Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


Transcripts: What Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, others said after 49ers-Colts

Oct 24, 2021 at 11:08 PM--


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and others spoke with reporters after Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan


Opening comments:

"Injuries from the game, [S Jaquiski] Tartt had a knee, didn't return. [CB Emmanuel] Moseley had a back, did come back in. [DL] Dee Ford at the end was taken out to be evaluated for a head injury, don't have that yet."

What do you tell your team after this and just how do you assess where this team is right now after the game?

"It's pretty down in there right now. Losing four games in a row, it's been a month. That's tough. It was tough, really the last two weeks, losing three in a row. We just added another to it. Doesn't make it any easier. I told the guys they got to be tough-minded, they got to stick together. We got guys with high character in there. I think we've got good enough football players. We have to handle whatever we're going to get and come back and play better next week versus Chicago."

You told the team to be tough-minded and stick together. Do you think they've done that up to this point?

"Yeah, I think they've definitely done that. I've never felt anything close to our team breaking."

What has been going on this season with the defensive pass interference penalties and why hasn't that been rectified after all this?

"We're not doing good enough. It's been a struggle all year. Today was the worst. It's always harder getting your footing out there and stuff, but it is for them also. Until the end, until they started making some of those, we gave them way too many explosive freebies, especially the two touchdown drives in the first half.

What went on with the challenge when it seemed pretty clear you couldn't really get anything from it?

"Yeah, that was a mess-up by us. I didn't see it at all. I'm looking down, looking at the stuff. We knew there was a fumble. Everybody was yelling out there was a fumble and stuff, and to throw it. It was very weird, but the headsets completely went out. That's why if you see me sitting talking to the guys. I was like I threw it because we thought it was a fumble, but I can't get ahold of anybody. They were going to give it back to me, they said it was all right, and let me take it back, but the NFL called and said I had to stick with it. Once we talked to them, we knew we were kind of screwed on it."

What were the elements like today? How did that affect quarterback play with QB Jimmy Garoppolo?

"I think we struggled to throw and catch a lot more than they did, that's what it looked like."

The second quarter, you guys got off to a fast start offensively in the second quarter, what adjustments or changes did you make?

"Nothing. Nothing changed fronts or coverage-wise the entire game. I think we came out hot the first quarter. We avoided all those third downs on the first drive, from what I remember. Had the run game going and a few things off of it. Got the explosives. For about two quarters after that, it felt like it was always three-and-out. We couldn't make the big play whether it was on a pass or a run. When we couldn't make the big play, it means you got to do well on third down and I think you guys saw how that went."

You probably don't want to make roster declarations now, but four straight losses, do you have to look at some personnel changes?

"I think we have changed personnel a lot each week in these four games. I'm not going to make some drastic right now. I'll go evaluate the tape, hopefully we'll get a couple more guys back this week, but we'll look at what gives us the best chance and we'll evaluate those guys through the week and go off of that."

Will you start with Jimmy Garoppolo as your starting quarterback next week against the Bears?

"I would guess so. I'm going to watch this tape and see if guys are healthy first of all, I don't even know where our guys are at. It was good for Jimmy to be able to get healthy enough to play in this game today."

I know you've acknowledged the pass defense issues, what can you do next? Can you make some personnel changes? Change the scheme? How can you try to fix those pass interferences?

"You got the guys that you have in your building. Every time a guy messes up, you can change and give someone else a shot, but we work pretty hard at that and so do our guys throughout the week to try to get the best guys out there. Obviously today it did not improve. It's going to be real tough to get guys off the field with those P.I.s. Stuff isn't going to get better if we can't fix it."

Jimmy had a couple of nice throws on the first drive when he rolled to his opposite side and then he the one strong drive in the fourth quarter where you had three passes and then you get a touchdown. Other than those two good drives, what went on in between?

"We didn't get a big play in those others. Had a couple opportunities for them, didn't get them. In the first drive we hit all of them. On the last drive we hit all of them. Both of them I believe we avoided third down on all of them, got a bunch of explosives and it seemed pretty easy. It is tough to get explosives every drive. We had a few opportunities big time for it. I think one we had an illegal guy downfield, one we had a holding, I think we had [WR Brandon] Aiyuk alone across the field, it got tipped with the holding before he could let it go. You come up short on those explosives. When you don't get those explosives, you either have to move the chains running ball or you have to be able to do something on third down and we didn't do anything on third down today."

Like any coach on a four-game losing streak, you are getting some scrutiny here, do you think you deserve it?

"You lose four games in a row, I'm the head coach of this team, I expect it and I deserve it."

Have you felt like you've gotten in a play calling rhythm for a whole game this season? Do you feel like that's working out?

"No, I don't think I've got in a great rhythm. I think we've done it on a couple drives, but we have not sustained that. No, I have not felt comfortable with it."

What did the Colts do in the second half that made it difficult for you to run the ball the rest of the way?

"They were playing eight-man fronts all the way until we scored on that drive with those three passes in a row. They were doing eight-man fronts the whole game until those last two series. When you do that, you got to cut somebody out of a gap. I don't think we did a great job of doing that. We couldn't get through that front eight."

You said Friday that the conditions, who they were going to favor. They outscored you 30-9 after things got really bad out there. Why do you think it was they were able to function so much better in that?

"I don't know. They did better in the rain. There's not one answer for that. They got 53 guys, we got 53 guys. They obviously handled the conditions better."

RB Elijah Mitchell got off to such a good start on the first drive, it just didn't seem like he got the ball repeatedly. Do you wish he got the ball more as the game went on? Were there certainly plays where you said, 'I should have ran him instead,'?

"When you go three-and-out as many times as we did, there's going to be a lot of things you wish you did more. But I don't think we got those drives. I felt like we played in the first quarter and I felt like we played in the fourth quarter and everything in between seemed like we couldn't make a big play on first or second down, which does happen, but you have to move the chains on third downs so you get another set of calls, and we didn't do that."

How do you think Jimmy played and do you think he was hindered at all by the calf injury?

"Didn't look like it to me. You can ask him on that. I didn't see that. I think the whole offense and the whole team didn't play good enough."

How do you feel Jimmy Garoppolo's decision making was today?

"I didn't think there was a ton of bad decisions. Just missed some throws. Obviously, the ball got away from him a few times."

Why do you think there is such a gap between the first explosive drive you had and the last one where it was three plays and everything seemed seamless?

"We went three-and-out. We didn't stay on the field. You got to get a first down to stay on the field. We got a number of explosives early in the first drive, but we went three-and-out, I think felt like five times in a row or something like that. When that happens, you're not going to see anything. You're going to see three plays and no first down."

Going back to the P.I.s, does it make it even worse that those aren't young guys, those aren't rookies, who are committing them? These are veteran players who should be able to have that part of the game down.

"Yeah, rookie, veteran, whoever, especially when you have them on some third-and-longs, we can't give them the freebies. We got to make them earn it, and we didn't always do that."

Is it more execution, lack of discipline, or things that aren't working with the offense?

"It's a lack of discipline when you get a couple penalties. We can do better at that. There's times I don't think we throw and catch very well. Then you got to make some big plays, which we had a chance at the run game early on, but we didn't get that going for three quarters after that. It's a combination of everything."

You mentioned you would guess Jimmy Garoppolo would start next week. What is your process going to be over the next few days when you try to make that determination?

"I got a whole team to worry about. Not just thinking about what the quarterback situation is right now. I'm going to evaluate everything, see where our team's at, see what gives us the best chance to beat Chicago, and see what our options are. That's what you go into each week, finding out your options. We had two quarterbacks who were hurting this week. Jimmy was able to come back and play. We'll see if [QB] Trey [Lance] can next week, we're still not sure yet, but I got a lot of things to figure out."

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo


You got off to a good start, going 2-0 and now losing four straight. How frustrated are you guys at this point?

"It's tough, very tough. Especially how the losses have come. Got off to a good start tonight. We didn't sustain it throughout the whole game. Ready to get on the right track this week with Chicago."

What changed the second quarter? Why were they able to have success slowing you guys down?

"I'm not too sure exactly. I got to go back and look at the film. I think the weather played a little bit of a role, started to pick up there a little bit. But we just didn't execute. I think it was too many mistakes stacked on top of each other. One guy would make a mistake here, one there. You can't do that and win football games consistently. I think we've just got to get back to the drawing board. We can't make this many mistakes back to back like that."

How did the elements affect you out there? Holding on the to the ball, etc.?

"It was my first time wearing gloves. It actually worked out really well. I thought I could spin it pretty well still in it. Like I said, in the beginning it was a lot less than it was later on in the game. As it started to pick up more and more, it became difficult at times with the footing and everything. But we've played in stuff like this before so it wasn't anything crazy."

In the fourth quarter out of nowhere, after a lot of three-and-outs, you had three big passes in a row. What clicked all of a sudden?

"I wouldn't say anything clicked. We went out there and executed. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] had a great route on the first one, the longer one down the right sideline, to get open. Ran a great route, got himself open. Then the one to [TE] Charlie [Woerner], that really wasn't even how the play was drawn up. They kind of dropped him in coverage, hit him. And then, Deebo made a play at the end there, kind of an off-schedule play. Kind of like I was saying before, it's us executing. We've got to go out there, execute, making the plays when we get the opportunities. If we do that, we can get on the right track. It's going to take a lot of effort and a lot of hard work at this point."

On the second interception, seemed like the ball may have slipped out of your hand a little bit.

"The one at the end?"

Yes.

"Yeah."

Seemed like you were standing there dazed for a second. What was going through your mind?

"Yeah, that one I didn't get on top of it, didn't finish the throw so it sailed. I don't know, just the whole night. It's tough playing in that weather to begin with, just the mental toughness you have to have. But then when things are going wrong like that, it makes for a tough night. It was very frustrating, but we're going to stick together. We've got a team that, we do have play-makers. We've got players, got good coaches. We've got to stick together at this point."

How did the calf feel during the game and how did you come out of this one?

"It held up, I'll say. Definitely felt it at times. But it sort of is what it is. All the guys out there, we're all playing with something right now. It's that point of the season."

Is this something you feel you're going to have to manage for a while longer?

"I don't know. We'll see. I feel it, but it's not hindering me at all I'd say."

You have a lot of guys that have been in the system for a little while now. Can you pinpoint why there are so many mistakes being made?

"I don't know. I don't have one specific thing. I think whatever play is called, we just have to go out there and execute it. It's just about putting in more time, more effort, staying longer, putting in more hours, things like that. It's the little things at this point. The NFL is a crazy thing. One week you're on top, one week you're at the bottom of it. Every team has their ups and downs. We're at the lower end of the point right now. But we can fight back."

Any fun trash talking between you and Indianapolis Colts DT DeForest during the game?

"No. DeFo was pretty locked in that whole game. We were, too. Nothing out of the ordinary, I would say."

How did OL Jaylon Moore do today?

"He did good today, he did. Held his own being his first start and everything. I thought he came with the right mindset pregame. You could tell he was locked in and ready to roll. I thought he played really well. There were some highlights in this game. Elijah had a hundred, Deebo played good I thought. There are some positives to take out this, but we have to get back to the drawing board and get back to work."

Everybody is going to look at the quarterback in a four-game losing streak. I know you played only in three of them, but how do you deal with that?

"I mean, we're a tight team right now I think. It starts with me, no doubt about it. We've got a good group of guys. Like I said, we've got to go back to work now."

49ers DL Nick Bosa


LB Fred Warner mentioned easy walk in touchdowns. Is there a common thread to those? Is it being too aggressive at the goal line? What's happening with some of those?

"I couldn't tell you on that. Just assignments and being ready for what they're going to throw at us. But, yeah, I need to watch the film before."

How did you feel the mood and the energy was before the game?

"Good. We go into every game with a good mentality. Yeah, it was good."

Do you feel that your mood stays consistent even though it's frustrating to go against when you have those multiple demands of passing passenger, parents penalties?

"They hurt, but we're always confident in our guys. And Fred does a great job of resetting our minds and getting us ready to go."

Field conditions like today, how do they affect a pass rush?

"It wasn't too bad footing. Obviously the style of game changes and, it turns into a running game when guys can't throw and catch. It just turns into more of a running game, less opportunities for the pass rush."

49ers RB Elijah Mitchell


Why was it so hard to keep the offense rolling in the second quarter?

"We always talk about doing better longer, so that played a big role in it. But we just try to run the ball like we supposed to. Just try to stay away from third downs."

What was working for you in the first quarter when you were able to get so many big explosive plays?

"Like I say, the o-line, the o-line was on was working. My fullback Juice [FB Kyle Juszczyk], the receivers, they were working their butts off, so we had it rolling."

How did OL Jaylon Moore play? I know you'll have to watch the tape, but what was your sense of him? His first start at left tackle?

"Jaylon Moore did a good job. [T] Trent [Williams] was out, so he stepped up big time for us. So proud of him for that."

What's the mood like in the locker room right now?

"We just lost, so the mood really, everybody's just down. It's always tough. When you lose like that."

What was Jimmy like in the huddle as the game progressed and you were having kind of ups and downs?

"Jimmy, he always making sure we keeping our heads up, just being a leader. So that's always been Jimmy."

The conditions, obviously got worse and worse, what was the hardest part for you playing in that?

"Really, you got to just protect the ball and that's one thing that we always express. So that's the only thing."

49ers CB Josh Norman


The first half you guys were able to get good reads, especially on some of their out routes and had some near interceptions. Then the second half it seemed like they changed up the way they attacked you guys. What happened in that second half that allowed them to get those deep balls thrown?

"They had a good balance of run and pass and had a couple of actions in there. Like I said, we just have to be better at executing our assignments that's being asked of us. I know I have to do a better job at certain plays that I noticed coming. We have to be there for them. I think in secondary as a whole, understanding what is asked of us, coaches put [us] in positions, we just have to make plays. That's what it comes down to. But the beauty of it, we have the guys in the room to do it and if not, we wouldn't be here. So that's a good thing knowing that that's the silver lining you take from it because looking outside, nobody's coming to help us. It's all about us and what we do. Drive the bus from the back. So we just have to be better and we will. We have the coaching staff to do it, definitely got players. So I'm just waiting on that break."

Do you feel like there is any over eagerness to try and make a play on the ball?

"Oh yeah, of course, and that's when you get out of position. Stuff like that happens. I had it happen to me today and I feel so bad about it because I let my teammates down in certain situations that you just have to let the game come to you. Don't go after it because it tells the tale. And sometimes you may get it where other times it's going to bite you. So we just have to be better in certain situations. And like I said, we will. We carried a mountain on our back and understand what comes with that. You just have to go out there and make more plays than they do."

When you say, 'When the ball's in the air, it's not even 50/50 anymore,' are you saying that you guys are at a disadvantage already? That the call's not going to go your way?

"Like I said, it's a passing league. So everybody wants to see points. I think we are kind of at a disadvantage from that now. But at the same time, whether it goes our way or not, we still have to execute. Those guys get paid just like we do. We still have to be in position to go out there and fight against the opposition. And like I said, it starts in practice and we're going to rep it. You know, now it's starting to be a problem. Don't let it be a problem until it becomes a problem, as coach would say. We see it now and sometimes teams are just going to heave it up. And if they do, we have to take the mindset as that's my ball. That's what I'm going towards this week. That's my ball. The other one gets thrown up, that's just how I see it. We just have to be in position and be better. And we will. And like I said, we have the guys in the room."

49ers WR Deebo Samuel


Can you put your finger on anything in particular that changed from the first quarter where you guys were moving the ball well, to the second where more challenging?

"Nothing really changed. We just have to come out there as a group, as a whole, and complete our assignments individually and all the things will start to fall into place."

So, it is still just the little things and little mistakes?

"Definitely still the little things that we have to lock in on all week and just allow it to carry over on Sundays."

How slippery was the football in the rain?

"I think we did a good job of keeping the ball as dry as possible but as a wide out, it is pretty hard to catch a wet ball. We had rain gloves, as a whole, which did make it easier, but not as easy as normally catching the ball. We just had to lock in and go out there and make plays."

What was the condition of the field?

"The field was great. I didn't have to wear the big spikes underneath the cleats, so they did a good job of that."

49ers LB Fred Warner


You guys were getting turnovers easy early in the game. Did it feel like you guys had that momentum that you were seeking going into this game.

"Yeah, I thought we did a great job attacking it. Josh Norman has been doing a heck of a job just, punching at it. I mean, that dude is one of the best at doing it. I'm trying to punch at it. We had a lot of interception opportunities. We got to just continue to certainly search for it. Get it back to our offense."

There isn't one thing obviously, I know you didn't expect to be two and four this season can you explain what's going on?

"You can go about it a whole bunch of different ways the bottom line is, we're not playing good enough. I know that sounds like a broad answer, but I can go down the line and it's every single person, me included. I look at myself and see there are things I got do better. That's how everybody's got to look at it. If you thought you were doing a lot and that you were working hard and doing a lot this past week, that wasn't enough. There has to be even more now. Everybody's got to come together, players, coaches, and everybody. We are going to figure this thing out. We don't have a choice. That's just how this league works and you got to come back to work and do better."

How can you guys fix the defensive pass interference problems?

"I don't know if there's a clear cut answer for that. Obviously we just got to rep it more in practice. Yeah, just get more reps at it so we're more comfortable doing it in a game. But yeah, that's obviously an area we got to be better at because I think that is where [Colts QB] Carson [Wentz] was getting most of his yards from, which was from defensive pass interference. We just all got to be better."

As a leader of this team. What is your message in the locker room? How do you get them to, as you say, 'get it together', going forward?

"I had a message for the guys. I'll leave it in there. It is just everybody's got to do better. We got to work harder. That's it."

Colts Head Coach Frank Reich


Opening comments:

"Alright just one injury with Indianapolis Colts [CB] BoPete Keyes with the hamstring. Great team win. Great team win in all three phases. Great defensive effort causing the four turnovers. Did a great job the whole game. Just felt the confidence from the guys really throughout. Even the times when we had struggles. When you play good teams, it's not always going to go smooth on every series. But even when we had struggles in any phase, I still felt the confidence in guys making plays at key times. Obviously, offensively Indianapolis Colts [WR Michael] Pittman [Jr.] had an unbelievable game. I think we ran the ball fairly well, and then Indianapolis Colts [QB] Carson [Wentz] made some plays down the field. Obviously, we had the big one to Pittman, and then I think we had three offensive P.I.s, right, on deep balls. Those don't count as yards, but those are hidden yards. We talk about that a lot. So that's the advantage, when you get with a quarterback who trusts his receivers. We pushed the ball down the field even in this rain and we made big plays that way. So offensively, I was really happy with how we played there. We don't want to have any turnovers ever, so we'll clean that up and get that taken care of. And then special teams, just the operation, the specialists especially, all three of those guys did an excellent job in these pretty difficult weather conditions."

You talked a couple weeks ago about how you wanted to have another receiver in down the field matchups. How has Pittman filled that role through these first seven games?

"Yeah, he's a big-play guy. He just has a mentality. We talk about it a lot, this mentality he has, the toughness, the play making, how hard he works, how hard he competes. You want to throw him the ball. Carson has developed a ton of confidence in him. You saw that last week just throwing it up to him. I mean, just throwing it up to him."

In that situation, we saw it Monday night against the Ravens, if the ball is up in the air, one-on-one, Michael has that belief that he's going to be able to go up and either out leaped a guy or take the ball away from him?

"Yeah, well there is no doubt. For me, I felt like something about learning a lesson from the Ravens game. We had a third-and-eight and I called a run, and I'm like, 'I'm not doing that again.' I told the guys. I'm not doing that again. I'm calling the pass."

You thought that?

"No, I literally said that."

So that's something you knew we were going to ask you?

"Yeah, I said, I'm calling the pass, I don't care what anybody says. Really comes to trusting your quarterback and trusting your receivers. So, I didn't envision that play being made like that, honestly. I thought it was going to be we were kind of running a little trick play. Not trick play, but a little double move play. They were playing zone and they didn't jump on it like we thought, and Carson just threw it up and gave him a chance and Pitt made an unbelievable play."

How were the conditions?

"They were pretty bad. It wasn't as windy as I thought it was going to be, but the rain, there were times when each quarterback had a fumbled snap. I was trying to keep us in gun as much as we could because, believe it or not, you're probably better off in gun in these conditions just from taking snaps under center. But Carson did a job with it and the skill guys did a good job with it, but it was difficult conditions."

When did you see Pittman and Carson really start to get comfortable with each other? I know they got together in the summer, but they're starting to really get in sync.

"There is no doubt, there is no doubt. I can tell when we're in quarterback meetings the things -- the confidence he has in the whole receiver group. He's got confidence in that whole receiver group, but there is a special chemistry he's developed with Pitt. And Pitt has proven it and he's making big time plays, so we just got to keep riding that horse. He's playing great right now."

How do you think RB Jonathan Taylor played with the conditions?

"I thought he did great. Obviously the one fumble early, but just continues to run hard, make big plays, was excellent again tonight."

He has the ability to setup these moments.

"Yeah."

How rare is that? He waits for the defender to commit at time and that sort of big.

"Yeah, there is a couple times where it looks like we hand it off and it looks like -- ball comes kicking out the other side. So just a credit to how hard he works, vision, trusting the combination blocks that we have, and he's doing a great job."

What was the interpretation on the call on the touchback rather than a safety on the muffed kick?

"Yeah, they called it right. That was the right call. It was not so much mucked as it was -- and I may not be getting this right, so don't quote me exactly -- but when he kicked –

You're in a press conference.

"Yeah. You got me on that one two years ago, too. True. Stupid by me. But when you kick -- if it was accidental kick, apparently, it's different than if it's a muff. If I'm getting it right. I checked with our guys up top. That was the right call."

I know you like to spread the ball around, but when you look at the receiving core without Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton or Indianapolis Colts WR Paris Campbell, do you get a sense that Michael wanted the ball even more than he normally does?

"What I love about Pitt is he's so stinking competitive. He's got such a beast mentality. That he can dominate versus anybody, but he's a great team player. There was one time after a game where we didn't throw it to him very much and I said something to him the next day, 'Hey, man, don't worry. We're going to get you the ball more.' His response was just like vintage team player. Coach, I just want to help this team. We got a good room. I'm going to work hard so that you guys want to throw it to me. That's kind of the player he is. He deserves a lot of credit."

How key was it for Indianapolis Colts CB Xavier Rhodes to be able to play today?

"Yeah, really gave Xavier -- I'm glad you asked that, because Xavier, didn't look like he was going to play. I don't know how he fought through it. He was limping around out there pretty bad. I'm not even sure how he was playing, and then he comes up with a big interception at the end. So real credit to him for his toughness and hanging in in a tough moment."

Colts QB Carson Wentz


Talk about the conditions. What was it like out there?

"Yeah, it was wet. Very wet. It was obviously a challenge. Something we talked about all week, ball security was at premium today. Unfortunately, put it on the ground a couple times. Both teams did. Definitely not ideal circumstances and playing conditions, but we had fun with it. We made plays, defense made plays, and found a way to win."

You weren't scared to throw it. I mean, they were for a while up. Is that because of Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. and his ability to sort of get the ball?

"Yeah, I mean, we came out told coach [Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich], 'Hey, shot's there, we're going to throw it.' We got the guys, we got the playmakers, specifically Pittman. Even if it's under thrown or whatever, I just got to give him a chance. He made a couple big plays and had the PI on the other one. We said let's still be aggressive and not let the weather completely change who we are. Be smart. Pick and choose our opportunities, but I really appreciate coach still trusting us to call those plays and create some big plays."

Does he surprise you?

"Not anymore. Not anymore. I've seen it enough in practice. I know what he brings to the table, and so that's the reason I'm so confident in letting it fly. Sure, a couple of those runs thrown were not great balls, but when you got a guy like that you just got to give him a chance. He came up big tonight."

How long did it take to get that comfort level with Michael?

"Yeah, I mean, I saw it even this spring and summer when I first got to work out with him, but obviously there is no defense, no nothing, but I got to see his ability and his ball skills, and then training camp came and he did it again. Saw our defense and things over and over. Obviously, I wasn't out there but I was seeing him work every single day. Every week I think he gets more confident in my ability to get it to him and vice versa. When he keeps stepping up and making plays like that, especially in these conditions, I'm saying, 'Hey, I trust my guy to go up and make a play in these conditions more than their guy.'"

Carson, I know you're not like scoreboard watching but are you generally aware of the AFC is kind of like, a disaster?

"Kind of. Kind of. Kind of. Really singularly focused each week too at the same time. I don't watch a lot of football outside of film and all that stuff when I'm home. Yeah, we know it's wide open and there is a lot of who is beating who every single week. So, we got to be ready. This was a huge one for us. Hopefully propel us into a big one next week."

Then on the play you had on the first-and-12 interception and it was called a fumble. Just slip and you saw--?

"Yeah, that, one hurt because I thought we had six points, and the next thing you know slipped out of my hand right into I believe [San Francisco 49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair] 51's hands. That one was tough. Down there in the red zone ball security is a huge premium. That was a big swing, but we were able to recover from that and get it done."

Did you just shovel it or throw it?

"Shovel it, yeah. Shovel into [Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal] ZP. Thought we were going to have a cool one there, but guy got to it first."

How smart is Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor?

"Yeah, I mean, he's awesome. I can't say enough good things about JT. Obviously the fumble tonight, but it is what it is. We trust him. I told him right after that, 'Hey, you're still the best guy on this field. You're going to get the ball over and over and create big plays.' Yeah, he's super smart both in the passing game and the run game, protections, and really same thing is said for [Indianapolis Colts RB] Nyheim [Hines], for [Indianapolis Colts RB] Marlon [Mack]. I mean, they're all just patient. They're a different dynamic back there the way they hit the holes and the approach, but they're all really smart in their own way, and JT just is patient and then, boom, he's going to burst through that hole when it's there. It's fun to see."

He's made headlines in recent weeks, but then tonight was a different kind of game, right? You got to grind it out. He's a versatile player that can do both. Is that special?

"Yeah, I mean, it's huge. I think he's as dynamic of an all-around back as it comes. You've seen him take screens, you've seen him cut shallow routes and crossing routes and do it all, and then run between tackles, break long ones. I mean, he does any given play handed to him I'm like, shoot, this thing could go the distance. It's fun. It's fun to turn around and give it to a guy like that."

The rain at the end, what was it like running off the field through the tunnel?

"It's cool. It's a good feeling, especially the way the conditions were. Just kind of felt like backyard football a little bit again. Getting the big one on Sunday night, national TV, definitely cool running off that field."

Tonight you guys were aggressive. Do you feel like a difference in terms of I'm putting it my guy's hand?

"Yeah, I love that Frank was aggressive and trusted us with that. That's the first thing I went and told him. I said, 'I appreciate you trusting us,' and me appreciating just trusting Pitt and his ability to go up and get that. I thought that was cool to see coach trust us with that play and for Pitt to go up and make that play and really seal the deal. That was huge for us."

Colts DT DeForest Buckner


How does it feel now, coming off this field that meant so much to you for so many years, to get a win on the other side?

"Yeah, I mean, this win meant a lot. I know the guys didn't want to talk about it a whole lot throughout the week. We showed up. Guys had my back and everybody showed up for prime time and we got this win. It was definitely personal for me, you know? I wasn't trying to get too high or too low throughout the week, but it meant a lot."

You walked off to a sea of your new fans. Was that surreal? What was that like in your old home knowing that they came around for you tonight?

"Yeah, that meant a lot. Coming back, I still got a lot of faithful fans from when I was here and I also got a lot of great fans now in Indy. To see a bunch of Indy fans out here in The Bay was awesome too, you know? It was just a big moment. Life went full circle, I like to say. This will be a great plane ride back, for sure."

When it is raining like it was, as a defense, do you know that it is only a matter of time until you get some turnovers?

"Definitely. Obviously, they ran the ball really well and we had to make some adjustments. With the rainy conditions and everything, we just had to keep getting at it and hammering at the rock and we knew that the ball was going to come out quick when [QB] Jimmy's [Garoppolo] out there. He did get the ball out quick but guys were doing well at getting pressure in his face and forcing some throws, and guys came up big with some picks. [Indianapolis Colts LB] Darius [Leonard] punching the ball out and getting the forced fumble and little things like that. [Indianapolis Colts DE Al-Quadin] Muhammad getting the sack fumble, we did a great job of getting the ball back to our offense and giving them opportunities."

Colts LB Darius Leonard


Only one touchdown tonight?

"Yeah, I know. That was heartbreaking. I just knew that I was going to come in and get about two or three punch outs, but they did a great job, especially in the first quarter about misdirection runs and putting us in bad positions to make plays. So, they did a great job there, and I was glad they kind of went away from that."

On the offensive side of the ball, as a guy who was here last year, you watched Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. and Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor. When you see Pitt make the plays he's making, what's it like from your perspective?

"Man, it's amazing. Amazing seeing them guys, especially, seeing the steps that they took from year one to year two, and being some impact players on offense, and Pitt did a great job tonight getting all the DPI's and the late touchdown to seal the ball game there. So, it's great to see them guys as mature, and be leaders and take over the offense."

We saw him in Baltimore go up and get the ball, and then a big display tonight and essentially sealed the game. I know you get into it on a defensive side, but when you're watching him go over and essentially Moss somebody like that, what's it like looking from the sidelines?

"It's a beautiful sight to see. Every time the offense is out there, I'm not even watching though, because I know that we're always one play away from a big play, and having Pitt out there going over top of guys and Mossin' guys. He does it in practice. That's one thing that, we see it. So, we know he's got the ability to do it and now he's doing it on game day. Hopefully, he can get some kind of respect in this league and hopefully, he can keep continuing making plays."

Are you seeing confidence out there? What's it like? In training camp you guys always seem to be going back and forth, you see him out there when he makes a play, you have no problem talking to somebody, do you just sense that air of confidence?

"Yeah, man. Pitt's got a mentality that he wants to be a bully, and that's what you need in the receiver. I think that falls back down to [Indianapolis Colts WR] Zach Pascal, because Zach Pascal's got a dog mentality that he can't be stopped, or if he got up and somebody was running the rock, he's going to finish a block. So, that's what I think ZP brought into the room and now that Pitt can make all of them plays, now that he's got that mentality to say, 'okay, there's no guy that can stop me,' that if you want to get in front of him and put you on your butt, that's great to kind of see them guys wanting to do that."

Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.


So what is going through your mind when the balls are in the air?

"I have got to catch them. [Colts QB] Carson [Wentz] can really throw it out there, so I just got to make sure that I'm the one that comes down with it."

It looked like you found another level of intensity tonight. Has it always been the case for you that you have been able to find that upper level of intensity?

"Absolutely, I think you look back to my college days, I was pretty much wide, I think that's why they drafted me here. Last year we couldn't really get it going for whatever reason, but we brought in Carson and Carson just loves to throw it deep. I love it too."

How much do you guys work on those high point balls when you go up and get it? Is this something that just comes natural and did it take time for you and Carson to develop?

"It definitely takes time. You definitely just got to work on it. It's something that I work on every single day, and it paid off today."

Where are you and Carson after seven weeks developmental wise?

"I think we were on the right path. As a team we just keep building and building and I think that we're getting better. Every week."

With Colts WR T.Y. Hilton and Colts WR Parris Campbell out did you feel like your role would change today?

"No. I mean, I don't think that my role changes based on those guys. I mean, I think that I just play like my role, and it is whatever my role happens to be in that game. We like to spread out the ball and tonight it just happened to come to me."

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor


What was going through your mind after the fumble the first offensive snap of the game and you haven't had any of those?

"That's the thing, first snap we knew we were going to have adversity and you don't know what way or shape or form it's going to come in, or if it's going to be you facing the adversity specifically or not. I know we all carry everything as a team, but then it just falls on you. How can I handle this adversity? Because my team is going to look at me and say, 'Is this guy going to show now? Is he in his own head or is he going to be able to bounce back and be able to continue to play the rest, basically the whole game?' I mean, it was the first snap. So that was just my mindset on, making sure that I'm not in some kind of trance and that I can still focus for my team."

How do you learn to kind of balance when to be patient and when to be determined and hit the hole? You're letting some blocks set up, you're letting the defender maybe tell you which way to go, how do you balance that?

"Definitely down and distance is number one. Especially if it's third and one, fourth and one, you have to go get it. You just have to stick your nose in there. But it's dependent on the kind of scheme you have. If you have to let that block develop, or if the backers are running, just sell a little more, press it a little more to the front side and then be able to take it backside. Besides down and distance, you really have to fill out and dictate the game. You know, how the backers are playing and how the front four are playing as well."

This was a big one for Indianapolis Colts DT DeForest Buckner, being the last one off the field with him, what did you tell him?

"I said, 'I knew this was personal for you and I'm glad that we were able to pull it out even in these conditions". And he said, 'Listen, JT, as long as we got the win. As long as we got the win. And I'm so happy to just be here with you guys.' I wasn't really expecting to be the last one on the field with Buckner. But you kind of get those little special moments and you come away and remember them."

You've had a lot of big plays in recent games, frankly, plenty. But this seems like a different kind of game where the yards are harder to come by through tougher runs. Being able to do both of those, how important is that with being a complete back?

"Like you said, it's being a complete back. I mean, every running back wants to have those big explosive plays. Especially in a game like this, you kind of have to make sure your feet are underneath you. You're playing on turf. You may be able to make a cut slightly outside your frame, but a game like this, you have to make sure everything is underneath you. You have to stay patient running between the tackles. If you get that opportunity to get one of those big plays then take it. But you definitely have to make sure your fundamentals are sound on a game like this."





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