We have to do better in our defense getting off the field and doing things necessary to give them more opportunities."

On the big plays by Titans RB Chris Johnson: "You can't take anything from the guy. The kid is fast and he can run. There were a couple of times in there, actually I don't know. I don't want to say anything until I watch film as to the reason why he got loose. I just know that he can run. If you give him what he is looking for, which is the edge, he can turn and run like there is no tomorrow."

On the mindset of the team:"We are still going to stay positive and we are still going to be for each other. Nobody is going to point their finger at one side of the ball, not at special teams, not at coaches. We are just going to continue to work, continue to fight as a team. We still have a lot of football left. It's not over until we play our last game. We are still playing to go to the playoffs. We just have to turn it around before it is too late instead of putting it in other people's hands. There is still a lot of football left. We know that November and December is when you make that push. Unfortunately today we didn't get it done, but we have a short week coming back on Thursday to play a good football team as well. It is a test for us to see how we respond."



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