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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


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

Nov 28, 2021 at 7:41 PM--


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

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan


Opening comments:

"Alright, the injuries from the game. [LB Dre] Greenlaw had a groin, he was out, didn't return. [RB] Trey Sermon, ankle, same thing, [LB] Fred Warner, hamstring, same thing. [WR] Deebo [Samuel], groin, same thing. [LB] Marcell [Harris] was evaluated for a head injury, he was cleared. Same with [DL Nick] Bosa. [DL Kentavius] Street, had a wrist, did not return. That's it. Go ahead."

Do any of those seem long-term?

"We're not sure. We'll see on the MRIs with Deebo and Fred, but we're not sure yet."

Did Trey Sermon have X-Rays done?

"Yeah. They all did, his looked a little worse. But still, I don't know yet. We'll find out tomorrow."

Obviously, there were mistakes there, but did this feel like this had the intensity almost like a playoff game? Was there was a lot of weight to this game?

"Yeah, I don't know if it's the weight because of the playoff implications and records or things like that. I think it's the weight because of where the two teams are both at in the year. We didn't play, we feel, as good of ball as we should have earlier in the year and I think Minnesota me speaking for them, I think they felt the same. I think both of us have been playing real good ball these last couple of weeks. We knew we had some ground to make up. And that's why we believed it would be like a playoff game because of how the two teams are playing inspired and got everything on the line. That's why it's a good football game for people to watch. It's not always the most fun, intense wise for everybody, but I was real proud of our guys, how they handled it and all the different stuff that came throughout the game. Right when it seemed we were good, we weren't, and guys just kept coming."

Not on that injury report was Elijah Mitchell, how did he do today and how is his finger?

"It looked like it did all right. I threw him balls in warmups and he didn't have an issue with it. You guys could see how he ran, he was a stud today. Just how physical he played and it didn't seem like there was any concerns.

Are you aware that you were one shy of three straight games with 40 rushes?

"I wasn't. Our goal was to get more yards rushing today, which we did, which makes you not get as many run calls, so we'll blame it on that."

Was that determination on Mitchell made today when you played catch with him or did you already know?

"No, we asked him before. We asked him, he was good. He gave us a lot of confidence, especially here in these last couple of days."

Was the goal to have more yards than the other team, or was it more yards than you've been getting running the ball?

"No, I knew that we were going to have to, going against that offense, it wasn't going to be just about controlling the clock. We were going to have to get some yards to score some points and that's why some of the runs that we had, some of the big runs, usually it's tough to get that many called when you have it like that, but guys made some big plays. The D got those two turnovers in second half, which were huge. We were able to pull it out."

Beyond Elijah's strength and quickness, how much is his vision? He seems like he cuts back and just sees space very well, especially for a rookie.

"Yeah, I'd say that's his number one attribute. He's good in the other areas, especially what you mentioned, but he seems to hit the right spot almost every time."

Deebo was obviously emotional on the sideline, he's in the midst of such a special season. Did you talk to him at all? What do you say to him now that he's dealing with this injury?

"I think he was just disappointed. We have no idea what it's going to be like. I don't think it's as bad as you worry. We're hoping it's a low strain. He feels that it might be, he felt it, which that's what happened to Deebo on the first play of the game versus Washington last year. I think that's what happened to him in the fourth quarter versus New England. You can tell when he feels something, he stops right away. That's why I knew right away on the first step of that, that something was there, but by the time that he got to the sidelines, you feel like you saved a real bad injury. We'll have to find out tomorrow."

How do you feel QB Jimmy Garoppolo played?

"I thought he started off not great. It took him a little bit to get into it. He missed a couple on that first drive and obviously, that pick was inexcusable. He knows that, but the way he bounced back, I thought was great. He made some huge throws, the way we finished the second quarter, being able to score there. The drive to open up the third quarter. That throw to [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice there on Second-and-10, that was a huge play in the game. Getting to WR Trent Sherfield on third down there to start that drive was unbelievable, getting to that spot and then the unbelievable play by Trent too. But Jimmy played good enough for us to win."

Was impressive him getting to that spot because he wasn't the first, he wasn't the intended target?

"No. Yeah. That's not where it started."

I remember you talking to Jimmy after the interception, you've said you like to do that, you like doing the headsets. Why did that happen and what were you communicating to him?

"I just wanted him to hear directly from me. On a headset, I'm talking to coaches and they can pass along information. I just told him the obvious, what he missed and told him to let it go and we're going to come right back to you and we need you to be aggressive for the rest of the game. And he was and he handled her it right."

Obviously, it didn't look great. We could all see that.

"Which one?"

Jimmy's interception, you say inexcusable, you rarely are that harsh with your quarterback critiques. Why was that so egregious, that throw?

"I just wanted to use a bigger word there than I usually use (laughing) and I'm a little amped up. So that was stupid of me. He knows it was, he saw it and it wasn't a good play call. No one was there, you take the sack or you hit the check down. He knew that and I knew it because I could see it wasn't a good play call as soon as I called it. So that's kind of what I meant. It's not like it had a chance. So that's why we have to count on you when it doesn't have a chance. We don't need those heroics right away and he understood it pretty well."

On the deep ball to Deebo down the right sideline there towards the end of the game, you're running down the sideline, what was going on?

"I was just alerting the ref that we were about to double move that guy and that he was going to PI [pass interference] him. Just giving him a heads up."

Do you feel like you're starting to hit your stride after losing four in a row and now having one month left of the regular season?

"Yeah, I think we have definitely played our best football, these last three games. Just in all three phases, I thought this one was a huge one because it's a little different than the last two because it came down to the wire and things went good for both sides at certain times in the game. Then the momentum flipped a number of times. I thought we had the momentum big time at the beginning of the game. That's why I was a little disappointed with a couple missed plays on offense and the pick because it felt like we lost it right there. At the end of the second quarter, I thought we gained it right back. Then we we're able to score on the opening drive of the third quarter and then the defense getting that turnover and getting us down there right away. All the guys that went out in the second half, it was really cool, the adversity that our guys kind of overcame. Right when you feel like you have the momentum, the kick return, which kind of flipped it back. Right when we went on that long drive, we thought we had it, then we missed the field goal and our D didn't hesitate. They went out there and stepped it up and I was just really proud of everyone on the team and everyone involved in this building."

How about that sequence at the end of the first half and then you get the ball back and score again and then they turn it over. But when you take over in the second quarter with whatever it was, 8:20 left, the way you guys work the clock there around midfield, always I'm sure leaves some anxiety with the fan base.

"I can tell (laughing)."

Did that work out exactly like you drew it up and wanted it to be?

"Yes, it doesn't always go right, but that went exactly how we wanted it to go. It's third and 11 and they're a really good third down defense, we're in field goal range. They have three timeouts. We had one, I believe, and we wanted to make sure we didn't give it back to [Minnesota Vikings QB] Kirk [Cousins] and that offense with three timeouts. So when it was third and 11, we take the clock down long enough to where if we do get the first, we still feel we have a chance to score. But we're going to make sure if we don't get the first, they don't have a chance to score. So that was the goal on that, but then Jimmy made a hell of a throw to [WR Brandon] Aiyuk, which got us down there. I think we scored to [WR] Jauan [Jennings]. I think it was the next play, so that worked out perfect. Then getting the ball in the third quarter is when you try to lap someone."

Was that kind of cat and mouse because you guys went to the line of scrimmage quickly on third-and-nine. Did you not want them to call a timeout?

"No that's because it was right before the two-minute warning. So, I knew I wasn't going to call a play, so we ran to the line. The first one where we went up there and we did a couple of motions and didn't snap it, we were trying to get them offsides because we knew we were going to snap one. Then there was another one?"

Well it was what would it have been third-and-nine. You guys go up to the line of scrimmage. They didn't call a timeout and you finally called a timeout.

"That one we did because we weren't in the right spots. The time before it, we went up there faked it because we knew we had the two-minute warning. We just tried to draw them offsides. Then we re-huddled, went out, we didn't have the right guy in the right spot, so we called a time out. Then the next one, we meant to run it down."

Without Greenlaw, even today at times, without Fred Warner. How important has [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] been for you this year?

"Oh, Azeez has been huge. Just the plays he's made, Greenlaw, losing him after Week 1. After the first half, Azeez had to come in and play like a starter and he's done that before in the past, but he's definitely done it this year. I think he's been one of our better players. The energy he plays with, how he runs around, how he's prepared every week and getting his hands on those two balls at the end we're great. All the linebackers we lost Greenlaw, lost Fred. Marcell came in and it was frustrating, he had that big hit, so they evaluated him for a concussion, which is understandable, but that was also at the end of the third quarter. So we sat there for five minutes when the commercials were going, then they blow the whistle re-huddle and then they pull him out to evaluate him. So we missed him for a whole drive. That's why [CB] K'Waun [Williams] did a great job because we had to play nickel for a lot of stuff and all those guys stepped it up."

What about Mitchell enables him to-- it looks like he got one, but no, he got three, he gets three and no, he got five? It seems to happen all the time, is that something that you can coach him to do or you just have it or you don't?

"You try to coach guys to do it, but it's pretty hard to. That's the style he plays with. He runs the right holes. We know he's talented, but that's also what's inside of him. He is gritty. He competes for every single yard. I always telling him that it makes it easier to call runs. One of the biggest things for me as a play caller, and I tell those guys, is when I see with my own eyes, that it's going to be second-and-10. I start to look down and think about what I'm calling next. And then people in the box tell me it's second-and-six. I don't totally believe him because I saw that he was going down and I don't realize that he fell forward and got four yards. When it's like that, which he does all the time now, you keep going, it helps you keep doing it."

I don't know if you were looking at what was everyone else was doing in the NFC race around you did? I think you're going to be a game out of fifth place now in the NFC. Is it almost feeling like things are breaking for you? Do you see that?

"No. That's good to hear, but I actually don't know any scores right now. It's way too early to care. You look at that stuff at the end of the day, but what do we have left six games? Six games. There's a lot left to be played. Last year at this time we were moving to Arizona, this Tuesday night. So, I'm fortunate for that. Hopefully these next two days nothing changes, but we were there for a long time."

How much trust do you have in Elijah to give him the ball 27 times with a broken finger and as a rookie. Guys like veterans you've had trust built up over years, but when and how did he sort of earn your trust so completely this season?

"You got a gut of it through training camp, just watching him every day in practice. When [RB] Raheem [Mostert] went down on the second play versus Detroit. Just watching him go in right away and just no hesitation. He looked exactly how he did in practice. What he did the next week versus Philly and playing through a number of those injuries, he had, just nothing's too big for him. He's honest too. That's why he didn't play last week because he couldn't fully protect himself and he was close, but he couldn't. This week as the week went, when he said he was good, he means it. He earns your trust."

Obviously WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. is out, but what's been happening with Jauan Jennings behind the scenes that's allowed him to be in a position to have the trust to be a target in a key moment like that in the game?

"We were hoping for it in training camp and he was close. He had a setback to start with COVID, I think he missed 10 days and right when he started to come on and push for more playing time, I think he had a setback versus the Chargers where he was out about a week and a half. So just really went into the season unhealthy and missed a lot at the beginning so, he just wasn't one of the top guys at the time. When you don't earn that spot in training camp, it's really tough to get it back because there's not a bunch of competing in practice. You put in a third down plan and you want the guys who are doing it to get those reps. The way Sanu had been playing, Sanu earned it, first of all. He was definitely one of our top three guys throughout camp, but the way Sanu was playing for us to start out this year. I thought he was one of more consistent, better guys and Jauan's been waiting for this opportunity. It happened when Mo got hurt and each week he's gotten better and better and we like having them out there."

It's easy to see why you give it to Mitchell so often, but close to or more than 30 carries the last two games. Do you have to be cognizant of making sure he makes it to the end of the season?

"Yeah. I, you always do. There are certain things with wear and tear that people talk a lot about, which I think it comes down to less about wear and tear and more about not getting hurt. Which obviously the more carries you get, the more chances you have to get hurt. But I don't always just correlate carries with that, but percentages go up, but we're not going to ever be sitting there in the game and be worrying about that totally. But we're aware of all that stuff and I think we do mix it around, but we usually go with the guy who we think is most effective on a play."

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo


After the pick that you threw, what was Head Coach Kyle Shanahan's message to you and how did he deliver that message?

"Just like normal, he always approaches me face-to-face with it. And just really, I had to get to my check down. It wasn't what we were look for and I tried to be aggressive on it. But yeah, just can't do that."

It looked like he was a little bit pissed off?

"Oh yeah. Well, naturally. It wasn't a good decision. I have to be better than that with it. Just take the check down. They were giving those to us early and I just need to be more efficient with those."

How big of a point was it, once you got to third-and-11 down there towards the end of the first half, before you guys had the timeout. Can you talk about just how pivotal of a moment that was in the game?

"Yeah, just the whole jive. I think really, it was important for us. I think just getting that and then the kickoff in the second half really gave us a little edge there. I think, we executed pretty well. Got it all the way down there and felt good about it."

Red zone, that's been an area where New England Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne in previous years has been valuable for you. Does WR Jauan Jennings do some of those same things? Does he have that same short area quickness that Kendrick had?

"Yeah. Him and Mo [WR Mohamed Sanu Sr.] both. They both do a great job of separating, just their explosiveness. They're bigger guys, so most big guys can't move like that, but they just find a way to create space and make the throw easy for me. Jauan had a great route on the touchdown."

There were a couple of times that WR Brandon Aiyuk was wide open, I think both were 30-yard completions. Why did he get so open? And what's been the change that's made him so available last few weeks?

"I think guys helping guys out, clearing out a couple of coverages to replace them with BA, that was big for us early on. Just I don't know, the guys, it's in the locker room. It's day-to-day, just face-to-face, the guy's a different guy and it's a good thing for us."

At times when you give the ball to Mitchell, do you think, 'oh that play, didn't go anywhere.' And then you look up and it's second-and-five?

"Multiple times. Yeah, it really is when he gets hit by that first guy he doesn't stop. And the O-line, they help him out too with a little push. When you can make a one-yard run into a four or five-yard run, it lasts for a lot longer."

You're moving up in playoff standings, like you're like a game out of fifth right now. Do you look at that stuff? And sometimes do you think things are sort of breaking your way right now?

"You always have it in the back of your head. The position where you're at and everything and the other teams around you. But I think we've been taking a week-by-week mentality and just trying to get one win at a time and it's done well for us the last three weeks. So I think we've got to keep doing that going forward and we'll be in a good spot."

When you guys drafted Elijah, had you ever heard of him and how could you have imagined in training camp that he would make as much of an impact as quickly as he has?

"I don't know, training camp, all the backs do a great job, honestly. It's really cool how they could all just interchange like that and they all have a different flavor to them, but they're so efficient with their running. And the O-line does a great job creating lanes for them with the tight ends. And it's a great combination. Elijah has been great for us even in the receiving game he makes plays for us. So, it's all good."

It wasn't the best start for you today. Was there anything in particular that kind of locked you in and got you focused or settled down afterwards?

"I don't know. I've been trying to think about that. Yeah. I wasn't happy with how it started, but what we did before halftime and coming out in the second half, I think really helped turn the game in our favor."

Did the last game against Minnesota enter your mind at all or is it too far away?

"We watched it for game-planning purposes, but other than that, not really."

You guys are something like in the range of 80% in the red zone scoring touchdowns, could you put your finger on what it is that allows you guys to lock in and finish those drives with touchdowns?

"The red zone comes down to making plays, honestly. If it's tight down there and you get a one-on-one, that's your best-case scenario. So it's just about guys making plays, executing the plays Kyle calls, and the rest will take care of itself."

Right before the game a report came out that the 49ers intend to trade you this offseason, barring a Super Bowl run. Did you see that? And what's your reaction?

"No, I didn't. I was worried about the game, but I appreciate the heads up."

A few weeks ago, against Arizona, you guys only ran the ball nine times and Kyle said that it was because the defense was loading the box and the looks you were getting. But now it seems like you're willing to run no matter what the looks are, what's different with the way you guys are approaching the running game?

"It starts up front with the O-Line. Those guys set the tone for us, they always have and always will. But like I was saying before about Elijah, just when you can turn that one-yard run into a four or five-yard run, it allows you to call more runs. Being efficient on third down I think has played into that too, so I think those two things tied together make for a good combination."

49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair


You have been one of the better players on the team this year. What has changed for you?

"I just really just trusted myself. Just being more comfortable with who I am as a player and not always trying to be like somebody else. I think early in my career, I was constantly like it's the right thing, obviously [LB] Fred Warner is one of the best linebackers in the game, if not the best, then you've got [Former 49ers LBs] Kwon Alexander and Malcolm Smith who was a super bowl MVP. So I think as a rookie, like, oh man, it'd be like this guy. I'd be like that guy. By the end of the day, I'm not them, I can only be myself. So I had to really learn how to play off my own strengths and, build up my, my weaknesses and because they're different from the next player. So I think just really focused on that this past off season. Just really like seeing, well what got me in the NFL in the first place? playing the way I play and then just fine tuning those things and getting better."

What did you see on that interception?

"Yes, so we just made an adjustment at halftime. They completed that pass a couple of times. I remember we just talked about changing up the coverage a little bit and just reading three step. That is something that we always supposed to do and I was able to just slide underneath it and he threw the ball. They said [San Francisco 49ers DT] D.J.[Jones] had the pressure on it. So he was able to get him to throw the ball out and just made the play."

How much responsibility falls on you when San Francisco 49ers LBs Fred Warner and LB Dre Greenlaw are out?

"At the end of the day, those are like my guys. I think our whole room is so close from top to bottom. So when you have both of them go out, obviously that's a huge hit and then you got [San Francisco 49ers LB] Marcel [Harris] and [LB] Demetrius [Flannigan-Fowles] come in, and I think that for us, we just, we just play off of each other and we just have each other's backs. It's you keep chugging and keep going. Fred and Dre are right there on the sideline. We're all talking while communicating with the rest of the guys. You just see us all just play together, play for each other."

Do the responsibilities change when those two go out? Do you expect the two guys that come in to do their jobs?

"Obviously, now I go to the mic, so my responsibilities did change from that aspect. Obviously you get the green dot but I think even from that aspect, like Fred, when he has the mic in his helmet, he's communicating, we're all communicating. So now it's obviously me. I might be giving the call, but it's the same thing. Now, the guys that I'm in with, they're communicating as well. And I think that's what helps when you have a really good defense is when you got multiple guys communicating the calls and helping get everything lined up."

49ers DL Nick Bosa


When you guys were 3-5 you said, you know you're a good team. You know you have good football out there. Is there a sense of relief that you pulled this off to get back to 6-5 at least? What's the sense in the locker room now?

"I think we're all excited to be back in the mix and have this season in our control. We always knew, like you said, that we're a really good team and just had to execute better, and now we're starting to execute at the right times. And, even when guys go down, we have a next man up and we have confidence in those next guys up. So, definitely on the upward trend."

When San Francisco 49ers LB Fred Warner leaves the game, he's such an important player, vocal player in the huddle, who sort of picks up that slack when he's out?

"[San Francisco 49ers] Azeez [Al-Shaair] did a really good job, obviously how he played, the interception, and playing the run well. You don't usually see Fred out of the game, so it's definitely a shock, but hopefully it's not too bad and we can get them back."

How much fun are you guys having now, after going on this win streak and getting big wins like today?

"There's a lot of fun to have Levi's excited again and I think it was a really hard-fought game, so we're all pretty tired and they don't make it easy on the D-Line. So, definitely excited and it's a lot more fun to have a victory Monday than to be looking at a loss. So, definitely happy."

49ers DL Kevin Givens


What happened on the play where Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook went down?

"It all kind of happened so fast, I don't even know what happened. I know just penetrated through the backfield and grabbed Cook. I tried to reach for the ball, it kind of came out and after that it kind of was just a blur."

Could you tell right away that he was injured?

"No, I didn't know. Somebody had landed on me too, so I was kind of just laying there too."

In the huddle, who sort of takes over? Who becomes the voice of that defense?

"I feel like we all kind of just chipped in, tried to make plays, do whatever you can to just keep the thing going. If somebody goes down, we just keep it going."

Can you give us a feel of what it's been like in that locker room, starting with the past three games? Does it feel different in there?

"I mean, yeah, because we're winning, but that's just the way it should be. I mean, we didn't start the year out how we wanted to, but we're showing people the team we are now, so it's been good."

49ers WR Jauan Jennings


What aspect of playing wide receiver do you enjoy most?

"Just being on the field. Just being out there with guys like [San Francisco 49ers QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo], [San Francisco 49ers TE George] Kittle, [San Francisco 49ers WR] Deebo [Samuels], let's see [San Francisco 49ers LB] Fred [Warner], it goes on and on. It's just still, excuse my language, still a dream come true."

Why do you think things have sort of clicked for you in the last few weeks, and you've become a bigger part of the offense?

"I'm just going to practice every day and just going hard as I can trying to perfect my craft. I've got [San Francisco 49ers Wide Receivers Coach] Wes [Welker] helping me out week in, week out. On a daily basis trying to get my routes as perfect as they can be. And as you saw today, still got room to get better."

Is there something about the red zone that you really enjoy, just that extra pressure down there?

"I think I just love it all the same. Just honestly, I love it all the same. As a receiver that's what we do. We love to score, so it comes with it but like I said, I just love playing the game."

You seem so nice, but out there on the field, you play with a chip on your shoulder. How do you do that?

"It just comes from just growing up. I remember like it was yesterday, six years old and walking past the baseball field and people were playing football, and they're tackling. It's just part of the game I always loved about it ever since I was a little boy and to be able to still play this game is just all glory to God, and I'm just thankful to get this win on my team today. It means a lot. It means a lot."

49ers TE George Kittle


What's with the shirt?

"Oh yeah. I've got my RB Elijah Mitchell shirt on. I think he deserves it today. He had a good day, 27 carries and 130ish yards. That's a good day to come back from a couple of weeks off."

What's impressed you most about him?

"I mean, if you just watch him, when he runs, he runs downhill and a play that's blocked for three yards, ends up being seven yards. A play that's blocked for one yard, ends up being four yards. When he gets hit, he always falls forward. I mean, in the NFL, as a running back to be able to break arm tackles, you have to be able to fall forward. If you get pushed back on some of those, you know, second longs, all those, that type of stuff, but he just runs his tail off. He's very physical and he just makes quick decisions. He doesn't second guess himself. He just runs downhill, which is what you need to do in our offense."

Is there something about his demeanor or the way he carries himself that has allowed him to adjust so quickly to the NFL?

"I think he just loves football. He shows up every day, he works. He's there every day when rehab supposed to start. He's on time for everything. He does everything that he's supposed to do. And I think he just because he does everything he's supposed to do, it just sets him up for success. And that's what you want to see in a rookie."

Do you think he surprises defenders with his power? He doesn't look that big.

"100 percent. I think he surprises everybody. When you're fast, I mean I don't want to compare him to [RB] Raheem [Mostert] because Raheem is very unique in his skillset, but Elijah hits the holes downhill, like Raheem does. He's not going to run 23 miles an hour, but that like five yards in between where he gets the ball through the line of scrimmage, he's just so explosive and so fast. I think guys think, I'm going to get him with an arm tackle because he's not the biggest back in the world, but he just runs through arm tackles. And you saw that he had a catch that he broke a tackle on fell forward for 13 yards, something like that. He just does it consistently."

What's the feeling in the locker room now compared to a few weeks ago?

"Well, that was really stressful. So a sigh of relief. That was a tough one, but I mean just we're excited. Our defense, you know, we had to turnover early and then our defense comes right back and they get two turnovers. Shout to [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] and our guys for stepping up. That's what killed us early on. We just had so many turnovers and our defense wasn't getting them. Now our defense is helping us out a little bit. And now that allowed us to get that win."

Do you guys pay any attention to where you are in the playoff race, because you're moving up every week.

"No, we've got six weeks left of football. A lot can happen in six weeks. We have a hell of a challenge coming up this week, going to a great stadium. A team that, I think, people say is struggling, but whenever we play them, it's always a really, really good game. So just excited for that challenge."

Did this feel like a playoff game?

"Oh yeah. I mean, I think the atmosphere was amazing. Our crowd brought it. The faithful always, they always bring the energy. We gave them some things to cheer about today and just the intensity and the passion from the fans. It definitely did not feel like Week 1 or 2. It felt like we were rolling and definitely felt like a higher stakes game."

49ers RB Elijah Mitchell


I want to talk about your ability to get extra yards. It looks like you're stopped for no gain and then all of a sudden you've got three to six more yards. And a lot of times when you're fighting for extra yards, that's when you lose the ball, but you seem to manage to have ball security and get the extra yards. How do you describe the way that you do that?

"Really it just starts in the room. That's just something that our position coach [Running Backs Coach Robert Turner] Bobby T expresses a lot, keep driving and protecting the ball. So it just starts with the mindset and we always talk about that."

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned that he thinks your vision is maybe your strongest attribute. Has that always been the case? Is that something you've been very conscious of throughout college and now in the NFL? Or can you kind of explain why you're good at that?

"That's just being a running back, so you have to have vision. It's just something that I've always had. But like I said, we expressed that in the running back room too, having vision. Bobby T expressed that, so that's a big thing for me."

I'm sure you've had 30 carries in games in college and now you're getting 30 touches in the NFL. Does your body feel differently after 30 carries in the NFL than it did in college the day after games?

"You're definitely going to be sore after 30 carries. But like I said, it's all about taking care of your body and that's something that I've been trying to do. I just ask the vets and stuff about that. So I've been doing a very good job and just taking care of my body even after the game too."

What's your mindset like during the game? Because you come out to the press conferences and you're really calm, but then we see you in the game and once you're running with that ball, you become like a demon where you're just going and your feet are just moving.

"It's just a different mindset on the field. Whoever's in my way, I just try to run the ball and run over him. If anything, I run by him. So it's just a mindset that I have and I'm going to continue to have that."

49ers WR Deebo Samuel


When something goes wrong, do you usually feel it right away? What happened on that play?

"My groin got kind of tight once I went to make a move. So I was just like, let's not make anything worse. And that's why I just went down."

What's your level of concern with it?

"Not too much concern. I got an MRI and stuff in the morning. We'll just go see how it goes."

Looked like you shared an emotional moment with defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans there on the sideline when you were walking around after the injury. Was there anything he said to you?

"Basically just keeping my head up. Kind went into a dark spot when I when I wasn't able to keep playing. So you know how that goes with injuries, but just like all the guys was like, just keep your head up. You'll be all right, this, that and the third. And that's all it was."

I saw you giving water to RB Elijah Mitchell. What was that moment like? Obviously you've got to stay in the game. You've got to keep motivating your teammates somehow.

"I just would want him to do the same thing if I ran the ball like seven times in a row and can't breathe. So he came over to the sideline and I was like, 'Hey, let me get a water bottle.' And just give him some water, put it down his neck and let him get a little breather and just get back out there and play."

How would you describe Elijah's running style? Kyle was talking about how he'll look at a call and he'll think it's still 2nd-and-10 that'll find out, no its 2nd-and-6 because he went for four yards and he didn't think he was going to get any. What do you think?

"I just feel like Elijah is an all-around back. He can catch the ball out the backfield. He can play like he's 240 pounds and he runs like 190 pounds. You've got the speed, he's he got the physicality and he's got the mindset. He's just a great overall back."

What have you learned about WR Jauan Jennings over these last few weeks? He's allowed himself to be in position to make plays like that touchdown.

"Jauan, the moment is never too big for Jauan. At practice all week, the energy that you see out there in the game is what he brings to the meeting rooms, walkthrough, to practice. And we knew his time was going to come for him to come out there and go make place."

How did it feel to finally get your 1000 yard season?

"It felt good, but it also felt good to get the win too."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer


Opening comments:

"All right. Disappointing. We couldn't finish the game. Credit San Francisco. They did a nice job today. We continue to fight like crazy. Our guys play with a lot of fire, fight, and heart and just didn't quite get it done today."

How is RB Dalvin Cook doing?

"I don't know. I haven't heard anything yet. We'll get an MRI."

Could it be a season ending thing?

"I don't know."

What was the challenge like this week with the defensive line missing four starters?

"Yeah, it was difficult. We had you know, some guys that came in on, I guess it was Wednesday played in the game. I had to move a tackle to end and things like that. So, but that's NFL life."

How much did you attribute being shorthanded to giving up more than 200 yards rushing?

"I don't know. I have to look at the tape."

How did you feel about your rush defense?

"Well, I thought a lot of times we did some really good things and then sometimes we didn't do good things."

Did you see anything specifically with their end-arounds with WR Deebo Samuel and the lack of containment?

"I think we were misaligned on that one. The other ones were the fact these guys hold all the time, so they are grabbing us around the waist, grabbing our backs, and you know officials, they don't want to call it every play. Until they start calling every play, they're not going to stop doing it."

We saw Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins really demonstrative after the pass interference call late in the game that looked to be on Minnesota Vikings WR K.J. Osborn.

"I thought he hooked him. I thought the defender hooked him."

We noticed the sequence on the second to last possession where I guess Kirk thought K.J. was going to go to other end of the end zone.

"That was a miscommunication."

It was 34-26 on the 4th down play that was incomplete in the end zone. What was your vantage point on what happened on the last play?

"It looked like he just missed him."

Did Kirk seem a little bit off today?

"No, I thought he played well."

How much did the turnovers have to do with the outcome of the game today?

"I think we gave up 10 points on turnovers today and I don't think they did when we turned the ball over the one time when they turned the ball over."

What was the feeling going into halftime?

"Yeah, it was disappointing, but you know, it's not like it was a two minute drill. It was just 14-14 at the half. I wasn't too upset."

Can you talk about the success of the kick-off return game, and depending on Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cooks injury, could there be a chance that Minnesota Vikings RB Kene Nwangwu has a larger role in the running game?

"Yeah, I think there's a chance that he may end up getting some more playing time. He got a couple of carries today. He's still a young guy. We brought him in as a kickoff returner and a backup running back. He's done a nice job in a couple of these situations for returning the ball."

Did Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen talk to you?

"There were a lot of people talking to me."

In the last two minutes of the first half when it was third and eight on a double pass, you guys had a tackle for a 10 yard loss but there was a penalty on Minnesota Vikings CB Patrick Peterson. What did you see there?

"I heard the guy ran into Peterson. I didn't see it, you know, I'm watching the other stuff, but I better stop it with the officials today."

What is the injury status of Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr?

"Anthony loves to play and when he's hurt, it hurts him more than it hurts us."

Do you feel this was a well-played game despite the outcome?

"I thought it was a good game. It went back and forth. I thought they did a good job; they have a good team, with their offense and defense. Our guys fought like crazy. We're used to being in these kinds of games."

What do you say to the guys moving forward?

"From being around this team all year long there have been times when they've had opportunities to let something affect them. They just come out the next week and they play their rear ends off. There have been a lot of ups and downs. I'm proud of their effort today, they played hard. We didn't get the win, so there are no consolation prizes, but I'm proud of the way they competed. We had guys coming in off the street on Wednesday and going out there and trying to learn the defense and play. We had some guys nicked up, we lost some guys today, and they go out there and fight. We didn't get the win, but they're fighters. If nothing else they're fighters. Thank you."

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins


Opening comments:

"Disappointing loss. I was proud of the way our team battled in all three phases and made plays. It was a great team effort. If we had been able to find a way to win, I would be saying how proud I am of the way our roster fought and many, many guys contributed but, you know, we came up short and that is very disappointing. This one hurts right now."

On a couple of the pass attempts you made, was it because the Niners had a good pass rush going on before you were able to complete those throws?

"I'm sorry, which drive were you talking about?"

It might have been the one where you kind of overthrew it out of the endzone.

"Yeah, they had a good rush."

On that fourth-and-goal where you had to call timeout, it looked like there was some confusion. What happened there?

"We just didn't get lined up properly and the play clock was winding down."

Did you lose where the center was on that play?

"Yeah. I was just moving, trying to get everybody settled up and then just got under the wrong guy."

What happened on the interception?

"Poor throw and a poor read. I made a poor decision and got blocked out. I shouldn't have thrown it where I did."

What happened at the end of the first half, specifically the final play?

"You know, we just weren't able to get into field goal range and ran out of time. I'm just disappointed we weren't able to get points there."

Were you just disappointed because you weren't moving fast enough?

"Just wanted a field goal and we weren't able to get it."

Did you think maybe you should have went for a little five or six-yard throw, or at least a hail Mary? It seemed like you guys were kind of in between and in no man's land.

"Yeah, I just wanted to get into field goal range there to be able to kick a field goal."

Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Kendricks described it as a physical game. Did you sense that the refs just let you play today, or at the end did you want a flag with the contact right at the end there?

"Yeah, it's tough. It goes both ways and you just have to play through it."

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen had such great numbers in the first half for you guys and then was kind of knocked back in the second half. Why do you think that was?

"It was a combination of factors. You know, [Minnesota Vikings RB] Kene [Nwangwu] returned a kickoff for a touchdown, so that's your possession right there, so you kind of lose out on opportunities to get Adam the ball. There certainly were times where, looking back I'm sure I'll say 'Hey, I could have gotten it to him here or there.' So, it is a variety of reasons."

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook has been a leader on this team for quite some time. What was it like seeing him get carted off?

"Yeah, you just hate to see him go down and be in the pain he was in. It is tough to see a teammate like Dalvin, someone like you said is such a key piece of our team and our offense."

You have talked about not counting us out, so when you're going through it, how hard is it to keep going back to that theme?

"You just play it one game at a time, one week at a time. I don't really think about too much beyond that. You pour all your energy into this one and now you learn from it and you focus on the next one and don't really think too much beyond that. You get to the end and then settle it up."

You guys actually haven't been over .500 since the end of the 2019 season. How frustrating is that?

"Yeah, we've got to get there and once we do get there we have to pull away and you know, that's certainly going to be the focus here with what we have remaining."

Throwing the two-point, did that just slip out of your hand?

"Poor throw. I felt like maybe I rushed it and that it was a poor throw."

The work ethic on the offense, what have you seen that maybe we haven't seen from what he can do in the back?

"He was out much of the preseason after the first preseason game, so we weren't able to get him as much work as we would've liked. I think missing out on that probably hurt us from having been able to contribute more early. Now that he's gotten more opportunities, it's been great to see his speed and his athleticism. Like you said, I think there will be more opportunities up ahead."

What's it like watching the defense struggling with the two-minutes left in the half or game?

"No, I think we've got to be great in those situations too, as an offense. I don't know that we've been as good as we need to be when we get the ball two minutes left in the half as well. Obviously with two minutes left in the game, you expect to go down and get points and, and tie the game up. I'm very disappointed that we weren't able to, I wasn't able to do that."

Why do you think you guys stalled on offense?

"I'm sure it is a variety of reasons. The turnovers don't help. I think it starts there and then like you said, we are so close, so we just have to hit those up, the plays down in the redzone there, and come away with a touchdown to be right there. We were right there, we just didn't make enough plays."

How much change as an offense has affected your game?

"We have a lot of confidence in [Minnesota Vikings LT] Rashod [Hill]. I have a lot of confidence in [Minnesota Vikings RB] Alex [Mattison] and Kene or whoever we put in there. I think that's really where the depth and the team really becomes such an important piece there when you have people go down."

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson


In the back of the end zone with the incomplete pass, what happened there?

"I don't really know. I'll know more once I take a look at the film and seeing how the overall play went. We just have to execute our plays. We should not be in that close of a position and not get in the end zone. We just have to punch it in."

Similarly, it looked like there was confusion on a timeout at fourth-and-goal, do you know what that confusion was about?

"It was just that everything was going on at a time. We didn't really get the play call in. The play-call registered. I don't really know."

How frustrating is it to be that close to converting and not being able to finish?

"It is very frustrating, anytime we are that close and don't get in. We feel like we have the playmakers to get in the end zone and a good enough offense to drive the ball in and score. We are frustrated every time we don't get in."

Are you worried about Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook?

"I know that Dalvin is going to bounce back. I don't know how serious the injury is, but we will just keep him in our prayers and hopefully he is okay and come back."

Have you communicated with him?

"No. I haven't talked to him yet. I have been trying to get dressed and come over here but definitely will talk to him when I get on the bus. Hopefully he is high spirited. He knows that all of the teammates have his back and is with him every step of the way. Hopefully he is good and comes back with us."

If he has to miss some time will that add emphasis to the importance of the passing game?

"Not at all. We have a dominant back in [Vikings RB Alexander] Matt [Mattison] who can tote it anytime of the day. We are confident in him. Next man up if Dalvin doesn't return. We are just going to keep playing football."

On the last play of the game did you feel like you were open?

"Yes. I feel like I gave myself an opportunity to get the ball. We just have to connect and make the first down."

You looked a little frustrated after that play, was that the circumstances of the game, or was it because of that play or something else?

"I don't like to lose. I am a competitor, I love to win and I love this game. Anytime we don't come out on top, we fall short, especially when we feel like we didn't play the game that we wanted to, it is always frustrating."

Kick return, second of the year, what does it bring to the sidelines and the offense when the team is down?

"Any type of big play like that gives us momentum, gives us the energy, gives us the confidence to go out there and still compete in the game. He is a dynamic player. He is fast, he has that vision."

What has he shown in practice, in the back field taking more snaps?

"He has been doing great in practice. He has been the same way, exploding every single time that he touches the ball, running through the play. He is a dynamic back and we are definitely glad that we have him."

Vikings LB Eric Kendricks


How tough was it to stop the 49ers on the ground today?

"It was a physical game today. The refs let us play. Hats off to them. I respect them. They came with it. We knew their run game was really good. It's very complex, very confusing. They know it. They have a lot of people who can run the ball: [San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel] 19, [San Francisco 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk] 44. He had a couple of catches, that tight end. But it was about eliminating that and we didn't do it."

How much tougher is that challenge when you're missing all four of your defensive line starters?

"It's very tough, but I feel like the guys who stepped up for them, they played their hearts out today. I got a lot of respect for those people on the defense. That game was not easy. We fought. It sucks losing, sucks getting ran on like that. But it's inspiring to know the guys are working hard, stepping up, studying, getting after it, and battling the whole game. So I'm proud of them."

How tough was that stretch? They basically scored three touchdowns in the span of four minutes and nine seconds. Got the one right at the end of the first half and then two, so it goes from 14-7 to 20-14. How difficult was that to keep up with?

"It's difficult, you know? I feel like we've been struggling a little bit in the two-minute drill before the half. And then right when we come back in those very situations, we have to find ways to get off the field. Obviously the longer the drive, the more tired you get. So we have to be cautious about that. Get some stops early and play ball. Make plays."

It seems all season long, someone's gone down or someone's injured. What is it about this team that can keep bouncing back no matter what issue is hitting you?

"I think we just have to have faith. We have to have faith that things are going to start going our way. We've been putting in the work. We have a really talented squad. I'm just ready to get back after it."



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