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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, other 49ers react to 13-0 win vs. Saints

Nov 27, 2022 at 7:56 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and others spoke with reporters after Sunday's 13-0 win against the New Orleans Saints. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"Alright guys, injuries. [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] did not return, I think a possible sprained MCL. [OL] Spencer Burford left with an ankle, he didn't return. [RB Christian] McCaffrey left with a knee irritation, came back. [WR] Deebo [Samuel] with a quad contusion, he came back."

Is that the same sprained MCL for Elijah?

"No, a different one."

Preliminarily, is it feared to be as serious as the first one?

"No, it's not."

How about with Burford? Do you have any idea of the severity yet?

"They said they thought it was a lateral one, which is much better than a high one, but it was too bad to go back in though. That's all we know now."

Shutouts are hard to come by in this league. What do you think about the way your defense played?

"Oh, they were unbelievable today. I thought they had a chance to do well, but they even surpassed that. [New Orleans Saints QB Andy] Dalton made a couple of big throws, two of those posts, getting inside the I believe five twice and our D coming up with no points on that. Them having to go for it, they were great getting the two turnovers. Big time day by them."

What did you see from the offense today?

"It was a grind, man. I give a lot of credit to their defense. We had an idea coming in that it could be like that, but I also think we didn't play our best either. When you go against a defense like that, we thought it would be tough, but we believe we should have scored on those red zone attempts that we had. A couple missed opportunities, couple mistakes, too many penalties it seemed like, but what you saw in the fourth quarter, once it came away with no points and some of the injuries our guys had, it was great that our guys just came, kept coming back out, grinded it out and were able to finish with the ball in our hands."

How frustrating is it when you get inside the 10, inside the five with all these weapons and you can't get the ball inside the end zone?

"It's always frustrating."

To have WR Jauan Jennings come through like he did with, he's not the guy that mostly gets talked about on this offense with all the players that you have, but the one drive that ended with the touchdown and then the last one to put the game away. What did you think of that?

"Oh, it was huge. To get down there on the third-and-one in the second quarter, he had the big explosive on the out came again I think in the fourth quarter with that, so we could run the clock out. Had that real good catch on the touchdown, Jauan's clutch for us and he kept us out on the field a couple times and got us those points."

What were your thoughts on DL Nick Bosa's sack on fourth-and-goal and did you kind of just feel it was inevitable that he was going to get there?

"Usually it's a matter of time. That was a great time to do it. I thought he was getting close. He's always having to battle that every play with the chips and just those guys doing whatever they can to block him, but he was moving all day and that was a big time play by him to get that sack when he did."

What was your view of the hit on QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the one that drew the flag and will he need to get looked at further? Any testing or anything like that?

"Yeah, Jimmy, he took some hits today. I don't have anything exactly on him, but I know he is sorer than usual, so we'll check him up in here and see how he is tomorrow, but he had a very gutty performance and I know he got hit a bunch in this game and I didn't see the hit on that, I was looking down the field, but when I looked back and he was on the ground, you could tell it was pretty physical just by his reaction and I thought there was a couple more on him in the game that I heard, but no, Jimmy had a real tough game."

QB Brock Purdy started warming up right after that, was that just maybe Jimmy might have to come out?

"Yeah, because maybe. He looked banged up a little bit. We don't get to talk to him right at that time and he was a little slow to get up and right when that happens, we tell our guys to get loose just in case, but Jimmy was able to stay out there and regain his composure and I want to say we went down and got a field goal on that drive too."

When you said before that you thought it was a grind and you thought it might be, why did you think that?

"Just because of how good they looked on film all week. Especially getting some of their guys back, I was definitely glad [New Orleans Saints CB Marshon] Lattimore didn't come back, but getting 92 [New Orleans Saints DL Marcus Davenport] and 94 [New Orleans Saints DL Cam Jordan] back make a huge difference and that's what we saw on them big time earlier in the year when they were all out there and they've always been like that too. Just going against [New Orleans Saints head coach] Dennis' [Allen] teams and Dennis' defenses."

You threw it 28 times in the first half, another aerial show for you, did you know that going in or was it another one of those where the front was loaded again against the run?

"It's a little bit of both. They play very good run defense and good pass defense. I think they're third in the league in the pass defense, but they were coming out pretty stout against the run and we thought we had to soften them up a little bit. They played a lot of zone, so hit a number of check downs with that, got a couple big plays. And then in the second half we knew we needed to get our run game going, especially watching the way our defense was. There came a certain point in that game where I felt if we didn't turn the ball over, we were going to win."

It seems like teams have no answers for what defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is doing right now on defense, would you say he's in the zone? How impressed are you with him?

"I'm as impressed with DeMeco as I always am. I was this impressed last year and nothing's changed."

In the second half you ran down the sidelines towards the ref, what were you trying to do? Explain a call or?

"No, I was just asking why you didn't call something that I thought I saw."

What was the play call on the fourth-and-one where Jimmy… was that a draw or?

"No, it was a pass to the flat to hit [TE George] Kittle. We were supposed to have a little rub route on there and we didn't get that. The guy took Juice [Kyle Juszczyk] away and then we got [WR Brandon Aiyuk] B.A. in the back corner and I think we had [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud] coming across. I didn't end up seeing that. I'm not exactly sure what happened once Jimmy didn't get Kittle in the flat. It looked like he saw an opening and just tried to run it, but that was a pass play."

You called Jimmy over several times to the sideline, you don't usually do that, was that an earpiece thing or?

"Yeah, the headset was going in and out there, especially on the last drive. Didn't have time to change it, so it just gets a little… it's like talking on a cell phone with bad service, so there was a couple of things that I just wanted to make sure he heard me on."

With the emotion of Monday night, short week, strange week, you'd almost expect that to show up more defensively where players are playing with emotion and running to the ball. Does that make it almost more impressive that with all the disadvantages that the defense was able to play as well as it did?

"I think those would've been excuses if we didn't, but I wasn't expecting that at all during the week. We had to take it a little easier on the guys this week with full-speed reps, so we didn't do anything full speed until Friday, but man, our Friday practice was the fastest, most aggressive practice I've seen on us this year. I really wasn't worried about that from our guys. I understood the situation coming in, but by the time we got to Friday, it felt like that was all over."

With Mitchell out maybe a couple weeks at least, where do you feel you are as far as your backups behind Christian?

"I feel good. I think [RB Jordan Mason] J.P. came in there and did a really good job there at the end. They had every single person trying to stop the run and I think you guys saw how hard-nosed he is and how he ran it and was able to keep us out there on the field and not give it back and put the D out there again. And [RB] Ty [Davis-Price] we've been wanting to get Ty up. He just has lost to J.P. with special teams, so we'll see how Elijah goes. Most likely Elijah will be out a little bit. It will give opportunities for those guys. Hopefully Christian will be alright too."

Was his [McCaffrey's] knee irritation something that just happened today?

"Yeah, something today, during the game."

How do you feel? Running out the final 6:18 of a game, do you feel pretty good?

"Yeah, real good. Especially how hard it was to run the ball versus those guys today. They were doing a great job stopping the run. I think you guys could see by our yards per carry and we struggled a little bit on third down, we didn't get any big ones, so that whole time we're thinking of some passes to come back with if they score, but they never scored. So you keep trying to control that clock and it was very great to not give that ball back to them because that was the first time we were able to impose our will on them. With just running the ball when they knew we were."

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

How does the knee feel? What was your view on that hit when it happened? Were you pretty upset?

"It is football, but I mean, there's just, you have to be smart as players, look out for one another. I mean, there's no place for that. But, no, I'm alright. A little sore, but nothing bad."

Did you have a few words for him?

"Not really. He just sprinted off the field. He didn't really say anything. I think he knew what it was, but it's just, I mean, as players we have to be smart for one another."

Did your knee buckle at all? Did it tighten up during the game?

"It wasn't bad. Just a little sore. It's nothing serious, but yeah just football, man."

QB Brock Purdy started warming up and head coach Kyle Shanahan said there was a chance that you might not be able to go. In your mind, was there a chance that you weren't coming back in the game?

"No, I was staying in the game. I knew what type of game it was. I mean, that's what it was all day. That wasn't the only hit that was questionable like that. Throughout the whole game it was like that. But that was football. It was a gritty game. Proud of the guys today, just how they fought through all the adversity that was thrown at us. I mean, it was all types of adversity and we just kept going. I think that was a good win for us."

You threw 28 times in the first half. Last week, you threw it a lot. Do you get a sense that Kyle is feeling comfortable if the front is the way it looks, that they can put the ball in your hands for a while?

"Yeah, I think especially when you have playmakers like we've got. It's very enticing to throw the ball when you got a lot, five good options like that, even six coming off the bench, seven, it's a lot of fun. So, we're on a good streak right now. We just have to keep that thing going."

With all the options that you do have, WR Jauan Jennings is one that isn't talked about a ton based on the profile of the other guys you've got. The one drive he got you guys down there basically. What makes you comfortable throwing to him?

"I see it every day in practice. I've seen it for multiple years now even. When you have a guy like that who does it every day in practice, is reliable, wants the ball, you could see the competitiveness. I mean, every play he's in, Jauan is busting his ass. And as a quarterback, you love having a guy like that. So just the trust and reliability from Jauan goes a long way from me."

Since you guys have gotten RB Christian McCaffrey, it seems you've been moving the ball into the low red zone pretty frequently, but this game and two weeks ago you were struggling to score when you get down there. Why do you think that is?

"This is a hell of a defense. I know the Saints record is what it is, but that defense is good at every level. From D-Line to secondary, they have playmakers, so we knew this whole week coming off the short week, it's a good defense. We knew it was going to be difficult, but it just is what it is. We just have to find a way to get that ball in the end zone. And we did it once today, it was a big one, but we just have to do it more going forward, more consistently."

As far as Jauan, is he particularly good or dangerous when you see man-to-man and do you think okay that's a matchup I like?

"Yeah, I mean, it's hard to play man against Jauan. He's big, he's quick. He's physical. When he gets the ball in his hands, he's hard to bring down. Not trying to pump him up too much there. But no, he does a lot of good things. He separates at the top of his routes and as a quarterback, it's easy to read his body language and things. So, I thought the skill positions across the board today stepped up big. Guys were making plays just in different moments. And Jauan, when his number was called, was ready."

When New Orleans Saints DB Chris Harris Jr. hit WR Jauan Jennings, before that touchdown he had the late hit on Jauan out of bounds. Do you notice that Jauan can annoy defensive backs with his physicality?

"Yeah, I think [WR] Jauan [Jennings] made him fall on that route too. I'm not positive on that, but I just saw the release from Jauan and I mean, it was filthy. That's a good damn nickelback, Chris Harris. So, for Jauan to do that to him, that was a hell of a route, man. Yeah, I think I'd get annoyed trying to tackle Jauan. It's hard, man. It's not easy bringing a big guy like that down. And all of our guys play like that, and I think it just wears out teams."

It seems like WR Brandon Aiyuk's route running is at a different level than it has been. He's gotten a lot of separation. Are you noticing that too?

"Yeah, he's very confident. Just the way he carries himself, I've said this before, but B.A. is just growing and maturing as a player so much. Every game, every practice even just, he's committed to this thing. The confidence is coming and he's letting you know about it."

When the defense is playing at this level, how does it change the level of confidence that you guys have? Maybe not to be as tight or anything like that?

"It's tremendous. And you could feel it too. You could feel it, especially when the crowd was getting going there a little bit towards the end. To hold the team to a goose egg in the NFL, that ain't easy, especially a couple of the short fields that they had. But we've got hell of a defense, man. I love playing with those guys. They're some dogs out there."

Four straight wins. You're solo atop the NFC West. Where do you feel this team is right now?

"We've got to get healthy first. This was a tough game for us physically, just getting after a little bit. But I think we're in a good spot. Got to keep this thing rolling, man. Just stay focused. Stay head down, just keep working. It's not going to be easy, but we're made for this."

It's the question you love about the pick that was nullified. What did you see on that play? Did that guy surprise you or did something with the illegal contact affect that whole play?

"Yeah, I mean [WR Ray-Ray McCloud III] Ray had the shallow, dude knocked him off his route. I didn't see it at the time, so I'm trying to talk to Ray-Ray about it very calmly and yeah then I saw the flag, so then I kind of knew what was up. But yeah, I showed off the wheels a little bit there, caught that DB."

49ers DL Nick Bosa

Is this feeling like the 2019 San Francisco 49ers defense, or possibly and eventually better?

"We're on our way for sure. We made it far that year and every single year, we want to get better. I think we have the guys who can do it definitely. And everybody who's still here is a lot better since that year, so we definitely could be better."

When the 49ers are getting down to the goal line on those goal line stands, what's the energy like in the middle?

"Everybody was pretty even keel today. Sometimes, the moment gets big and guys will make a mistake or press a little too much. I liked how the defense just kept taking it one play at a time. Everybody was making plays so it was a really good group effort."

When you see Saints RB Alvin Kamara's stat like of seven carries for 13 yards, what does that say about your run defense?

"It says mission accomplished. That's the type of game we expected. We expected them to get the run game going and then doing it with [Saints TE] Taysom Hill. Whenever you do that, you're making a team one dimensional against us and that's tough for them."

When offenses focus on you with their blocking schemes, what's the biggest adjustment you have to make when you know you're going to get a lot of different looks and chips?

"Just moving around, trying to get rushes off of chips and when they're not chipping, they're just standing in the way and releasing to where you want to get. I just continue to watch tape on guys who deal with that and see how you could still affect the game."

49ers LB Dre Greenlaw

What goes through your mind on the defense when you see the offense go out and score points on their first drive?

"Man, when you see offense go out there and score points on the first drive, that's immediately what we think of is, 'okay, they're not going to score any more points."

What are the conversations like when the opposing offense gets close to the red zone, especially toward the end of the game?

"Yeah, all we need is a blade of grass. That's what we were telling each other on the field, we're telling each other 'not us, they're not scoring on us.' That's our mindset. I feel like everybody, all 11 guys that are on that field, are going to play together as one. That's what it takes in order for us to go out there and keep stopping them down near the red zone like that. They're a good team man, so they were able to get down there. But having all 11 guys on one accord and one page, it makes the game a lot easier. We were able to get to stop."

What was your vantage point on the play were the Saints fumbled near the end zone?

"I saw [Saints QB] Andy [Dalton] make eyes with [Saints RB Alvin Kamara] 41, so I knew he was going to throw the ball to him. He was fighting hard to try to get to the end zone and I was thinking 'okay, I might have to just suplex him or something. He was still fighting and as soon as I was actually thinking that my teammates came in with crazy effort. I think it was [49ers S Talanoa Hufanga] Huff that actually made the tackle, he came in and popped the ball out. So I looked in the air, I saw the ball like 30 feet in the air, and I thought, 'oh, snap.' I'm trying to go get the ball, then I saw one of their guys catch the ball as I'm trying to react to go get it, and then he drops it. It was like Christmas, I was just right there so I had to grab it and yeah, it was a crazy, crazy series of players."

49ers WR Jauan Jennings

On offense, we've got so many good parts so you kind of have to wait your turn, but all of your turns came in one of the most important parts of the game. How did that drive feel and what can you tell us about the touchdown?

"Oh man, it felt awesome. That whole entire drive, I was just locked in, focused on making the plays when the opportunity comes my way, I just want to make them."

Do you like the term third and Jennings?

"I like the term third and Jauan. I like that one. But yeah, I do."

What is it about third downs that enable you to do what you do?

"A lot of teams like to play man to man on third downs and that's where that's like one of my strengths. I beat man to man."

Can you tell us about the touchdown play? What your assignment was on it, what you saw?

"Oh, my assignment was just to run a simple corner route. I was running to the pylon, and I saw the safety go away from me. So, I knew [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] was going to come to me. And when I looked back, the ball was in the air and I was so excited. I'm thinking it's just going to drop in and it got tipped and it was just a lot of events. Ultimately, it was a touchdown. I was happy."

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey

How good is this one feel knowing that obviously you did just enough and the defense is playing lights?

"Yes. It feels great. Defense is unbelievable. I know offensively, obviously we want to put more points on the board, but I think closing the game out there at the end there and four minute was awesome. And just being able to score more points than them. So sometimes ugly wins are still wins, I guess they always are, but still wins. So pumped up about it."

A lot of people were expecting you guys to move the ball more against the same thing. The first half get more offensive ones there. Were they tougher than people were expecting?

"Probably. I played against that team a lot. That's one of the best defenses in the league. I don't care what the numbers say. They are always going to be good and they gave us a lot of different looks and different fronts and obviously they have a lot of really good players as well. So we knew it was going to be tough. And obviously when your defense plays like that, it makes it better to be able to pull those ones out."

What kind of confidence does having that defense give you guys on offense? To know that just put something on the board and it's probably going to be enough.

"Yes. Obviously, it feels great. We, as an offense have a lot of pride in wanting to win it on our side of the ball, but this is a team game and those guys did a hell of a job."

49ers WR Deebo Samuel

Saints hadn't been shut out since 2001. The 49ers were actually the last team to shut them out back in 2001. What were you doing in 2001?

"What? I was like five years old in 2001, so I don't remember."

So with that being said, what can you say about your defense today and how they've played throughout this season?

"That's just kind of something we see every day. We know the mentality they go out there with trying to get a stop on every down. So, kudos to our defense."

With how well your defense has been playing, does that take some of the pressure off you guys to score?

"We always want to score, but when we don't, we know how the defense has got our back and vice versa. If they can't get a stop, we'll go out there and we'll get their back. So it's just the mentality we go out there with."

Seems like QB Jimmy Garoppolo took some hits today in that back field. Is he doing alright?

"Yeah, he's good man."

49ers CB Charvarius Ward

So how does it feel to get that first shutout of the season?

"It feels great. Our defense was playing up to our potential and our ability. We did our thing today. We just have to keep it up."

Along with that shutout, the 49ers also have, I think, four straight games without giving up a touchdown in the second half. Those stops in the red zone, how much was that on your guys?

"That's just a testament to our fight. We just need one blade of grass. No matter where they are on the one, two or three yard line. We just have to fight. We're going to continue to fight, not let them get in the end zone no matter how close they get to it."

With about six minutes left and the Saints are sitting on first-and-goal at the four, how much is the shutout going through your mind?

"I really wasn't paying attention to the scoreboard. I just wanted to win the game, you know what I'm saying? No matter how many plays they make, we need to make more plays than they make. So that's our mentality."

How big is it to open this three-game homestand with a win?

"It's great. Good momentum. We got four wins in a row right now. We have to keep doing our thing."

49ers DB Jimmie Ward

How special is this unit right now, or the entire month of November? They didn't allow a single point, or you didn't allow a single point in the second half.

"I think it's outstanding to go out there and shut out a NFL team, guys who getting paid a lot of money to go and score points. What we've been doing over the last couple of weeks, helping our offense, shutting them out second half, and this game we just shut them out. So hopefully, we keep leading on this, feeding on this type of energy, and keep playing lights out throughout the season."

You mentioned trying to help out the offense when they're kind of struggling like they did today, do you feel like you guys have got to step up a little bit more?

"I didn't even realize the offense was struggling, just because they couldn't score. I liked what I saw with the offense. They were running the ball pretty well, but I'm not going to say the offense was struggling just because the Saints have a pretty good defense. I know their record doesn't show too much, but the defense is pretty nice. They've got some great players on the defense. So, going into this game we knew it wasn't going to be sweet for our offense. Our offense is pretty good, we've got some play makers, but they have play makers too."

When San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo came back earlier in the year, San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said it feels like 49ers football, how we've been doing this for years, he's talking offensively. Defensively, what is 49ers football?

"Physical. We do our talking with our pads. Well, we've got a few people that talk a little bit. I don't talk that much. I probably talk outside of football, but once the pads come on I don't really say too much. So, just aggressive defense, and we're team players, people who want to do their job, and just love and care about football."

49ers LB Fred Warner

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday he saw the team have great energy at practice and called it one of the best practices of the week. With everything going on the way the week started, when did you start to feel your legs get back or the energy return?

"Kyle did a great job all week handling how we went about practicing and getting us recovered. We did some walkthrough practice. We're fully capable of doing that and still being intentional, still going out there and getting good work in. We have a lot of professionals and leadership on this team to be able to go out there and not lolly gag and to make sure we have intent with what we're doing. I feel like every single day, we had great practices. You mention that Friday practice, I felt great with where we were at."

The three second half shutouts were great, but you need to do it for a full game.

"It feels great. Our goal every week is to shut them out. It's easier said than done. This one was really special because of the way we had to get it. It's not like the Saints were behind the 50 all game. They were right there sniffing the goal line multiple times. For guys to stand up, time slows down in those moments. You're looking at your teammates in the eyes and saying, 'We have to pull this off.' These are the ones you remember forever."

The 49ers are executing really well. It also seems as though 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans is taking his game planning and play calling to another level. You get the calls every play. Is that the case?

"Yeah, he's tremendous. Every week the game plan he puts together and the game plan the other coaches put together is on point. They make it easy for us. We just go out and execute every week. We're intentional in how we practice and how we meet through the week. It's no surprise that we go out and do what we do on Sundays."

You said time can stand still when you're out there. Is there a play that jumps out to you? In this game?

"There's a lot of plays. Like being backed up on the one goal line stand when [49ers S] Talanoa Hufanga came out of nowhere, [49ers LB] Dre Greenlaw comes out of nowhere, pops the ball up and I see that ball flying over my head. I saw their tight end catch it and then [49ers DL] Hassan Ridgeway comes, knocks it out at him and it's all over the ground. Those moments are just insane. You're dead tired and trying to figure out a way and then we get on it. It was fun after that."

Saints Heach Coach Dennis Allen

Opening comments:

"Okay. Disappointing loss. We came out here to win a game and I thought we competed against a good team but at the end of the day, we didn't make enough plays and there were plays out there to be made. We didn't make enough plays. And look, you have to give them credit. I mean, obviously, they have a really good football team offensively, defensively, in the kicking game. They made enough plays to win the game. I felt like there were some opportunities out there for us and we didn't take advantage of them."

Are you talking about on offense, defense, both?

"Well, I think primarily there were some plays offensively that were there to be made and we didn't take advantage of it."

What description did you get from the officials on the play that was overturned in the first half?

"Well, I'm going to be honest with you. I don't know what a catch is in our league anymore. It's kind of changed multiple times. Their explanation to me was that he didn't survive the ground. So yeah, I don't know what a catch is."

You mentioned not making plays, but turnovers were big in this game. How frustrating is that to see repeatedly this season and in a game like this?

"Yeah. Frustrating. Especially in a game like this. You start the game off and on the first drive you put the ball on the ground and you're down three to nothing against a good team on the road. And then obviously we had another one down there in the red area where we're down there on about the two yard line. So yeah. That's frustrating because we had some opportunities and you're not going to beat a good team unless you make the plays that are there to be made. And if you turn the football over, you're not going to beat a good team."

Dennis, when you got back there a few minutes later inside the five, it was four straight passing attempts. Was that an indication that this team just wasn't letting you run the ball there or you weren't running the ball well?

"Yeah, it was a struggle to run the ball against these guys. And we knew going into it that they were a good run defense. We tried to call the plays that we thought gave us an opportunity to score. I felt like there was potentially a missed call down there on [New Orleans Saints WR] Jarvis [Landry] when we missed him in the end zone, which would've been a big call in the end zone. But yeah, certainly we had our opportunities down there in the red area and weren't able to capitalize."

We've talked so much about all the things, the buy-in and the confidence, keeping morale and spirit up. When you have a game at this point in the season where you score zero points, is that really frustrating and really hard to deal with?

"Well, I think that's frustrating and hard to deal with in any part of the season, you know? Yeah, it is. But look, it happened and we have to move on from it. We have to learn from it and we have to make sure that we're better from it."

I think it was that sequence, you get the interception, obviously called back, but close call on illegal contact.

"Yeah, I don't agree with the call. And I don't know exactly where we had the ball at. I want to say it was down there, 10 yard line, something like that. It was a big play in the game. A huge play in the game. And a total momentum changing call in the game."

You referenced the shutout, but this seemed like a game where at any point you could really turn the tide quickly because of the amount of chances you were getting.

"We had a lot of chances. You know, we had a lot of chances. We had the ball in our hands a couple of times in the end zone and couldn't come up with the play. We're going to go back and look at this tape, but I feel like we gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to win this game. And look, you have to give them credit. They made the plays when they needed to make the plays. So, I don't want to take anything away from them because I think they're an outstanding football team. But I feel like there were some plays out there that we could have made that could have been the difference in the game."

The false start right on fourth down play. It seems like the false starts in general have kind have been an issue for the team this year. How much did that one specifically hurt you?

"Well, we went from going for it on fourth down to attempting a field goal and we didn't hit the field goal, so it affected us in that way. Yeah."

What was your plan with New Orleans Saints CB Alontae Taylor and New Orleans Saints CB Bradley Roby? Was it just kind of switch out series by series?

"Yeah, look, we were kind of rotating through there a little bit and it's actually a good problem to have when you have good players and I think both Roby and Alontae, and hopefully [New Orleans Saints CB] Marshon [Lattimore] will be back. I think when we have everybody healthy it's a pretty good group back there. Yeah, we're trying to find snaps for everybody."

Do you feel like you all came into this game knowing the kind of game it was going to take to win?

"Yeah, and look, I feel like we played the game the way the game needed to be played. There are just some plays there that we have to make, that make the difference in the game. The incompletion to [New Orleans Saints WR] Chris [Olave] I think was a big play. There's a couple of balls that are in the end zone that we have an opportunity to catch potentially. Now they're good plays, it's not like they're just easy, necessarily, but to beat a good team like that, those are the plays that you have to make".

Having false starts and fumbles, I feel like it feels like the questions we were asking after some close games in September. Did those two areas really stick, with false starts and fumbles being part of what sabotaged those drives?

"Yeah. I mean, you can't turn the ball over and certainly penalties hurt, and they hurt us in those instances."

You've had some injuries on the offensive line, but what do you account for the struggles running the ball over the last few games overall?

"Well, I'd have to go back and look at all the statistics, but I know we've played some pretty good run defenses. I feel like we ran the ball fairly effectively last week. Look, we knew they're the number one defense in the National Football League, and they're that way for a reason. They do a good job stopping the run. They do a good job of stopping the pass. So, you know they made the plays that they had to make today and we didn't. Okay, thanks."

Saints QB Andy Dalton

Did it feel like, especially in that second half, you guys were able to move the ball effectively, but you just couldn't finish some drives?

"Yeah, that's what it came down to. We weren't able to finish them, and we had opportunities to make plays today, and we did not capitalize on it and that affected the whole outcome of the game."

A pivotal play in the first half was New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave's catch and then they wrote it incomplete. What did you see on that play and how surprised were you that they overturned that?

"I didn't get to see a great look at the replay. I saw it live and I thought he took several steps, and then when he hit the ground the ball came out. So, I thought it would've been a catch and down right there, but I guess they saw something different."

Is it hard to know what to catch anymore? I mean, it seems like you get asked that every year.

"Yeah, I feel like you think you could establish making a football move. That going up and catching it and taking a couple steps will get it done, but they obviously saw something different."

It seems like one of the consistent themes for this team this year, has just been you all hurting yourself, whether it's the pre-snap penalties, or fumbles. How do you stop that stuff from snowballing to where it has been?

"Yeah, I think everybody's got to look at themself, and go out there and expect that they're going to get their job done and do it right. That's kind of where we're at. We've been close. I mean, we moved the ball really well in this game, and as crazy it is to say when you don't score a point, there's a lot of positive things that we did today, but we weren't able to finish, and we left a lot of plays out there."

Do you feel instinctive in that regard, like you have the positive things against a really good defense and that it's just still results in no points?

"Yeah, that's the frustrating thing. This game could have been a lot different if we capitalized on those opportunities, but we didn't do that today."

How crippling is it when you fumble at the one-yard line when you're going in to make it a one score game?

"You can't do that against a good team like this and a good defense. It's just another opportunity that was missed."

Where's the mindset of the team right now? How do you feel like the team is reacting to the season so far?

"Yeah, the crazy thing with where we're at is there's still stuff out in front of us, and we still have something to play for. And so, like the game today it's frustrating, because there's missed opportunities, especially with how the division shook out today. The good thing is we are sticking together, and we know what's out in front of us. We know that if we play the way we know we can play good things can happen. Our big focus will be this next week and finding a way to win in Tampa on Monday night."

Saints DB Chris Harris Jr.

What did you understand about the explanation for the last holding penalty?

"Yeah, that was crazy. It was a routine play. He was just running clear out. I just did my regular press, regular play and they called a PI (Pass Interference). I mean, the dude wasn't even running. I wasn't even running. They called it after he picked it and already ran down the field. I felt bad, because I thought he had scored. I thought he had the pick six, but that's the only reason I felt bad on him."

Did you want more partially officiated games? I feel like there were flags every other play.

"That's how it can be on the road, man. When you're on the road, you've got to face the umpires, you've got to face the players and the fans. So, that's how I am on the road."

It seems like they're one of those crews that just calls big--?

"No, we tried to play tight, we tried to play aggressive, and my PI was on taking away his pick six. That was one of the worst ones I've had in the league for sure."

Saints QB Taysom Hill

Obviously a tough game out there today, but we saw you line up all over the field, flexed out, as a wing, at quarterback. Talk about your role with this team and how that's developed over the season?

"Yes. I think every week's a little bit different. You kind of look at the game plan and see where you're going to be. I have had a lot of fun. I've done a lot of unique things and it's whatever you can do to help the team win football games. That is what it's all about and it's been fun."

So we've talked a lot about this, you and I, how you've had to transition back and forth between the core back room, the Tight end room. Talk about that. It's pretty unique. Most guys have just one specific room, but you kind of bounce all over the place. Talk about your preparation throughout the week and getting ready for a game and kind of what that looks like?

"Yes. I have to become very hyper focused on what they're asking me to do. So it's hard for me to fully dive into what the quarterbacks are doing, what the tight ends are doing, because of how unique my role is. So I've become very hyper focused on where I'm going to be, what I'm going to be asked to do. It's one of those things that I've just learned to deal, I figured a process that works for me and, you still kind of make it work when you get hit in the hand or something, and then coach calls something down the field for you in the middle of the game. But we've been able to make it

So we saw you chatting with San Francisco 49ers LB Fred Warner before the game. You guys played three seasons together at BYU. Talk about that relationship and kind of how it played out throughout the game.

"I've got a lot of respect for Fred. You go back to college and playing Fred every day in practice. He was a great football player. I'm not surprised to see all the success that he's had in the NFL. He's a guy that just gets better and better every year. It's hard to think of somebody that's playing better than him right now at that position."

Saints WR Chris Olave

The incompletion in the first half obviously surprised yourself and your teammates. What did you think of that play?

"It was a tough play, but I have to play to a higher standard. I have to complete the catch. I have to hold it until I hit the ground."

Did you think it was a catch?

"Oh yeah, for sure. I thought it was a catch, but they overturned it so we just had to move on from there."

Did you feel like that was the story of the day? You guys came close on several plays and just couldn't convert for whatever reason?

"I don't think so. We played a great team. San Francisco is a great team but we had a lot of opportunites we had to capitalize on and we just didn't come down with them. So we have to be accountable, go back to the drawing board and get better."

Is it hard for you as a receiver to understand what the rules are on a catch? It seemed it was pretty clear.

"I thought so too, but I guess that's the game. Like I said, I have to complete the catch and hold it to the ground and just try to take care of the ball. That's the name of the game, so I just have to hold it to the ground and make sure it's completed."

Saints C/G Cesar Ruiz

What do you feel like you should have done better today on offense?

"Just keep consistent drives really. Just keep drives flowing and not really shoot ourselves in the foot. Keep drives alive, not shoot ourselves in the foot and have those self-inflicted wounds."

It felt like a game. And I know New Orleans Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen was saying it, a game where you guys were close, you were in it the whole time. You were a couple plays away here and there, but then you shot yourselves in the foot. It's false starts, it's fumbles. Is it frustrating that those were all the same things we were kind of talking about in September?

"Yeah, it's definitely frustrating. Definitely those are things, that you put an emphasis on the correct when they happen. I guess obviously it's frustrating."

You guys have come back from another, what felt like disheartening moments of the season before. How does getting shut out? When you take two steps forward and then you take a step back like this, how can you recover from this?

"I obviously don't feel good, right. The way you come back from this is, go back the next week. and really it's not like our focus and preparation was bad. Just like I said, those self-inflicted wounds. Just lock in come into work next week. Just keep going with the game plan. Just execute our game plan. It's really what we have to do."


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