Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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

Nov 7, 2021 at 7:24 PM--

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

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

"All I got for you now is [T Mike] McGlinchey went out with a knee, did not return. Go ahead."

Do you know how serious that is?

"I don't."

What does a game like this tell you about your team?

"That we didn't play very well today at all. I was real disappointed. I thought we'd play really well. Had a good week of practice. I thought we'd even improve from the week prior, but obviously it didn't go that way."

Can you put your finger on why you guys played so poorly today?

"Yeah, when you can't stop the run, I think it seemed like they were in second and less than five after every first down. You give up all those free yards, big explosives on screens. I don't think they punted until the third quarter. Then on offense you have to come out and you have to make those plays to start. I thought that we had a chance to keep up with them at the beginning. First drive with the drop. Then the fumble and then the fumble again inside the 10 (yard-line), then it was catch-up ball from there on out."

What explanation did you get from CB Josh Norman for the penalty? And what was your view of that?

"I didn't have much of a view on it. Josh told me that some of their coaches were talking to him, so he was talking back. Then he told me he got headbutted by one of their offensive linemen. And then he said he got the taunting penalty."

He didn't play after that. Was that your decision to pull him?

"I wanted him to get out right there. I wanted him to cool down a little bit. Then in the third quarter, we just kept [CB] Dre [Kirkpatrick] in, which wasn't my decision, but I was okay with it."

When it comes to your defense, why did they look so undisciplined today? Whether it was missed tackles, missed assignments or the penalties?

"We've got to find out. It was extremely disappointing. I don't think we tackled very well. I didn't think we had 11 guys swarming to the ball enough. I think we made it pretty easy on those guys."

Did you ever give them a piece of your mind during games or do you just leave that to defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans?

"I talk to the coaches throughout the game, but no, I don't bring the defense together on the sidelines and give some big speech. I don't do that for the offense either."

Do you think it's possible that it was the letdown when you knew that Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray wasn't going to play, defensively, or on the coaching staff or anything that things changed because of that?

"I would hope not. That's something that I aggressively talked about last night. For those guys to let down on it, I think it came down to, you guys saw how we tackled out there. We didn't stop the run and we didn't stop those screens. When you're giving up some explosive screens and all of that free yardage, it wouldn't have mattered who was playing quarterback. We made it extremely easy on them."

Does DeMeco Ryans still have your support of the defensive coordinator?

"Yes, of course."

Why should fans be optimistic about the direction of this franchise heading? Five losses in your last six games. 11 losses in your last 12 home games.

"I mean to make a big statement like that on the whole direction of the franchise after that game, to me that's unnecessary. We didn't play a very good day game today. We got to play a lot better. I know our fans are disappointed. I'm disappointed too. But we have to make sure we do better next week."

You guys are 1-8 at home in the last two years. Can you put your finger on if there's something happening at home? Is there something you need to do differently?

"At home, you don't have to worry about the noise as much. That's the only difference. So, I don't think we played great football at home or on the road recently. But it's happened that we've lost more at home. For me to think that's anything in particular, I don't. We got to play a lot better on the road and at home to become a better football team."

You scored a touchdown to make it 31-13. If you get two there, you'd make it a two-score game. You went for one. Did you think about two there? Did it not come up?

"No. We talked about it at the beginning of the drive, I think there was eight and a half minutes left in the third quarter when we started it. We were down 24, so you talk about at the beginning of the drive. 'Hey, if we score, are we going to go for two here.' We thought it was too early to start playing that game. We thought there would be more possessions. I think we scored somewhere in the fives on the clock. We just stuck with what we talked about at the beginning of the drive."

You've talked about needing to execute better and it seemed like it was an issue that could be corrected, but clearly this is a pattern now, how do you snap out of that pattern? Not executing.

"You have to practice, you have to get better, you have to work. Some of these guys we got back are in their first week, we got to get them more involved and get some more work. I thought we did come out firing at the beginning, offensively. Then they got two turnovers on us, knocking those balls out, which I think took away points. We have to make that play, obviously, that [TE] George [Kittle] had down the seam to keep us, I think, that was our opening drive. Once we got behind, defense, we have to clean all that up. I was very disappointed in that whole game and there's not one place I can start with that."

How was the mood of the team before the game and then again at halftime, did you feel like they were ready?

"That's why I'm extremely disappointed. I'm obviously wrong, but I was very surprised that we didn't play well today. I thought that we had a great week of practice. I thought our guys were on it in the meetings all week and I felt their energy before the game. I was very caught off by how we played."

Even if Josh was responding to the Cardinals, how disappointing is that, especially for a veteran? Because that was obviously a costly penalty.

"Yeah, it's very disappointing. I don't care what happens whether the refs are right or wrong, you can't give them the chance to be wrong. So, it doesn't matter to me whether you deserved it or you didn't, it's that you got it, and it's very easy to avoid those. You, get the hell away."

What was the plan for RB Jeff Wilson Jr.? Was that just an emergency?

"No, we were worried that [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] might not be able to get through it all. So, we wanted to make sure that he was good to go if Elijah didn't. Elijah was able to handle it throughout the whole game. We didn't run the ball that much either, which probably helped Elijah stay in it. But that was it. We put [RB JaMycal] Hasty in on pass downs."

You obviously, had to throw once the game got a little hand of hand, but you started the game pretty pass heavy was that in any way a function of Elijah's injury?

"No, that was a function of they played six defensive linemen in the game, every single play, which means you only have five guys left who aren't D-linemen, which is a premier look to throw, which we were going to keep doing it. That's why you guys saw it seemed like that first half, it was explosives, or a drop or fumbles. We were going to keep doing that to make them pay for doing it and got some yards with it, but no points. So, we obviously didn't make them pay."

There was a play in the first half where Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz had an incompletion over the middle. It looked like, he might've caught it and turned off field before the ball got knocked out. It was ruled incomplete. Did you think about challenging that?

"No, I didn't see it, but no, no one mentioned it to me."

What did you think of Kittle in his first time back out there in five weeks?

"It was good to have him back. I thought he started off the game pretty rusty, but he was able to come back and make some plays later that helped."

Is OL Tom Compton over OL Jaylon Moore just because Moore's been playing on the left?


Is that something you'll consider? Moving Jaylon over if this is a long-term thing or Mike?

"Yes, it's something we will consider."

What was your message to the team after the game?

"Just how disappointed I was. Obviously, we got to play a lot better. I talked to the defense a lot about some of the things that you guys saw out there. Offensively, I thought we had our opportunity. We just had to play and make those plays like we did last week. I thought it was there for us, especially in the first half and we didn't get it done and it got us in the hole and we weren't able to overcome it."

What did you thing about Jimmy Garoppolo's play today?

"I thought Jimmy was alright. I thought that pick at the end, those last couple of plays were some bad plays right there on that last drive when the game was out of hand. But Jimmy was alright."

Did you consider putting QB Trey Lance in at that point?

"At which point?"

At the end of the game, when it felt like it was out of hand, those last seconds?

"Those last three plays? No, I wasn't going to put him in for those last three plays."

Would you consider starting Trey next week against the Rams?

"Probably not, but I'm definitely not thinking of those things right now. I'm thinking about this game and the rest of our team."

It looked like you guys had a chance to take the momentum with the DL Arik Armstead sack that was reversed by a penalty. What did you see on that play? What were you telling the officials right afterwards?

"I saw it like the ref who saw it originally who didn't call it a personal foul. He said he got corrected by another guy who thought he had a better angle and he thought he hit his helmet. I thought he hit his neck. That was a tough one."

Have you ever heard that where the taunting gets exercised first and then they do the one on the coach? Have you heard that before?

"No, I think I was like you guys. I don't think any of us had any clue what was going on at the moment and we can't hear it when they talk on the speaker. And then they come to tell me after the play has already happened, usually at the end of the series. By that time the damage had been done. I'm sure they got the rules right, but we just wait to hear."

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the week of practice felt good and you guys had a lot of energy. You weren't really expecting this to be a letdown game?

"I mean, slow start, I think put us behind the eight ball from the get-go. I think when you're playing like that, it's always tough. And but yeah, that's where it starts. And just throughout the game, there's just a little mess ups here and there that turnovers killed us. Just little things like that."

Slow starts have been a pattern for you guys. Why do you think that is?

"I don't know. I don't have an exact answer for you on that one. It could be a number of reasons. Defense has given us a different look than we kind of plan for, us just not executing plays, whatever it is. I think they've all been kind of different in their own way."

Did you think the energy was good before the game?

"Yeah. The energy was, you could feel guys. Guys were excited in a good way, but I don't know. Something about playing home. We've got to figure it out and get it right because these fans deserve it."

You are 1-8 over the past two seasons here at home. Is there anything that you can figure out what's going on there?

"I don't know. Yeah. I don't know. It's a tough one. We've talked about it. We've addressed it, but we've just got fixed something. It's hard. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what that is, whether it's focus at home. I don't know. Our crowd deserves it though because they're out there screaming, yelling. They get loud for us, the faithful. And so we've got played better for them."

A lot of expectations this season and 3-5. What happens now? Team meetings? I mean, everybody looks at themselves? What happens next?

"I think get ready for this Monday Night game here. We've got to come in tomorrow with the right mindset guys. Guys have to get their bodies right. Get healthy. Everyone's kind of dealing with something at this point, but it's just about going out there and executing. So you don't want to over-complicate things when something like this happens. You want to just get back to it and get back to the grind right now."

It's impossible to measure this, but with the Cardinals playing without so many of the best players. Do you think it was any sort of an exhale just on your guys part?

"I know what you're saying. Not really because we had talked about it all week, just what to expect. What could be, what couldn't be. And I know exactly what you're saying. I don't think it was that though, honestly. Maybe it was, but the energy before the game, the feel of guys, it was all good, but I don't know. I don't know exactly what it was."

How did TE George Kittle's return change the dynamic? Could you see how frustrated he was with that fumble?

"Yeah. George made some good plays for us today. Run game, pass game, he brought that energy like he always does. Yeah, like you said, I mean, I had a turnover too. We all make mistakes. We have to correct them and minimize those mistakes or else it's not going to be good for us."

Kyle said they were playing a lot of six defensive linemen. Was that something that you were anticipating or not anticipating as much?

"I think we're anticipating it. We had a pretty good idea that they could do that. They kind of did to us last time we played them. So we had a plan for it, but we just got, I don't know exactly what it is. We've just got to execute."

As you guys have gone through these struggles and who on the offense is vocal and steps up as a leader?

"I think it's a group of us. I think, obviously, I do what I can on the sideline. Just, it was really about, we went through the lull in the beginning and it was about having guys stay in the game. There was a lot of football left. We were down whatever, 17 early. And we were only in the second quarter, I think, and it was just guys had the right mindset and we started to scratch back into it, but it didn't last. And then we had a couple three and outs, things like that. And it's just it's tough when you get behind like that early. I think we got a good group of leaders on offense that handle that."

What's the emotional swing like on the sideline after you come out at halftime, try to regroup. And then see them score a touchdown in three plays?

"It's tough. That's why we as an offense, we've got to help the defense out early on to not let them be in that situation. I think that's where it starts and we'll always take responsibility as I'm sure they will too. We're all in this thing together right now and we've got to figure it out.

After the roughing the passer, was that your calf or your ankle?

"Just lower leg. Just wasn't feeling great. Yeah. I'll be fine."

WR Brandon Aiyuk was a lot more involved today. He's reportedly had much better practices. Was he where he was supposed to be and just playing better today?

"Yeah, he's always where he needs to be, but he made some plays today. The plays didn't really work out exactly how we planned. So there was a couple of broken plays and B was, he was moving, getting to the right spot. I mean, his touchdown grab, that was a hell of a hell of a catch he had. So you know, I love where he's at right now. I love where he's going. He's a young guy who, he's on the upswing right now. And so you got to keep going with that and he'll keep making plays and I'll keep getting them the ball."

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

How deflating is this loss?

"Very. Anytime you take a loss, especially with where we're at, it didn't feel too good. 24 hours."

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said he was surprised given the week of practice, do you think you had a good week of practice and how surprised were you with the performance?

"Yeah, we had a great of practice. We felt it. We feel the energy coming out, earlier today, we felt it pretty much the whole entire week. But we started off turning the ball over so it kind of goes that way."

What was the locker room like afterwards?

"Pretty much the same way that it has been the other five times. We just know, like I said, 24 hours. And we'll come in tomorrow. We have a little extra time this week, playing on Monday, so we'll get our bodies right. Step away for an extra day and come in ready to play on Monday night."

49ers DL Arik Armstead

Did you have a chance to look at the replay of that sack that resulted in a penalty? How do you think it unfolded?

"I don't feel like it should have been a penalty. It is unfortunate. I feel like that was a big moment in the game that shifted their momentum. The next play, they got a big play on the one-yard line and that was third down, where we would have been off the field. That was definitely frustrating. That was twice against the same team. I feel like I made a similar play last time that we played them that should have been a safety. It is what it is, I can't control the calls."

How would you describe the defensive performance today?

"Our defense is based on not giving up explosives so we didn't do our job. They got to many explosives and explosives leads to points. We didn't make them earn it. We didn't make them drive the ball and have to earn points. They got big chunk plays which lead to scores and that is not what our defense is about. If we don't eliminate explosives we are not going to be successful. I would sum it up as not good."

Can you put your finger on what happened on those explosives?

"I am playing so I haven't watched the film yet. I really couldn't tell you right now. I know that we are going to watch the film and try to get them corrected."

Did you guys take the foot off the gas emotionally when you found out Cardinals QB Kyler Murray wasn't playing?

"No. Not at all. That is something that we talked about before. We knew all week that might be a possibility and we can't take our foot off of anything. We are 3-4 at the time so we are trying to win every game that we can."

49ers DL Nick Bosa

You played pretty well defensively against Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray in Arizona a couple weeks ago. Then he doesn't play this game and it doesn't work out so well. What happened there?

"Didn't make enough plays. Didn't get turnovers, turn the ball over and it's a good team. So whenever you do that, it's going to be really hard to get back into it."

Why was their run game so effective? It seemed like Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner had a lot of opportunities.

"Yeah. It's definitely something we've get to work on. We know they're going to screen us. And yeah, I definitely don't have an explanation for you right now."

What were your impressions of QB Colton McCoy and did he prove a little bit slippery or that you expected?

"I think I think he's a veteran and he knows where to go with the ball. He's not going to give you too many opportunities, but I think we did shoot ourselves in the foot a lot. We've got to stop the run if we want to get after anybody."

49ers TE George Kittle

Not the outcome we wanted, but did it feel good to be out there? How did your body hold up?

"Yeah, playing football's fun. Losing is not fun, but it was good."

Kyle said his message after the game was one of disappointment. Is it something that's permeated through the locker room and how did you help counteract that?

"We're definitely disappointed. It's tough when turn the ball over twice early on when you're moving the ball after explosive plays. So that kind of just kills the team. It doesn't help our defense out at all. I think we started with a couple of three and outs to start it off. That's tough for them. As an offense we have to execute better, we have to take care of the football. And then that's all it is. And to combat disappointment, you get another opportunity next week and I'm excited about that. This one's going to suck for about 24 hours. You got to move on from it, it's a long season. We still got nine games left, so if you just dwell on this one for the next week, it's just going to put us in a bigger hole. So, take this loss and just have to move on to the next one.

How do you rally everybody? And then how you can bounce back next week?

"It's adversity. Yeah, it sucks. Definitely does, at the end of the day, you're playing football. It's your dream job and if you're not inspired to come back next week and work twice as hard and fix the little stuff and watch the film tough, whenever we do watch it, get better from it, then you're playing the wrong sport, you're in the wrong profession. So, I hope our guys are inspired to play because I don't want to lose every single game. That's not fun. So, we just got to come back, work together, not point fingers and just take this loss as a team. It was a team loss. So, if guys aren't inspired coming back next week, then they're doing something wrong and we're going to fix that."

49ers WR Deebo Samuel

Was there any let down that the team felt because Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray wasn't playing?

"No. Not really. We did have a good week of practice, all the energy and everything was there throughout the week. We just had some minor mistakes. We had three turnovers on offense and it is kind of hard to win that way."

How did you feel during the game? How did the calf feel? How do you feel right now?

"I was fine throughout the game. I wouldn't have went out there if my calf wasn't fine. We tested it out and it was good to go."

When you have those miscues or turnovers or drops early in the game,
Do you feel this being on home field because it's been a while since you won here, think here we go again?

"Not really, as an offense when you turn the ball over, it is hard to come back. We just try our best to go out here and forget about what happened and move on."

How do you bounce back from this and preparing for the Los Angeles Rams on Monday?

"We just have to focus on all the things that we can control, move forward and put this loss behind us. Do our best all week and come out here and try to get a win on Monday."

49ers LB Fred Warner

Obviously, you have to stop the run to be a good defense, what is happening on the run this season in your mind?

"Just too much leaky yardage. We got to find ways to knock back. When we make contact, they are drawing runs and dribbling for two or three extra yards and that can't happen. Missed tackles obviously are going to kill us as well."

Did you guys have a sense that Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray wasn't going to play in this game? During the week, what was your game plan? Was it a Murray game plan? Was it a game plan for the backup?

"We anticipated all week that he would play and it didn't matter either way if Kyler or [Arizona Cardinals QB] Colt [McCoy] played. We knew that they wanted to try and execute kind of the same game plan on offense and run the same offense. It is just with Kyler, knowing that he can pull the ball on some of those zone reads and create more time with his legs, but I think they ran the same offense."

Do you remember what you saw on the CB Josh Norman penalty and how that sort of affected the game at that point?

"I don't even know what happened. I saw that there was a flag for something that they did and I didn't even realize Josh was getting into it with their players. That's a big penalty. I didn't realize that it was going to result in an automatic first down at the time. I had to talk to one of the refs. I didn't see what happened."

Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury

Kliff, there has to be a certain amount of satisfaction coming in here. I mean, your team had already done it once without you in Cleveland short-handed. But not having Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, not having Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins, seemed to really kind of send a message today about what you guys have.

"It's been a fun group to be around. No matter who's playing, who we plug in, they show up, they work hard. It was great to get a full week of practice back in and get in our routine. And I thought we practiced really well and I expected us to play well. It was just fun to watch, fun to be around those guys."

So Arizona Cardinals RB James Connor and some of these other guys had to step up…

"They did, they stepped up. We knew they had to. When you lose some of your best players, it's not easy, but that's how this league is and guys stepped up and made big plays all day."

Take us through the Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk pass

"That was one we used at The University of Houston one time. So it's two for two, it's called 'Fifth Ward'. And it was for Hop, but I told him since he's not playing, C Kirk gets to run it. He made a great throw and [Arizona Cardinals WR] Antoine [Wesley] made a great play, so I'm glad it worked out."

What about the game that Arizona Cardinals QB Colt McCoy had? I mean, you guys had said all along, he was going to be prepared, but he looked excellent

"Yeah, that's how we prepare each and every day. Consummate professional, he knows where to go to the ball, gets it out quick, gets us in the right play, protected it all day, which we knew we had to do. And I'm happy for those University of Texas fans because after that game yesterday, at least they can find some solace in that. I knew we had to play good for all my friends down in Austin, so they could celebrate Colt. But just a tremendous leader, a tremendous player, and that was fun to be a part of."

What does it say about the team going from losing Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds and OL Justin Pugh, to winning like you did?

"I mean the guys that stepped in and they step up and [Arizona Cardinals GM] Steve [Keim] has done a tremendous job bringing in great leadership. And we talked about that at length throughout the first part of the season, but he has. Whoever comes in, guys don't hesitate to make plays and cut it loose. So this is fun group to be around."

Was it precautionary on Kyler and Hop?

"They're progressing, but not to where we want them to be. So we'll see. We'll see. I don't want to make that prediction just yet."

What happened between you and San Francisco CB Josh Norman?

"I like Josh, I know Josh. I think it was just more friendly banner that got misinterpreted, but I shouldn't have been out there doing that."

It looked friendly from our standpoint.

"Yeah, it was a certain level of intensity to it, but it was not anything bad."

Were you a little fired up today at all? It seemed like there was a couple of times, especially early in the game, where you crept out on the field with a lot of emotion. I know you have emotion, but it seemed like maybe a little bit more today.

"I mean, you have to pick your spots. You're going to stay in the situations and if you feel it needs to come out, it comes out, you know?"

Do you feel like maybe is that emotion because you're down two best receivers, your quarterback, and just to see your team perform that way, is that what makes it emotional I guess?

"Yeah, it built all week knowing what we were coming in here against a division opponent that when I first got here, they were 13-3. And I remember saying the first time, we got a long way to go to catch up to that team. So to come in here with some of the injuries we had and play that well, I think all of us were really fired up."

Coach, Arizona Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin's touchdown, the whole team ran after him. What was so special about that moment?

"Just how far he's come on and off the field. Last year, he was just trying to figure it out and I surely didn't know if he would make it. And this year, he's like a different person. The work ethic, the focus, anytime he touches the ball, he has a chance to do something special. And so I think everybody's just really proud of the progress he's made on and off the field."

Did you put anything in the offense for Colt this week or no?

"No, no. We had everything in. We ramped it up and he does a great job communicating with me what he likes, what he doesn't like. It was a full array out there."

Why do you call the play "Fifth Ward"?

"It's just a part of Houston. University of Houston's down there, close to that."

And can you tell me anything about the time you ran it back then?

"We completed it."

Do you feel like you can win without Kyler? Was that a provable thing to you with this offense?

"With this team, we brought Colt in for that reason and he was not shy about letting us know when we signed him. I get into discussion of, 'Hey, you can be a great mentor and great leader,' and all this. And he stopped me like, 'Hey man, I can really play.' So, he approaches practice that way. He approaches all situations like that. Even when he's running the scout team, it's business. So that was fun to see him execute at a high level today."

Did you call some of those design runs for him during the game?

"No, he pulled that. He pulled that. I was holding my breath. He wanted to show he's still got a little juice."

Conner had a couple career highs, almost 100 yards receiving, 100 yards running. Is this kind of what you saw out of him? Did you know he could be this versatile?

"I did not. Honestly, I thought he was more of a power downhill back just watching from far. Then we got them here and I watched the route running. He made some spectacular catches in training camp and he's quick twitch in his routes. He's been above and beyond anything I think any of us could have expected and just the work ethic, the approach to the game each and every day, it's phenomenal."

What sparked the whole thing with Josh?

"I think he was just telling me that wasn't a very smart thing to say to the officials to get the original penalty. But it wasn't, I'm telling you, it wasn't anything malicious."

Is there anything about Edmonds you can tell us?

"We'll see. I haven't gotten a final breakdown of the injuries just yet."

Coach, your thoughts on just the way your team has played so well? And just the record 8-1 where you guys are playing as well as you are in this division.

"Like I said, I think Steve has done a tremendous job bringing in great leadership. Guys showed up with a sense of urgency to win and they made a point to the entire locker room that that's what we were going to do. They've held a standard throughout the first part of the season. We just have to try and keep it rolling."

Cardinals QB Colt McCoy

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury just said, when he first talked to you, when you signed, he started talking about, 'Hey, you'd be a great mentor in the quarterback room,' and you kind of cut him off and say, 'Hey, I can really play.' Do you feel like you continue to make that point sometimes too?

"No, I don't. I think if I didn't think I could still play, I wouldn't be playing, but I also understand my role and there's not a bigger fan of [Arizona Cardinals QB] Kyler Murray than me right now. He does some unbelievable things. I've learned a lot from him in my short time here and he's very special. So I'm not Kyler Murray, but today I felt like the offensive line did a tremendous job handling the 49ers front. Those guys are really good. Did my best not to take sacks. Only took a couple coverage sacks. We hit on some big plays that really changed the game. And Kliff got me in a rhythm early. [RB] James [Conner] ran the ball hard and I just didn't want to come in here and turn the ball over. We didn't and you win games that way. So me, I'm just, I'm benefiting from being on a great team and I'm really glad to get out there on the field and guys count on me and we pulled, pulled through."

Did you envision this playing out the way it did without the three guys for the game and then losing RB Chase Edmonds really early?

"Yeah. That's tough. Right? You lose [OL Justin] Pugh. Then we lost [OL] Max [Garcia]. Chase went out early. These games are physical. Our first game against the Niners was physical. We lost Rodney after that game. So we knew like this is a good front. We've got to be more physical and we were, and the sign of a good team to have guys step in and fill in and find a way to make it work. And obviously Chase is an unbelievable player, we'll miss him for hopefully not that long. But I thought James man, James did outstanding today. And guys just stepped up. We lost Pro Bowlers on the outside. They didn't get to play this week. So to come on the road in the division, I've been in the league a long time. No matter what division you're in, that's hard to do."

Were you emotional at all about getting through this and how will you play? I mean, you've been in the league long enough, is it just like, this is my job, this is what I do. Or do you have a certain emotion about doing this?

"That's how I try to approach it. I know there's a lot of people around me that really care about me and I'm thankful for all those people and they know how hard I work. Each off season, want to keep playing. And so I know how much it means to them and if I was to get emotional, it'd be because of that. But for me, I just, I dial in each week and whether I get reps during the week to play or got to come off the bench in a game, I pride myself on being ready to play. And so, today we didn't really know during the week, I couldn't tell you if I was going to play or not. So like for the guys around me to step up and play, I just went out there and dish the ball around and defense played great. And we figured out a way to win, which is fun."

Were you comfortable running the offense?

"Again, I thought Kliff called a great game. He got me in a rhythm early, got me some completions early, and then it kind of slowed down for me and I felt good. I told the offensive line like, 'Look, I'm getting the ball out. Receivers, I'm getting the ball out. I'm not going to hold on to this ball and take sacks. This front is good.' They've played a lot of good football. When they get going they're hard to beat. So I just wanted to get the ball out. And then when we did some play action and took our shots, they worked and we hit on a couple of screens that work, and we found a way to win. Again. I thought Kliff called a great game. [Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach] Cam [Turner] did a great job this week, getting me ready. He's our quarterback coach. Kyler was great. [Arizona Cardinals QB Chris Streveler] Strev had a package. We all just kind of circled the wagons and came in here and found a way to win. So I enjoy playing with these guys. This is a fun team. It's a fun group. Losing the way we did last week, kind of having to sit on that for three weeks, I've been on some teams who wouldn't have been able to handle how we handled it this week. And I'm proud to be part of this team. It's a good group.

When did you find out you were going to play?

"When? Friday, Saturday, I started to get a feel that it's looking like I might go. But we did the Saturday walk through, got on the plane and that was kind of how, I kind of knew at that point. It didn't even have to be said. So, Kyler will be back as soon as he can for sure."

So from this unit, and everybody's looking at this team as one that's going to win the Super Bowl, but what do you see that's different that stops other people when they get to this level? You guys are doing something different that you haven't done in a long.

"That's because I think everybody takes it one game at a time. I don't think anybody in this locker room is looking at the Super Bowl. I think we'd be foolish to do that. We've got a lot of tough games coming up and we lock in each week. We enjoy these moments. We'll enjoy the plane ride home, but this group here thinks one week at a time and there's a lot of good veteran presence in there. Kliff's done a good job with us and we just got to stay in our routine and keep going."

You've shown you can still scoot a little bit yourself.

"Yeah, it's just enough to keep them honest, I guess."

Are you as calm back there as you look?

"I don't know. You'll have to ask some of the other guys. I get pretty locked in. Sometimes I need to remind myself to smile because I'm one of 32 guys getting to play the sport and I'm very appreciative of that. So I do get kind of locked in. Even when we were up big, I was not ready to let the foot off the gas. You never know when these division games."

Did you give a pregame speech on the field?

"Yeah, our head strength coach Buddy Morris told me that I got it today. And I was like, 'Come on, man.' The same message I'd probably give at any point, Just go out there and compete. Have fun. We worked for this. We're built for this. I've got your back, you've got mine. Let's go play. And we did. And we did a great job."


"I coached him a well didn't I? It was actually was [WR DeAndre Hopkins] Hops play all season. We've been working on that for a while. He threw a great ball. That's a play that we've all felt comfortable with because we've been repping that for weeks and weeks and weeks. It wasn't something we just pulled out this week. It's been up, we just hadn't got to it. So to see it make it work with [WR] Christian [Kirk] and [Arizona Cardinals WR Antoine] Wesley, two guys that hadn't really been doing it all year was awesome. Kliff thought he scored. So that was a big, big play."

In practice, who has been throwing it and who has been catching it?

"Hop was throwing it to [Arizona Cardinals WR] A.J. [Green]."

Cardinals RB James Conner

I know you always expect to have to show them 'what I'm going to get', but when Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds went out early in the game, in your mind at all did things change in terms of what you needed to do?

"Well, absolutely, going through the season so far as to what he's been and not just playing off of each other. To see him go down early, I knew that the team was going to be leaning on me heavy. I knew this game was going to be an above the net game. Just be mental, being at the right spots, and put the ball in the right place and just play a good football game."

How was your preparation leading up to this game?

"God is the greatest and faithful. I tried to manifest that. I tried to just picture myself having a big game, and it happened. I just trust and believe in the work. I had a great week of preparation. I feel like I practiced hard this week and it showed."

Did you feel the pressure that you had to perform well when coming in?

"No pressure because if you are on the field you got to be on. This is a solid team. When the stars go down, other players got to step up. That is what this team did tonight."

What did you think of how [Arizona Cardinals QB] Colt [McCoy] performed today?

"Colt is a veteran, he's a legend man. He has an incredible resume so we had all the trust and confidence in him. He did what any other pro does, he lead the charge. He marched us down the field and he's handling everything, he is the QB, he did his thing today."

Cardinals LB Markus Golden

Clearly you were shorthanded offensively. Do you feel like you guys stepped up a little bit more or was this the defensive you were going to play against anybody?

"Yeah, we were going to play hard no matter what. That's our job. This is the NFL. You can add a little more motivation, you can say you wanted to get out there and win for your guys without having your best player out there, but we were going to play hard no matter what. You got to really give the credit to [Arizona Cardinals QB] Colt [McCoy]. Colt went out there and did what he always does. He's working hard all the time. Like I said earlier in the week, I played with him in New York, so I expected a big performance from Colt. I give a lot of credit to coach [Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury], too. Even though we didn't have out starting quarterback, he went out there and dealt with everything. He did everything he had to do to help us win today."

You had three turnovers as a defense. I'm assuming whenever you can do that, it probably feels like you're going to win the game.

"Yes, that's what we practice. You got to give it to the coaches. All the coaches do good at making us get at the ball and try to punch the ball out all the time. That's what we've been doing and it's been carrying over to the game."

Was the goal to make them a one-dimensional offense and make QB Jimmy Garoppolo try to beat you guys today? What was the goal?

"The goal was to come out. We thought they were going to run the ball downhill. They got great running backs over there. It seemed like no matter who the guy is, whoever they put behind that line, he comes out and has a good day. So that was the goal, to get out there and stop the run. Like I said earlier, we knew it was going to be a nasty game, and we were able to come out and get a little nastier than them early and make them switch up their game plan. That's what we want. Once the quarterback dropped back, we feel like we can get after any quarterback. So, stop the run was the one thing we wanted to do today and I feel like we did a great job of that."

Cardinals OL D.J. Humphries

You guys didn't have Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins. Did Colt McCoy play as you expected?

"He played as I expected. Colt has been the most professional big brother role that we have seen at that position since Carson [Palmer] and Drew [Stanton] was back there together. You had so much wisdom in that room and in our quarterback room we always knew that there would be a moment in time where we would have to lean on him. It is so exciting to see him go out there and thrive to lead us to the win."

What does it mean to know that you can win with him? When you get Kyler and Hopkins back, you have a chance to be 9-1.

"It is huge. If you look across our team, we had two linemen go down today and we had guys go in and didn't bat an eyelash. That O-Line room that we have is a special room. You have leaders like [Cardinals OL] Rodney Hudson and [Cardinals OL] Kelvin Beachum in there leading the charge and all I am there for is to yell funny things and say loud cuss words to make things go. I think that is just a testament of who we are as a team. Everybody on this team feel like they can get on that field and do something for the team. When they have their opportunity to do it, it shows."

Was there special about losing three starters and then losing two more during the game and still winning?

"Yes. That is who we are as a team. That relentless, that don't bat an eyelash, next man up, that is something that we preach from the start. It is coming into fruition. It is easy to say it but when you see it when it happens as a team and those guys get an opportunity and step up, it is huge. It is so big."

What were you thinking on the trick play?

"Honestly, I couldn't believe that we called it in a real game. It is something about a lot of stuff happening in the backfield that just makes offensive linemen weary. We just want to keep it normal, but we also knew that every time that we ran it in practice, it was either a touchdown or bomb. When we called it, I was like okay here we go. Every other time I seen this it was either a touchdown or a bomb. It was exciting to see it as a bomb. I was super excited for Tweezy [Cardinals WR Antoine Wesley] that guy works hard. He has been getting a lot of reps with hop [Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins] being on down and getting his opportunity to go out there and shine. I was super excited for him."

Who is that play designed to go to?

"Honestly, All that I know is to block at the end. When all of that stuff is going on in the backfield, like who got the ball and stuff, I literally never know who has the ball until I look at the Jumbotron. All that I do is block the end. I never know. Until Rodney tells me otherwise, I am blocking the end."

Cardinals LB Chandler Jones

Just in terms of the team right now, you guys are already having a good season. This feels like given what you guys are facing with Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray being down and a couple receivers are out. This feels different in terms of being able to pull this off and win the division, does that feel the same for you guys?

"The spirits are definitely high right now. I know you mentioned that we have a couple of injuries, but that goes to show how great our coaches are. Our coaches did a really good job of making some adjustments. We are confident in the guys that we had in there and obviously it showed today."

What does this win show about the team based on the way they performed today without some of your key players?

"Honestly, that's the beauty of the sport. It is a sudden change. With guys being out and finding out right before the game and things of that nature you just have to be tough. I think 90% of it has been mentally tough. That's the situation right there where our team was mentally tough, and that showed great mental toughness for our team."

Can you discuss the fact that you finally broke the record for the most sacks in Cardinals franchise history?

"I like you said all-time record finally. I did it in four years. It felt good. It felt good. I wore that shirt for two games, and got the record today.'

What can you say about the great play of the rest of the defense today?

"Our defense played great as a whole. [Arizona Cardinals LB] Markus [Golden] had a hell of a game. He went up there and had three sacks. Our team played great as a whole. Our secondary played great. Obviously that's why we had the opportunity to get to the quarterback. Again for me to pass Freddy Joe Nunn's sack record is a huge milestone. I dedicated that sack to Freddy and his family. My condolences are to him. But hopefully we can keep this rolling and keep it going throughout the season and the spirits are high right now on the team. Hopefully we can carry that over to for the Panthers next week."

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