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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy, other 49ers react to 37-20 win vs. Commanders

Dec 24, 2022 at 7:44 PM

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Brock Purdy, and others spoke with reporters after Saturday's 37-20 win against the Washington Commanders. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening Comments:

"The only thing we had from the game, Mooney [CB Charvarius Ward] went in, reported some nausea, they checked him out on everything and he ended up being alright though, so go ahead."

What happened with RB Jordan Mason at the beginning of the game?

"I didn't get to see it, but the guy got tripped up and went low on him. I think he got more scared than anything, thought it was going to be his knee for a little bit and by the time he jogged off and told me, they came back like five seconds later and said he was alright."

When you said Mooney got checked of everything, you mean a like concussion?

"Well, he just told us that he was feeling nauseous and so once he told us that with what happened last week, we sent him into the doctor, so they went through all that stuff and he ended up being fine."

Jordan Mason came in with the hamstring. Did RB Ty Davis-Price play ahead of him just because he was a little banged up?

"Yes, just these last couple days. Just his hammy being tight. Not being sure if he was going to be able to go until yesterday, so we just switched the order of the two."

We ask about DL Nick Bosa all the time, but what's it like as a head coach to have a guy you just know is going to make plays?

"It's a lot better than when you don't feel like anyone is, that's not fun in that situation. To have Nick on defense is great. We got so many players out there, but always when you have a pass rusher who's as good as Nick, those are the guys who have the best way to change the game. On that last drive, it's so hard for me because I have to do my job and take them out and I know he's going to look at me right away when I do that because he wants to keep adding up his sacks, but I had to do that for the Niners."

Will he start a petition to try to get 2-point conversion sacks counted as official sacks?

"I know he will, he works it that hard, so I'm good with all that. I know he could have got more if we left him in on the last drive, but I'm just glad that we know for sure we have him next week."

What was QB Brock Purdy able to do this week that he couldn't do in Seattle, just physically with his injury?

"Just going into the game, I thought I could call keepers both ways if there was a sneak opportunity, I felt alright with that, besides that it was about the same though."

Was the zip affected at all? Just his ability to throw deep down the field or anything like that?

"He's definitely not 100%, so yeah, I think it affects him a little bit."

What's it like to have TE George Kittle playing at this level this late in the season because he played so hard that sometimes toward the end of the year he might be a little worn out but it doesn't look like it now?

"No, he started out the beginning of the year a little banged up, training camp, early in the year. It took him a little time to come back and just get his get back in football shape, but he's playing great right now in the run and pass game and it was awesome to get him some balls and even the one he intercepted from [WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud] was pretty cool too."

Early in the game you guys go for it down there on 10-yard line and then late in the game, you go for it again on fourth-and-three. Was there something about this game that you wanted to be more aggressive or it's just those circumstances?

"No, I thought we should have got it on the third-and-one. I'll see the film, my heart thought we should have got it. And then I felt good about the next play too, so we thought we could get it, liked the look and stuff, we just came up short. There at the end of the game it was just more, what was the difference between 13 or 10? It was still going to be a two-score game and once and I had a little more time to think about it. Actually, once I sent the field goal team on it hit me. Fortunately, I had another time out, so I used that and thought of a play to run on fourth-and-three."

You mentioned the one Kittle took from Ray-Ray McCloud, who was that supposed to go to?


Was it just a bust route? What happened?

"Kittle was supposed to go across the field. Ray-Ray was supposed to run a post. The middle of the field was wide open. Kittle's natural reaction was to go to wide open spots and I think that's probably why Brock hesitated a quick second because it just looked weird with two guys there, but he still let a rip and I'm just glad that Ray-Ray didn't try to intercept it from him at that time."

That run by Ray-Ray, the 71-yard one, is that the same play that you would have set up for WR Deebo Samuel or is it slightly different with him in there?

"No, it's exact same. It's in our dead series. It was fun to install it because I could mess with Deebo last night, it was in the openers, so when I installed it I said, knowing Deebo was in the back, this run has look bad all year, but now we have the right guy on it, so I have a feeling this is going to score and I was definitely being sarcastic, but it was really fun to look for Deebo when it did hit like that."

What was his [Deebo] reaction?

"He looked surprised. I'm like, yeah, this is a lot more fun when you go into motion and I watch 11 guys run over there to play you. They'll probably start doing that for Ray-Ray now though too now."

Are you impressed how much attention RB Christian McCaffrey draws and how that opens up how everybody else in the offense?

"Yes and that's what we expect too, so I hope it's like that it's been like that and I think it should be like that. He does so many good things and when he does have some good looks, he's pretty automatic on it and that's why team's have to make sure he gets as few good looks as possible and that helps out everyone else and we got a lot of guys like that, so that's what helps everybody with each person."

DL Nick Bosa always gets a ton of credit, is seems like DL Jordan Willis also had a really good gang. What did you see from Jordan today?

"I agree. I saw him every time. I noticed him a bunch even there at the end. Jordan, you're not going to hear him talk very much. He's our silent assassin, but you guys saw how he stepped up for us last year and he has his games and I messed with him earlier, but I feel like December is usually his time of year. December, January."

Why was DL Drake Jackson was down today? Was that partly because Willis was playing so well?

"No, that was truly because of just who we were playing. We usually have five edge guys up, four inside guys and we had a feeling they were going to really try to run the ball. They're number one in the league in time of possession that's why they have a real good formula to us. Knowing [DT Javon] Kinlaw was and we didn't want to play too many plays. We had to be careful that if someone did go down, we didn't want [DL Arik] Armstead to have to take too much, so I made the decision to go with five inside guys, which we had to pick one of the guys to be less on the outside and Drake lost to Jordan because of special teams."

Can you take us through the second Kittle touchdown, the one designed for Kittle? It seemed they had a blitz coming. Does Brock check into that play when he sees?

"No, it was the same one that we ran earlier in the game where we called one to McCaffrey and they were blitzed and Brock had a run and I think he just ditched it. I think it was the first third-down or second third-down in the first quarter. It was the same play, we changed the protection a little bit so he could hold on a little bit more, but they ended up bringing zero, so he's got three quick throws on that. He's got Christian, he's got Kittle and he had whoever was on the outside, I think it was [WR] Jauan [Jennings] on the way outside to the left, but he has to make it fast and he was stuck with George, pre-snap leverage and hung in there, put the ball where it had to be and George made a hell of a catch."

Do you see defenses playing you guys much differently than they did when you guys had QB Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback?

"No, not really. I think it's pretty similar."

Some of the players have said that Purdy stepped in without missing a beat, now that he's four weeks in really, three starts in, is there more of a comfort level in terms of the other players and his command of the playbook now?

"Yeah, definitely. They always knew he had command from the beginning, but once you go through these weeks, it's not just the games, but also just getting used to how he is on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the whole routine of the week, meetings, everything him starting to talk to guys, they get more used to the guy and it's been fun."

You have your tell the truth meetings when you go over this game, how much will you be dealing with the short field goals?

"A ton. I felt bad. I was frustrated after the game, but our guys played pretty well too, so I had mixed emotions. I'm a perfectionist as a coach should be, but I was real frustrated in the first half. I thought we came out and played great on defense. I thought we were doing pretty good on offense too. I thought we had some penalties that really hurt us down there in the first half. I thought we had that drop that really hurt us in the first half. Just a couple things where I really believed it should have been 21-0 in the first half coming in. Defense played well and then after we had that turnover that we gave to them, then we made a couple mistakes that allowed them to get seven, so to be in there 7-7 at halftime, I was frustrated. We come out, I thought it was great. We had two explosive drives. I think the first two drives to go 21-7, I felt real good after that and once our defense got a couple turnovers, but anytime we had a short field, we didn't score touchdowns and that's why it should have been a lot worse than it was. I'm still real happy with the guys. That's a really good team we played. Proud of how all three phases played, but anytime you get the ball that much in the red zone and I think only have one touchdown to show for it. That was disappointing."

How do you feel about your secondaries' play?

"I have to always watch with the film. I think they did good enough to win, that was for sure. When Mooney came out, they came in and launched a couple that was way too fast of a score. We have to do better job of making that play. It was both Sammy [DB Samuel Womack III] and Gip [S Tashaun Gipson Sr.], they both were there and had a chance to make the play, but they didn't come down with it. On the keeper that they had in the first half, Huf [S Talanoa Hufanga] was right there for the sack. [Defensive coordinator] DeMeco [Ryans] had a good call. They ran a boot leg right into a blitz and Huf just missed him and they gave up a huge explosive there. They got in for a touchdown, so overall, I was pretty happy."

What do the next couple days look like, will you guys be off entirely tomorrow and then have a normal Monday?

"Yeah, we're off totally tomorrow, which is awesome. It's great for most of the NFL, except for the guys who have to play tomorrow, but to have an eight-day week and for tomorrow to be Christmas is great. Just a day that you don't feel like you're getting behind, it's rare you get to reflect in this league, we got to do it last week with a Thursday night game and we get to do it tomorrow and tonight with our families. Also knowing you're in the playoffs makes it a little bit more fun, but it'll be nice to have a normal week after. Once tomorrow's over, Monday will be a true Monday. We'll bring everyone in. Tuesday will be the player's day off and we'll begin right up there on Wednesday and hopefully we'll find a way to most likely to win these and hopefully find a way to get the two-seed."

How did Javon Kinlaw fare?

"It seemed like he did well. We were trying to play him 10 to 15 plays, I think on that last drive I asked where he was at because he went in there, but he was only at 13 at the time, so I think he got his two more and came out and he came up to me on the sidelines asking if he could play more. He said he feels good and I said, it's not about how you feel today, it's about we want you to play more next week and the following week, so it seemed like a success for his first day back."

You mentioned wanting the two seed, how important was that emphasis this week and what'd you make of the way your team responded knowing that human nature might indicate they might have a letdown this week?

"I didn't talk to them much about the seeds. I just talked to them about how I believe that you can't turn football on and off and yeah, we will be smart and make any decision that we think is smart for our organization, but we're in this position because of who we are and let's not change who we are because we're already in the playoffs. You have to play football the right way. You have to practice the right way and you want to do that every single week. We went over a lot of Seattle stuff where the game seemed well, but it came down to one score and it was because we did make a number of mistakes and I think we still can get a lot better and the only way you get better is by practicing and playing and the goal of day was to go out there and get a win, but also it's always an opportunity to make your team stronger and regardless of what happens, I think we did make it stronger and if we can continue doing that, I think we'll be a better team in the playoffs."

Brock's pick wasn't his fault, but the first half was kind of his only sustained stretch where he didn't do much or have any big plays. How did he handle that or was there any difference?

"I didn't notice. We only had 20 plays in the first half. I think we had nine passes and I think we had one, I don't know what it was, but there was like one 12-play drive, so it seemed like we had one drive where we really played and then the next few drives, I think we threw a pick on the first play when Jauan missed that one and everything else was quick, so it was kind of just more frustrating when we wanted to get out there and get going. That's what we talked about at halftime and that's why I was glad the guys were able to do that in the first drive, second drive of the third quarter."

49ers QB Brock Purdy

Who were you trying to hit on that first touchdown pass?

"[WR] Ray-Ray [McCloud III]."

Were you surprised at all that TE George Kittle was there? Like, did you see him before you let that thing fly?

"Yeah. I saw George go down the middle, but I was just trying to keep the ball really down towards the middle to the left side of the field for Ray-Ray to run away from the corner that he beat. And then all of a sudden George like hit second gear and like stole it basically. But yeah, it was intentionally supposed to go to Ray-Ray."

On the second touchdown. You run a variation of that play where you'd actually pitched it to RB Christian McCaffrey, right, where TE Tyler Kroft comes across. Can you sense in those moments that this is going to be there, they're going to bite on this because you've set it up like that?

"Yeah. I mean, credit to Kyle and just the way our offense is ran. Those kind of things can set up plays like that. And so, I just have that in the back of my mind, like, alright, we've been running this multiple times throughout this game so far, and I'm just going to try to do my job in selling the run and get the edge and hit George or whoever it is coming around. So yeah."

When you were running scout team, how much of a pest was DL Nick Bosa and did that help prepare you for the pressure you're seeing week in, week out now?

"Yeah. Honestly it was frustrating at times, just like dropping back and seeing Nick right in my face and having to make a move almost every play. But honestly, it did help, like in terms of keeping my eyes down the field, there's a pass rush coming, there's guys swiping for the ball, you know, Nick is breathing down my neck almost every play. So, it definitely did help. It helped with my pocket presence and awareness and things like that. And then obviously you get to a defense like today with a great front and that kind of stuff. It's just real, like the pass rush, climbing the pocket all that kind of stuff. So, big credit to all the guys at practice leading up to this point."

We've been saying here for years that that team draws strength and energy from TE George Kittle. Both sides of the ball. Is that something that you picked up on right away, I assume in the last two weeks, it seems like you had, you guys have had a really good connection?

"I mean, just [TE George] Kittle's energy and what he brings to the team every single day. What he just tells the team and stuff in terms of just keeping everything loose. I feel like when, times we sort of feel uptight and whatnot, Kittle is like the guy to put a smile on your face and like say, hey, we're good enough, that kind of thing. Very fortunate to have him in our locker room. He does bring energy and good vibes to everyone, and honestly, I do feel like he gets us back into the zone of playing well. So that's what he does, and I think he's the best in the NFL with just his personality and everything like that too. So, we love George."

Were you able to do more physically today than you could have done last Thursday? I'm talking about that second touchdown where you spun out and around. And would you have been able to do that in Seattle?

"Honestly, I think I did feel it a little bit more against Seattle, so there were some movements, like certain weird movements that I would feel my rib and whatnot. But for this game I felt great honestly. Going into the game and did well with the treatment and everything this whole week leading up to it. So, I did feel better on the run, especially going to my left and everything. I think if coach would've called that kind of stuff in Seattle too, I would've made it happen, either way. t's part of the game."

You've said that you felt ready from when you first came in when QB Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt. Now here we are, your third start still going well, is your comfort level increasing? Do you feel like you're settling in a little bit more or is it all just business as usual?

"Honestly, I just take it as I have a challenge every single week and I have to do it to the best of my ability. I don't really think about I'm getting more and more comfortable or anything like that. I still have that same fire and drive as before I wasn't playing. I want to go in and I want to prove to my teammates and earn the respect every play, every snap, every drive, that kind of mentality. So, I just got to remind myself to not lose that passion and that fire and that it's never easy. Every single game, doesn't matter who we're playing, it's never easy. So that's where I'm at with that."

In the first half, you guys weren't on the field much, it was hard to kind of get in the rhythm, obviously the interception wasn't quite your fault, but were there any elements of just frustration of not being able to establish much?

"I think it's always a challenge when you drive the ball and you know that you're having success against a team and then you're not putting up points and then your defense is creating momentum, getting stops, and then we're stalling on our end. So those are things that yeah, are a little frustrating. I mean, honestly, we went into the locker room, and we just knew that like, man, we're right there in terms of cutting it loose and playing our game. So those are all things that we got to come in and be real with ourselves and get better at. And that's part of it. But I think football, everyone knows it's a momentum game. If you get some stops, you put up points, you do that multiple times, you create momentum. That's how you win games. And so, we hold ourselves to a high standard here and we're going to be real with ourselves when we come back in on Monday and watch the game."

It's hard to quibble with 37 points, but there were opportunities where after you got turnovers that you wound up settling for three and being in close, how close will you guys be going over those?

"That's what I'm talking about really. The defense makes a stop. We have the ball in their territory, and literally it's like, alright, put up points in terms of touchdowns. Obviously, the field goals are great and put up points, which is awesome, but we hold ourselves to a standard where, man, we should be scoring touchdowns. And not only field goals time and time again, but at the same time, you got to be smart and not turn the ball over, put points up on the board, and then trust the defense to make stops again. But yeah, that's what I'm saying, like we get into those kind of situations and we want to score."

Brock, how special is it to have a connection with TE George Kittle after two games with back-to-back with two touchdowns now. Have you felt that already with him?

"I think he just, he makes my job easy, he wins the man-to-man matchups. Obviously like his speed and everything, you just get the dude, the ball he'll take off. Like George is extremely explosive, more than people think. And he does a great job with the yards after the catch. And so that's where my mindset's at is alright, whatever play we have drawn up, I'm going to go through my progression, but I know that if I get the ball to George, it could be an explosive. I'm extremely fortunate to have him by my side and wish I would've had him catch that third touchdown. I threw it a little short, but just can't get a [University of Iowa] Hawkeye, too many touchdowns in the game [laughing]."

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Tough first half. How about the second half? How do you think the offense was flowing?

"The second half was much better. Just felt like we couldn't take the lid off of anything in the first. We didn't have many plays. I think we only had like 20 plays. The second half we were able to come out, start with the ball. I think that seven out of the eight last games we won the coin toss. So, we got the ball after half time and got to establish a rhythm."

How did you guys find that rhythm in the second half?

"We didn't run that many plays in the whole first half. I think we started with two first downs in a row. We just got it moving and that drive we got in, got some points, and then pretty much the rest of the game followed suit."

Let's talk about QB Brock Purdy's performance today. Was he cool under pressure? Did he handle everything? Talk about how he handled the huddle.

"He's done a great job. I think he's the same guy that we've seen the past three weeks. He was that same guy again today. At this point we, we know who exactly who he is. Nobody's surprised anymore. We know who Brock Purdy is. He came out, played a great game, controlled the offense controlled the huddle, controlled the game. We got out with a 'W' game."

49ers DL Nick Bosa

Do you feel like the record is possibly within reach for you to get 22 sacks?

"Maybe. It's not the main thing on my mind, but I'm kind of eyeing the 19 ½ more than that."

LB Fred Warner said he thinks this is the best ball you've played of your career. Would you agree?

"For sure, yeah."

What do you attribute that to?

"More reps and being able to continue to learn each and every week. Then plan out my rush plan each week to tailor to who I'm playing. I feel like I have an answer for every type of blocker at this point. Some better than others, obviously, but it's going well."

What do you remember of going against Brock Purdy during practice when he was a scout team quarterback?

"We can't really pester quarterbacks in practice. But, I'm super impressed with how he's matured so quickly and I think it helps that he started four years in college. For a rookie to come in and have that command, everybody's got his back obviously."

49ers LB Dre Greenlaw

Talk about the way the defense was able to dominate in the second half again. Seems like the 49ers have been doing that all season.

"Everybody did a great job just picking up their part. We got comfortable and you saw what they were doing. Everybody did a great job."

Do you like it when they have to switch out quarterbacks late?

"That's a good sign for the defense. When they have to switch out quarterbacks like that, you're doing something right."

Can you talk about the difference between the first half and the second half?

"They [Washington Commanders] did some good stuff in the first half. Everybody was a little antsy. We had to settle down a little bit. They're a great team. They were a desperate team and they needed to win in order to get to the playoffs. We knew what they wanted to do. They wanted to run the ball. We had a great mindset of just stopping the run and allowing them to be one-dimensional and they just couldn't throw the ball after that."

The defense is pretty healthy right now. How crazy is this team going to be when the playoffs come?

"We have plenty of room to improve. It always looks good on the scoreboard when you get the win, but you have to be hard on yourself as a team in order for us to be great and take that step. We have to stop them from scoring. When you allow them 20 points, you don't like it. You have to do better."

49ers TE George Kittle

Do you feel a little bit bad about your first touchdown catch today?

"Why? Because I grinched it. No, I think I've had five touchdowns taken away from penalties, so I'm going to get them whenever they're available."

What did you see to make you take your route in that direction?

"Wide open space. I think the other safety was outside the opposite hash mark and the other guy was not even on the field basically. I was like, well, I'm not going to run and get covered. That doesn't sound like a good idea. It was funny too because [49ers Head] Coach [Kyle] Shanahan ran that route on Wednesday. He coached it on Thursday morning. He goes, even if there's space, you got to run across the field so the post is wide open. I was like, touchdown is what it is."

Did you see 49ers WR Ray-Ray McCloud III right in there?

"When he came up on it and when he got over my shoulder, I thought it was a safety trying to get the ball out and it actually scared me and then he was in my ear going 'You stole my touchdown' I was like, 'ah, my bad', but not really."

You've put so much into this and you're not big on revealing everything that your body is feeling, but it looks like at this point of the year you're pretty fresh. Just how does it to feel that good physically this late in the year?

"Wonderful, it feels wonderful. I think I know [49ers Head] Coach [Kyle] Shanahan always talks about how you build a callous throughout the year, you just kind of get used to your body, you get used to the hits you get used to the grind. But not having to deal with anything whether it was an achilles last year or just like random knee stuff, or getting hit weird. I've been very fortunate and that's just, you got to get lucky in football sometimes. I know there are guys on our team right now that are dealing with stuff that is very painful to play through every day.We're all dealing with some type of stuff, but whatever I'm dealing with right now is luckily not affecting my play."

49ers WR Ray-Ray McCloud III

What was was your thought when you saw that play designed to you in the game plan this week?

"My thought this week was [49ers Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] said, 'you got to do better than [WR] Deebo [Samuel].' That's the exact words he used in the meeting. Me and Dee, that's like my brother. So it's always a competitive thing. My number was called and I wanted to make a play. It's not me making a play, honestly. It was the lineman, the front. [RB] Christian [McCaffrey] making his block, [T] Mike [McGlinchey] pancaking his dude and [WR] Willie Snead sealing the edge. I think anybody in that position of getting the ball would make the same play and we put points on the board."

Were you stunned to see TE George Kittle coming over down the middle with you for that touchdown he caught?

"I saw him a little early and said something like, 'Dang, George, where you going?' But he was a little closer than me, so I wasn't going to out jump him to go get it and then the ball is all over the place. I'm a team first guy; you know what I'm saying? It's not a me and win, it's all about getting that 'w' at the end of the day."

What's enabled you guys to just keep building on special teams as the season's gone on?

"Watching [LB] Fred [Warner] and the defense being at the top. Watching the offense going where we need to go, you can't be around greatness and not be great. So when you're around it, it's naturally just going to come and come at work. The win is at work. So that's where it started at."

49ers T Mike McGlinchey

In the second half you guys found a rhythm. What did it take to get a flow?

"Well, I think we just needed some opportunities. I think we had that kind of fluke turnover in the first half on the tip ball or whatever and the opportunities that we had, we felt like we were moving it. It was just a matter of having the time to do it, just sustaining drives and making the plays that we needed to do. We did that throughout the second half. It was a was a good win and we got a lot still left to improve on."

Seems like a vintage performance from San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle. On that second touchdown, a 250-pounder running that fast, is that something that you have seen before?

"Well, yes, I've seen it for five years. Yes, he's there's a reason. He is the best in the world at what he does and he's a special player and special teammate. He comes in clutch for us time and time again. He has since I've been here with him and we're very lucky to have, the plays that he's able to make both in the pass game and the run game and everything he does so well and everybody feeds off his energy. He's just such a passionate football player. You can't say enough good things about George."

What does extending the win streak to eight games mean to you guys?

"It's huge. I think we won eight straight in 2019 at the start of the season, so we've tied our record, so we have to get a couple more here to go. We got two more to go down the stretch and I'm not too worried about the amount of wins that we've had in a row, just worried about going 1-0 each week. That's what we've been preaching around here and that's what we've been able to do."

49ers DB Jimmie Ward

How are you feeling about the 49ers defense and performance and what you guys have been able to do?

"I'm very proud of the guys. I gave up a cheap touchdown at the end. I didn't like that. But I'll watch film and figure out what I can do better on that play. Other than that, we end up making more plays than what they made on offense and we pulled off with the win."

Can you talk about DL Nick Bosa now leading the league in sacks with 17.5 and what he's been able to do?

"He's a great player. I don't know what he can't do. It's hard for the opposing offenses to stop him. They try to chip him all the time. I have to also give credit to his other fellow mates that play the D-line because they are getting off too and there's a lot of sacks in that room and it helps the back end. It helps the second level players and the third level players."

You guys have been the number one defense throughout this season, despite having a lot of injuries. Now that you guys are all healed up, how scary can this defense be, especially heading into the playoffs?

"I don't get into all that. I just really try to make corrections. I don't pay attention to that. That's like fool's gold. We haven't won anything yet. We have two more games in this regular season and we still have the playoffs. There's a lot of football left and you can't get too hyped up on that stuff."

49ers LB Fred Warner

I'm sure 20 points doesn't sit well with you guys. How do you come out of this game feeling about what you guys did?

"No. I don't want to take away from the win. That's number one at all times. It doesn't matter if we win seven to zero or 40 to 41. The win is what's most important. I think all game we had opportunities to really snuff them out and I think about that first half just playing more assignment sound and getting more knock back in the run game, getting off on third-and-longs. Second half, they got us on a couple of the deep balls. But even then, I think we had opportunities to keep them out of the end zone. We have to do that. It's always a learning experience. You're always growing, you're always trying to find ways to get better and find ways to win. So we'll look at it hard and we'll be better from it."

How excited do you get when you see your offense staying out there on fourth down?

"I'm like, yes great. Yes, we of course we love that, I usually just sit on the bench because I know they're going to get it. That's the confidence I have in our offense. When they went for it twice on fourth down and we made two tackles. Man, it feels great. You want to try us on fourth down? Go ahead. Those are what we take as that takeaways for our team. So that's big time."

What was your view on San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa's fumble forcing sack there that kind of locked this thing up?

"I was dropping back, middle third. I'm way back there and, I'm kind of watching the backfield and you can kind of feel the rush. As soon as I saw him kind of try to let it go, and the ball came loose the first thing I see is [San Francisco 49ers DE] Jordan Willis trying to fight for it. I didn't know if it was a fumble or if that was considered interception, so I'm just trying to make sure that Jordan secured it. But yes, you mentioned it just a big time play by a big time player in the moment we needed it."

You have obviously seen Nick play a lot of good football, but when he is in that zone, how much does that help you guys knowing that the ball is probably going to come out?

"Yes. It's insane the level he's playing at. That's a big reason why our defense is performing the way it is because we know that it takes all 11, the rush and the coverage work together and knowing that he's on the field and has that opportunity to get home, you get stickier in coverage and you're able to sit on routes and he's just been playing out of his mind."

Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera

Opening Comments:

"There were missed opportunities more than anything else. We did some good things early on, but obviously not scoring from the fourth and one on the one-yard line, that was huge. And then not getting the fourth and one, that was troublesome as well. To beat a good team like that, you have to score touchdowns and then you have to be able to convert when you're in that situation."

Ultimately, what led you to the decision to turn to Commanders QB Carson Wentz in the fourth?

"Well, I knew one thing, we were going to throw the ball and we didn't need them to just tee off on the guy. So, we wanted to give Carson a shot and let him throw the ball around a little bit and see where he is."

Is Carson starting going forward?

"No, we're going to evaluate the tape and talk about those things and I'll make a decision next week. I'll make it early, too, because whoever's going to start is going to get the chance to work."

What did you make of Commanders DE Chase Young in his return?

"It was good. It really was. He was very active. Had a couple of tackles, knocked a couple balls down or knocked a ball down. Got close on a couple of his rushes. The best thing, though, was his conditioning. I mean, he had done a great job with his conditioning, so he was able to play past the 12 to 16 reps that we had set for him. And we told him he has to be honest with us. We were going to trust him. And when we got into the fourth quarter, they asked if I wanted to shut him down. I went over and asked him directly and he told me, 'coach, I'm really feeling well.' So I said, okay, let's go. So, he kept going."

What was your message to him and were you surprised that he was able to keep playing through the fourth quarter?

"No. Just because of his conditioning. I mean, during this whole period of trying to get him ramped up, there was one thing he did, he just kept doing his work. It was really just about being comfortable and being confident. He got comfortable very quickly and was very confident."

Did anything change overall? Obviously, Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke leads that 75-yard drive and then the fumble and the pick. Did anything change or was it just situational?

"No, that was situational. I mean, when the game got to where it was, that was the last thing we wanted to do, have them tee off on him. Not that I wanted to do the same thing, just throw Carson out there, but at the same time, it was an opportunity for us to see where Carson was. And Carson did a nice job, drove us down and threw a touchdown, so we're in a pretty good situation right now."

Can you evaluate how you feel Taylor played in the first half in particular?

"Well, I thought he played pretty good. A lot of those things that happened weren't necessarily his fault. I mean, we were trying to run the ball and we have to be a little bit more effective. We have to give them credit, though. That's a pretty stout defensive front. They did some really good things, but again, I think we can run the ball better. I'd like to believe we can. We did ask him to throw and he was pretty good. Just my biggest disappointment was we didn't punch it in. I mean, we ran it four straight times and you'd like to think that we could get six yards in four straight runs. We have to be better than that. We really do as a team. We have to be better."

Was Taylor completely healthy coming in?

"For the most part. It's pretty much what you would normally expect this time of year for any player. He's going to be bumped up, bruised up, nicked up. I mean, that's just kind of the way it is. Once you get into this part of the year."

What did you see from Carson?

"I thought he had pretty good command of what we were doing. I thought he stood tall in the pocket. He made a couple of quick decisions, got the ball out quickly a couple times, and he threw some good balls. Again, it's one of those things. We'll go through the week. Like I said, I'll sit down on Monday and Tuesday and we'll talk about it as a staff. You know, I'll talk with [Commanders Offensive Coordinator] Scott [Turner] and I'll talk with the offensive coaches, and we'll see where we are and go from there."

You guys chose to go for it around your own 30-yard line. Can you take us through that decision?

"Well, we needed about a foot and I'd like to think we'd have gotten a foot and I thought we got the foot. I really do. I really, honestly think we got the foot, but again, I'm the one spotting it and there's not enough cameras to get the angle to be able to challenge it."

You did not have Washington Commanders S Cam Kurl. Could you notice his loss out there?

"We felt it. We tried to practice all week with different packages. We tried to match it through substitutions and all that stuff. A young man like that is valuable to what you're trying to do. And the other guys that came in played hard. They gave us everything they got. It got a little bit away from us with the turnovers on our side of the 50 a couple time. I wish we'd had a better onside attempt and go from there."

With the first touchdown to TE George Kittle, it looked like he got behind Commanders S Darrick Forrest on the seam route. Could you tell what was happening there?

"Yeah, he tried to undercut it. He just has to stay on top at that point. You stay up over and go up and try and knock the ball down."

With Taylor's turnover specifically, how much of it factored into that decision?

"Well, to pin the turnovers all on him would be really tough, man. I'd like to think that those weren't his issues. There are some things that we could have done better."

With two to play, what's the message in the locker room?

"Well, nothing's changed. We're still in the same situation we were in going into this. We control our destiny. If we win the next two, we give ourselves a chance and we're in it. So that's up to us."

How important was it for you to see Carson? Now that you have some tape to evaluate?

"Very important. For a couple reasons. And I think one thing that we saw is our ability to run the ball or our desire to attempt to run the ball, it takes a lot off of the quarterback. And so, this is a little bit different offensive unit from the group that he played with going into the Bears game. So, I think there's some things that shows what he could do when he does have the opportunity to stand tall in the pocket."

Why did you guys have a little bit tougher time running the ball today?

"They're a pretty good football team. Some of the things that they do up front with their line movement, stuff like that is pretty good. But their linebackers' ability to run, it allows their defensive front to take more chances to work back door a couple of times. Their guys could run and make up for anything. They're defensive-minded. That's a very fast group in terms of the three linebackers and the safety that adds into the eight man five."

When you evaluate your decision for next week on the quarterback, how much will you go back to the other games to look at what Taylor did? Or do you kind of just have an idea of what he's already done? What will you look for to evaluate your decision?

"Well, I mean, it is about the whole picture. And so, as we go through this, we will go and talk about all these different things. And there's a lot that will go into that. It's not going to be a knee jerk. It's going to be something that I really do believe at the end of the day gives us the best chance to win football games and get into the playoffs and see what happens."

Taylor was visibly frustrated, obviously. But he still seemed to congratulate Carson after that touchdown drive. What do you make of how he handled it?

"Oh, he's a professional. So is Carson. The way those guys worked together, stayed behind each other, helped each other out, helped our defense get ready to play the last few weeks. To me that just epitomizes who these young men are, and they're the right kind of guys that, deserve to be on this football team."

Now that Chase has set this baseline, do you expect him to play at this level?

"Oh, I do. I really do. It was good to see. I mean, he played with that same enthusiasm. I think he was a little timid. There are a couple things I watched where he was kind of like, hey, this thing works. And that was good to see. It really was. So, I'm happy to have him back out there. I know our guys are happy he's there. I think they really are. I think his teammates were pleased with him. And this gets exciting now for us."

Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke

Generally, how did you feel about your performance in the first two quarters and just your reaction to Commanders QB Carson Wentz coming in later?

"I felt like we were playing good for three-and-a-half quarters. Starting the fourth, obviously that's not how you want to start the fourth quarter, but they made the decision to put Carson in. I thought he did a great job and moved the ball well. That was pretty cool that it was his first game in a while now and in his first drive, he goes down and scores a touchdown. He was ready for his moment and I thought he did a good job."

How did you feel about the offense as a whole in the first half?

"It's unfortunate that we got stopped on the one. I think that was a huge break in the game. To be up 14-7 at the half would've been nice. I thought we move the ball pretty well in the first half. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Like I said before, when we get those holding penalties and go behind the stick, it's tough to come back from that, especially against a defense like this. If we can clean that up, I think we'll be alright."

You're feeling pretty good though with two games left and a chance at making the playoffs?

"I said this last week, if you told us we had two games left and we're still in control of our own destiny, we'll take that all day and the guys know that. We're going to shrug this one off pretty quick and get ready for Cleveland next week."

I know you probably weren't happy about having to come out of the game. Is it kind of cool to have a backup like QB Carson Wentz? A lot of teams don't have a good number two quarterback.

"No one felt like there was going to be any drop off. When he comes in there, puts together a great drive and hits a nice ball to Commanders [WR] Curtis [Samuel] for a touchdown. You know Carson's a great player. He showed it in the past and I think he's going to continue to do so."

How hard is this process for you, the back and forth and not knowing about next week?

"It's tough. I've said this before, I try not to look at it. I just try to roll with the punches. If I'm starting, I'll give it my all. If I'm not, I'm trying to be the best backup I can be. I'm going to continue to do that. Let's see what happens next week."

You seemed very frustrated after that interception. What was going through your mind at that point?

"We called a quick game pass where I was trying to get Commanders [WR] Jahan [Dotson] and they rolled a Cover 2, so it turned into go balls and I felt the pocket collapsing on me. I didn't feel comfortable throwing it downfield at that point. I tried to check it down to B-Rob [Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr.] and it was just a bad throw. It was a little too far right. I've got to be better."

Were you surprised Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera made the move after three good quarters?

"I get it. I was pretty banged up and I wasn't in the last two drives. It was two turnovers, so I get it. Carson did a good job."

Did anything change for you mentally in terms of the four play, 75-yard drive and then having the fumble and the interception?

"Nothing changed. We had a chance to go down and maybe take the lead or tie it. It was just two unfortunate plays."

Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera said earlier in the week that if the offense continued to struggle, maybe he'd make a change. You come out in this game and play relatively well. Is that something maybe you internalized because you responded that way?

"No. I'm not going to say it's a negative thing, but I've heard things like that my whole life and I don't pay attention to it. The biggest thing for me is to control what I can control and that's going out and playing as hard as I can and that's what I did. If they feel like they need to put Carson in there, okay. I just come to the facility every day, work hard, try and be the best I can be. I'll leave it at that."

Commanders WR Jahan Dotson

Take us through that touchdown that you had earlier in the game.

"Just zone coverage. A cover four beater that we've been practicing all week. Just a perfect play call for the perfect defense that we were going against. I was able to get behind the safety and [Commanders QB] Taylor [Heinicke] gave me a shot to go get it and I got my feet in."

What's the atmosphere like in this locker room? Losing two straight, having the tie, but you still have a shot really to make the playoffs. What's the feeling with the team right now?

"Obviously right now dealing with the losses, it's always tough, but we control our own destiny. We know that some things went our way today, even though we didn't get the win. We're just focused on winning out trying to get a win these last two games and hopefully get us in the playoffs."

Do you feel like the team has the confidence to be able to handle the next couple weeks?

"[Commanders Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera does a great job of that. Making sure that we don't dwell on the past, that we're always looking forward to the next opportunity in front of us. We got the Browns. We're going to look past this one. We're going to get the corrections. We're going to look past this one and move on to the Browns."

Commanders S Darrick Forrest

Walk us through the first 49ers TE George Kittle touchdown.

"That first one was definitely a misread on me. I have to be better than that. I knew as soon as I saw him, this is my fault. I definitely learned from that and will get better."

There's two games left and you're still in the playoff race. What does that mean to this team?

"It means everything for us. That's our opportunity. We can't miss it, so we're going to keep fighting. You learn from today and when we come out next weekend, we have to be prepared to fight and get this dub."

What do you think of the 49ers offense?

"They definitely schemed some stuff up. We have to be better. We had too many explosives in the second half when we had an opportunity to win the game. We definitely gave them too many explosives in the second half which we all learned from and we have to keep getting better."

What did you make of Commanders DE Chase Young?

"He definitely brings a lot of energy. It felt good to have him back out there. I could literally feel it. It was definitely a great opportunity to have him back out there.

Commanders WR Terry McLaurin

Obviously, you know, Washington Commander Head Coach Ron Rivera goes from Washington Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke to Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz. What's the atmosphere in the huddle whenever he makes that decision?

"I think as an offense we just try to support whoever is back there playing quarterback. We know Taylor is a competitor and he gives us a great chance to win, but we have confidence in Carson as well. So going forward, whatever they decide, we're going to rally around whoever is back there."

There are two games left and you still have a shot to make the playoffs here. What's the focus now that you've got these two games left?

"To a certain degree, we still control our destiny. I think the other teams that are in contention lost as well so it's a stalemate across the board. We have to find a way to come back and get a win against the Cleveland Browns at home. Our last two games are home games. You can't really ask for much more than to have opportunity to try to get into the playoffs and we have two chances at home to do it. We have to get back and see what we can do to get that done."

Take us through that 51-yard reception that you had.

"We finally got the opportunity to get a matchup that we wanted so we took a shot down the field It gave me a chance to track the ball and I wanted to come down with it in that moment. All of the receivers on this team have a lot of confidence in themselves and the unit. We look forward to opportunities like that. Hopefully we can get some more and get those chunk plays that I feel we need. It could really help our offense."

Commanders WR Curtis Samuel

How tough is that loss for you?

"It's tough, not coming away with a win. But we just have to move on and focus on next week."

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera makes the change at quarterback. What is that like for you as a receiver?

"It really doesn't affect me too much. No matter who's at quarterback my job is just to win and make the throw as easy as possible on the quarterback."

Does the offense seem different if it's Washington Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke or QB Carson Wentz?

"I really don't focus on that. Like I said, when the play is called my job is to run the best route I can and give the offense the best shot of getting the ball down the field."

What did you think of that 49ers defense?

"I feel like they played good. They just made more plays than us today."

Do you feel you guys have a chance still to get into the playoffs if you can win your last two games?

"Yes, just starting next week. We have two days off. We're going to enjoy Christmas but then when it's time to get back we have to lock in and focus."

Fourth down, you guys went for it. Was that tough to see that you guys were that close and couldn't convert on those?

"It's definitely tough when we don't convert on fourth down. But it is what it is, I'm glad we went for it."

Commanders TE Logan Thomas

This is obviously a tough loss, you know, flying the West Coast Christmas. How hard is that in this locker room?

"I think the way the [San Francisco] 49ers played last Thursday keeps them a little bit fresh, but they're a really good football team. So we just went out there. We played hard, but we also made too many mistakes."

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera makes a switch from Washington Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke to Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz. What's the reaction in the huddle, when Carson comes out?

"Anybody in the media knows me and [Washington Commanders QB] Taylor Heinicke are best friends, good friends. So personally it's tough, but it's not my call obviously. So moving forward it's just trying to keep everybody level headed because we need to have everybody to make this run."

Ron chooses that quarterback. How does that impact the team? If goes back to Washington Commanders QB Carson Wentz, do you guys have to buy back into Carson again? Or how do you guys approach that?

"At the end of the day we're all professionals. We're here to do our job. We don't worry about what the guy's job beside you is unless we're working with him. I'm going to go out there and do my job. Carson, Taylor they're going to do their job."

Does the offense run differently at all with one guy or the other?

"There are some things that we do with Taylor that wouldn't work with Carson.

So no it shouldn't change. I wouldn't imagine it would change but we'll see."

Commanders DE Chase Young

Do you feel like you got your confidence back?

"I'm confident when I'm on the field, one hundred percent."

Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera said that you were supposed to played 12 to 16 plays, you played 30. What do you make of you going past that limit?

"That was my choice, I felt good. I told him before the game, that's a good count but if I feel good I'm out there. I feel good about myself and coming back, I've been restless it feels good being out there with the guys."

What about catching 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey from the backside?

"I wasn't even on the backside. They ran into me, I didn't know if I was quarterback or running but I just sat and played it. He gave it off and I just tried to chase him down."

What did you see on the batted pass?

"I saw the running back flare out and I knew it was going to be a quick pass because he jumped me and I knew I probably wasn't going to get there. So, I just sat there and waited for him to throw it."

How excited are you to have two games left to get into the playoffs and be back on the field?

"I'm trying to go, I'm fresh, my mind is fresh and my legs are fresh. I'm going to be that dog for this run."

Did you have any discomfort at all out there?

"Not really, when you get out there your adrenaline is going."

What was the morning like for you? Were you nervous? What was your energy like knowing you were going to return for the first time in a long time?

"I wasn't nervous because I was confident and I was prepared. I did everything and just rehabbed throughout the whole day. I sat back the first 15 games and just knew that time would come."
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