QB MATT HASSELBECK
(On what he saw on he first play… ) I had a pass I was trying to get to John Carlson. I had Deion Branch running a post; to clear it out, and I think it was Nate Clements who just disregarded the post and jumped the route and made an interception. He made a good play. A risky play in my opinion but he made a good play. We were able to come back and sort of capitalize on that a little bit because they were going to squat on our routes and they wanted to gamble like that. I give credit to Jeremy Bates and everybody for seeing it and making the adjustments and helping us be successful once we got the ball back in the second quarter.
(On whether that was something the 49ers did last season…) It’s probably an educated guess on his part, and he’s a smart player and a talented player and in the past there they’ve had guys like Walt Harris and Dre Bly and those guys can be a quarterback’s nightmare, because you can’t trust them, you can’t trust the corner. I would put Nate Clements in that category. He’s a really good player, and a really smart player and they can make you look bad with educated guesses, I guess I would say.
(On getting the first win…) It feels great. The first quarter it felt bizarre. Terrible performance by the offense to start it. Our crowd and our defense kept us in it. Our special teams gave us a little bit of a burst, and how we finished off feels really good. From the Four Minute drive at the end when we just ran the ball pretty much every play, to coming out with touchdowns in the red zone; that’s something we struggled with last year. They were kicking field goals and we were scoring touchdowns, and that was a big factor.
(On whether the Deon Butler score was an example of their cornerback’s strategy coming back to bite them….) Yes, I think so.
(On his touchdown run…) We were trying to get a throw to the fullback or the tight end coming to the other side, and it’s been a long time since I’ve run one in. Deon Butler was teasing me about it this week, he said you could probably run that in, and I said nah, I don’t think so. He said, nah, I think you can get there. Maybe it was the confidence he showed in me, maybe that helped me decide to do what I did.
(On what was different about the red zone performance today…) I don’t know. Probably just good chemistry between myself and the wide receivers and those guys making plays on double moves. The one that got us down to the one yard line was Mike Williams on a little out and up; the guy jumped it and the one to Deon Butler; same thing: kind of an in and up, the guy jumped it. Basically, that’s it. They want to go for the big play, then if we’re willing to take the double move and call it, then we’ll make the big play.
(On what changed on the offense after the first three drives…) I don’t think anything really changed. We set out what we were going to do; we came in and we talked in the second quarter, we said look, we don’t need to do anything new or crazy, we just have to get on track. The first play was not a good way to start, but I don’t know for sure what I would do different there. What we talked about at halftime was to stick with our plan; we have a good plan and we’re going to stick with it. We’re not going to reinvent anything, we don’t need to, we’re just going to stick with what we talked about all week. The coaches certainly had confidence in the plan; the players did too and we stuck with it and it worked.
(On how much the offense keyed off the defense…) It was huge. We got the reversal when they called it a touchdown, so it was 3 points. Then our crowd and our defense kept us in it, and it was 6-nothing. A 6-nothing game is just a one touchdown deal, and we got the touch; so now it’s 7-6 and we’re winning and we come in at halftime 14-6, and that’s big. That’s huge. They had to be scratching their head in their locker room; like ‘how are we losing this game, we really shouldn’t be losing this game.’ Again, the difference was just touchdowns vs. field goals.
(On the offensive line…) They did a great job, all things considered. I think they were awesome. Better than probably anybody gave them a chance to do.
(On Pete Carroll…) It was interesting. He was into it. We know how he is. Probably the only thing that surprised me was late in the game, Charlie and I were sitting there talking, and he was trying to get the crowd into it more, then he came over to us and asked us to help get the crowd into it more. It was great. He’s very excited. It starts with our coaching staff; all of them. They set the tempo in practice in terms of the energy and the enthusiasm; and you can just feel that. From player to player you feel it, and we’re just trying to get everybody in”
(On giving Coach Carroll a ball…) Hopefully it’s the first of many for him. It’s got that cool NFL Kickoff Weekend logo on it. Maybe he’ll save it.
RB JUSTIN FORSETT
(On this being a big game and how the team responded) “I think we responded well. We started off slow but I don’t think it’s how you start, it’s how you finish. Guys rallied around. The defense kept us going, kept us in the game and we were able to get things going. It was just a good opportunity for us to go out there in a division game and get a ‘W.’”
(On the running game not quite working at the beginning) “Well we just all had to get on the same page. We just had to make sure we were making the right reads and right cuts and make sure we were sustaining the blocks up front and just executing. When you’re not executing and you’re having three- and-outs and you’re not getting many plays – I think we had like six plays the first quarter – that just comes down to not executing.”
(On if it was hard for the offensive line to get on the same page after shuffling around this past week) “I think at the beginning, we were struggling a bit with the run and just executing like I said, but once we got going, going into the second half we started to get some holes and then we started to get some seams. As the game progressed, we started to get better in the run and I like the direction we’re going in.”
(On if he wants what started to happen in the second half to carry over into next week) “We have to have that happen. We’ve just got to continue to improve each week and each quarter and next half. We got to keep going and getting better. So hopefully we’ll be able to sharpen up on some things, look at film, sharpen up on things that we messed up on and carry those into next week.”
WR DEON BUTLER
(On if they were surprised by the outcome of the game) “Not everybody really knows what’s going on here on the outside of the building. Everybody that’s inside the building, we know exactly what we have going and that didn’t surprise us today. Everyone outside, they’re just worried about, ‘Oh my gosh, they cut this guy, moving this guy, who’s going to play here?’ You know, everyone that’s been here practicing knows exactly what we got going and so, like I said, it didn’t surprise us today.”
(On his touchdown reception) “It was just something that we saw on film basically that they squat a lot on our short routes and they showed it early that they were squatting on our short routes – like our bang, bang play or something, five yard hitches. So it was one of those things that we called a double move, kind of just five yards, took three steps in like a slant, [the defender] jumped it and Matt (Hasselbeck) threw it perfectly to the back of the endzone.”
(On it being his first touchdown reception) “Yeah, first regular season touchdown so it definitely felt great. It’s even better that it comes in a win because I didn’t want to keep the ball and have to put the score on the ball and it be terrible so I was just happy we won.”
WR DEION BRANCH
(On the resiliency of the team) “The [difference] was the defense. You saw what happened. They were bending, [the 49ers] were trying to bend them, bend them, they did it, [the defense] didn’t break. The defense held up until we got our stuff together on offense. I think on one of the fourth down conversions [that the defense held them], that’s when the tides changed for us. We took the ball, got it down there and scored and the rest is history. We didn’t look back from there.”
(On if he’s proud of his teammates) “Proud, man. I’m proud of the defense, proud of all the guys. The young receivers, all the guys did a great job. The quarterback made it look easy. He even ran a touchdown. How crazy. But, yeah, it was good though.”
(On if it ever felt the momentum switched back to the 49ers at all) “Once we got it – that’s the biggest thing. Once you get the momentum, you’ve got to keep it. That’s one thing I think we did. You’ll see a lot of times in the NFL, basketball, whatever, the momentum switches so much. But the thing was this defense did a great job of carrying us. They kept us in the game and we just capitalized on every opportunity that we got.”
WR MIKE WILLIAMS
(On if he thought his reception to the one foot line was a touchdown) “Well the quarterbacks coach, Coach Fisch, came in here after the game and was like, ‘I owe you one. We should have challenged that. It looked like a touchdown from upstairs.’ But it doesn’t matter. We still got in. I think it’s probably more exciting that I got to watch Matt Hasselbeck run in a touchdown than catching one. It’s a great team win. A lot of people counted us out. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance, much less a chance to have a win. But we’ve been saying all along, people don’t know what we’re doing here. People don’t know what we put in during the week, how we prepare and how much it means to us. So we’re just going to take this game and move on.”
(On the shuffling of the roster not looking like it affected the play today) “Everyone wants to focus on the moves but they don’t want to focus on why the moves are made and more importantly, who the guys are that we’re bringing in here. Even from across the board, offense, defense, guys like Stacy Andrews, who’s played in this league, and Michael Robinson who’s a tough guy, a core guy. We have a coach that when people become a part of this team, we know that the coaches pick them because they’re going to fit what we want to do. I think that’s what people don’t take into consideration that we’re bringing in people that fit what we want to do, that fit our culture, that fit the direction we’re going. If the roster changes next week, those new guys are going to get here, they’re going to tap in, they’re going to buy in and we’re going to rally around them and teach them the ways of how we do things and try to keep this thing going.”
(On if Pete Carroll is different as a pro coach than a college coach) “Not at all. Same attention to detail. The same ‘Compete, compete, compete.’ I think he’s still trying to find a way to have fun with it. He understands the guys on our team and being around high-profile guys in college, he knows how to manage ‘Egos.’ We’ve got a good group of guys. We’ve got a group of guys across the board, players like coaches, coaches like players and we do this for each other. This is a start and we’ll get back to work this week and get ready for Denver.”
LB LOFA TATUPU
(On matching up inside) “Yeah, well I mean the thing is though, with the scheme we’re running now, we might be out-gapped sometimes, out-manned sometimes. We got some guys up front, CC (Colin Cole), Red (Bryant), a lot of times they are two-gapping. So you know the credit goes to them when they’re shutting people down at a seven-man front. We’re better on the pass, there are a couple holes sometimes that Alex (Smith) had found, and I thought I had the opportunity to step up and play well in that, but other times, Red (Bryant) and CC (Colin Cole) two-gapping a lot of those plays and just shutting things down.”
(On the physical aspect of the game today) “I think we’ve always (been physical)…I don’t ever want to say a team just was more physical than us. Frank (Gore), he found some holes in some cases, he found the crease and he’s a great athlete. He’s made us miss on some tackles. I think that’s what we shored up. Maybe one guy would miss, but the next two weren’t going to miss.”
(On matching up inside) “We’re trying to match up with them inside and we just have to be a little more disciplined in coverage and we have to get everybody.”
(On the fourth and short stop) “Fourth and short, you want them coming up that middle.”
(On the 49ers going after Kelly Jennings) “I have no problem with any of these guys going after somebody one-on-one. But it was a tough situation, and Kelly (Jennings) came up and shut it down. Had he broke that tackle we had two or three coming, I was coming and somebody else.”
(On Pete Carroll’s energy level) “I got to say maybe his energy was even a little above mine. And I was pretty excited. Pete (Carroll) wants to get out there and hit.”
CB KELLY JENNINGS
(On the fourth down stop by the Seahawks defense) “I never thought it would come back to bite them. We just know fourth down, third and one, whatever it is, you’re going to have to hold them. Offense – early, some things weren’t going their way so we know as a defense we got to step up and make plays regardless of what situation we’re put in so we attack every down, every play the same way.”
(On if the low expectations set by people outside the org. motivated the players) “You see a lot of stuff with the changes and all that which is what they were saying, but we know as a team, regardless of who is here, we’ve got to try to gel. That’s something on that Monday when we came in, guys – whoever we didn’t know, whatever – we got together. Some DB’s, we got together and went out to eat on Friday night because we knew we had to come together as a team. I knew all the cards would be against us but we knew as a team that we’d have to believe and have to go out and make the plays and win the game.”
(On forcing turnovers on defense) “Our goal since training camp started, even when OTAs started, was ‘Get the ball back.’ Our offensive philosophy is ‘Protect the ball’ and our whole thing is ‘Get the ball back.’ As a defense, we set goals to try to get two or three a game and that’s what we try to do every day.”
S LAWYER MILLOY
(On the win and moving forward) “All the way that Coach has been preaching that it’s one game at a time, one practice at a time. You’re happy right now but we have enough leaders like myself, Matt (Hasselbeck), to be an extension of Coach to go ahead and get these guys focused. Because nobody else cares. We put it out there so nobody is going to oversee what we’ve been doing. It’s up to us to get out there and not disappoint them by giving it our best shot.”
(On if he’s proud of his teammates) “I’m proud of our guys. [I’m] proud of the D-line. The D-line made it really easy for us DBs to sit back in coverage, knowing they have one of the best tight ends in the league, really helped double out on him. They were up there stopping the run. It was a total defensive effort.”
S JORDAN BABINEAUX
(On the resiliency of this team) “As you saw in the first half, defensively, we were out there fighting. [The 49ers] had some success. They moved the ball a little bit, converted some downs. When they got to our end of the field, we really stepped up. Those were huge fourth down conversions that we were able to get off the field and then we came back and we pressured the quarterback really well up front, forced Alex Smith to throw some turnovers. We capitalized on the back end. That was the difference. That was the big momentum swing for us.”
(On if this translates into the rest of the season) “It’s definitely a step in the right direction. Defensively, I think we did an outstanding job on Frank Gore, we did a great job on the run. We took a step in the right direction. We’re going to go back, we’ll watch the film, make the necessary corrections that we need and get ready for the next one.”
CB MARCUS TRUFANT
(On the defense holding the 49ers while the offense finds it’s rhythm) “Oh yeah, it’s a team game. So we have to feed off each other. If somebody is having a down time we just have to bounce right back. That’s how it’s going to be sometimes just like you said, but at the end of the day you just have to keep fighting, and keep playing.”
(On his interception for a touchdown) “Yeah, plays are going to come to you when you’re flying around. Everybody’s having a good time, I give a shout out to the D-line, those guys are making it happen up there, shutting down the run. When you try to make a team one-dimensional, it makes it hard for them to get things rolling.”
(On the defensive effort) “Oh yeah, we just came to play today. And we we’re really just going to try and use this as momentum and I just try to keep rolling and have fun with it. It was a fun day today and when it’s like that it’s going to be a good day for us.”
S EARL THOMAS
(On the game) “I’m just going out there and trying to play balls out and just throw my body in the way and just try and make plays for the defense.”
(On the defensive effort today) “We stopped the running game and we made some crucial stops on fourth and one. That was a big booster for the whole team. And once we took that running game away we got pressured with our D-line and that made it very easy for us as defensive backs.”