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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

What Kyle Shanahan, Sam Darnold, other 49ers said after 21-20 loss vs. Rams

Jan 7, 2024 at 7:16 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Sam Darnold, and others spoke with reporters after Sunday's 21-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Opening comments:

"[DL] Clelin Ferrell had a knee. No, ACL, no MCL, but we'll figure out exactly what it is tomorrow. [S] Tayler Hawkins there at the end had a wrist. That was it from the game."

How much of this game is you just holding your breath, not wanting to see somebody go down?

"The whole game. You want to get a win, but you also want to make sure of that. It's unfortunate to have that with Cle. Most of everything else went pretty clean though."

Is there a there a chance Cle could miss a game?

"Yes, there's a chance."

Going into the playoffs, how concerned are you with K Jake Moody misses today?

"It's never good when you miss him, especially having two like that and the extra point. I think it was his first one inside the 40, maybe all year. He's had a hell of a year. He has done a hell of a job up to this point and just had a rough day today."

Could you see bringing in somebody on a practice squad or just having somebody else on hand?

"No, he's been great all year. He was rough on those two today, but no, we're good with Jake."

What'd you think of QB Sam Darnold today?

"I thought Sam did some real good things. He made a number of plays that kept us out there. He did a great job scrambling. He was awesome on his sneaks. The quarterback draw. I think he moved the chains one other time with his legs, made some big throws. I know that last play was unfortunate, just stepping up in the pocket there and those guys coming from behind him with the fumble. I was happy with Sam today."

What are you seeing with DL Robert Beal Jr.? He had a nice day today.

"I was glad to get a lot of guys some more playing time today. He's been great since he came back from IR. He is getting better and better each week. Today was good for him. I'm excited to watch the tape and see exactly how he did. But seemed like he did some good things."

For guys like T Trent Williams, DL Nick Bosa and those guys. Did you have a set number of plays you wanted to get them or was it a series?

"No, I told Trent and Nick, we were trying to go around 10 to 15. It was perfect, the opening drive being about 10 plays. So that was great for Trent. It was weird with the defense, I felt like they had that opening 11 play drive and then I think we got a pick on the first play. There was only like 12 plays until that very end of the two minutes when they're trying to get Puka [Nacua] the ball. But once some time went, I got them out there at the end of the second quarter and no one came back after half."

Was your message in the locker room in terms of maybe switching into the playoff mindset now?

"That's really what we talked about all week. Having that playoff mindset, knowing the level that we have to play at coming in a couple weeks. That's why it was so important for us to get a lot out of this week. We had to practice that way. We talked about it a lot last night at our team meeting and set the schedule for the week. Guys are going to have tomorrow off. But we'll come here Tuesday, treat it like a day after game on Tuesday and get going."

Do you practice hard this week?

"Yeah, we'll have two days. We'll practice real hard. We'll probably have one day, we just do like a team conditioning thing, not much football. But we'll have two days we practice real hard."

TE George Kittle and LB Dre Greenlaw were pregame scratches. Are you concerned with their injuries?

"No, they definitely were trying to go but Kittle's having some back spasms. So once that was happening in pregame we shut him down. Dre had some Achilles tendonitis, so that was acting up a little bit more before the game. We had heard about it and once we heard that, we were safe with him."

So precautionary basically?

"Yeah, definitely."

Is there anything beneficial at all about playing the Rams in case they're your first-round opponent?

"I don't think so."

You don't think QB Matthew Stafford's going to run the ball like 20 times?

"[laughs]Yeah, they got us ready for that. So hopefully that we got better at that for today."

How happy were you that Head Coach Sean McVay went for two? Did you guys talk at all before the game? Any gentleman's agreement on that?

"No, we talked. We both knew what this game was for both of us. But we both know we want to win, but first thing is trying to keep our players safe. We were just trying our butts off to keep them from getting one more yard and one more completion to Puka so he could play him the whole game."

There was some coverage at the end of the half.

"Oh yeah. Our goal was to just keep him going the whole game. But we knew it was going to be tough. We knew he only needed one more catch and one more yard, but we tried our hardest."

Would you be mad if someone did that your guy if someone was going for a number?

"No, I'd expect it. That's why we'd throw to someone else open. I was hoping they were going to do that, but I think they wanted to get him out pretty fast. I'm just glad he had to come in the third. It was a small victory."

So you're trying to tire him out a little bit?

"Not tire him out. I want them to go through the stress that we're going through. You don't want to get anyone hurt. Those aren't the most fun games for us. You got to do it. I don't think we're going to talk much about it next week. So we're going to talk about what players are available for this game and things like that. I'm trying not to be really upset how it ended personally. But I also got to keep it in perspective and make sure that we're ready for what matters going here forward."

What's your general assessment of the way the season went and how you feel about your team?

"Our goal was to get the No. 1 seed, that was our first and foremost goal. We did. It was just a little bit weird this last week but I like how our guys handled it. I loved how our year went. We set out to do this. I was real happy with a number of guys. I thought guys got better throughout the year, but as our players have been saying, we still feel our best football's forward. That's kind of tough to generate when you're not going through these games. But that's why we got to be so locked into these practices. Just how we clean things up and make sure no matter what happens, no matter who comes here in a couple weeks. And no matter what type of game it is, whether it's a shootout, a game of field goals, whatever it is, that we're up for whatever it takes to win it."

Regardless of the circumstances, is it particularly annoying to lose to Sean McVay?

"No, I'm alright. It's annoying to lose to everybody. It's a little bit more when it's your rivals and when it's someone in your division. It's always a little bit more when you know people, but it's not just him. There's a bunch of people on the staff I know, so they all annoy me [smiling]."

Was there any thought to giving QB Brandon Allen some run?

"Not really. We talked about it a little possibly, but the way that game was going and stuff, thought it would've been a little bit unfair to Sam. I loved how he battled and got that experience. He'd been waiting for that all year. But no, we talked about it before the game, but it just didn't play out that way. I really feel we only really had two drives in the second half until the four minutes until we had that three-and-out. So just weren't that many plays."

Do you advance scout at all this week coming up or do you just wait until you find out who you play?

"Yeah, we'll dabble in it all. We got to do something with that stuff. We'll go crazy as coaches. Hopefully we'll find out by Sunday. It's starting to hit me that I don't think we can officially find out until maybe Monday because I know there's a Monday Night game. So that'll be a little bit different. Haven't gone through that. So, we'll definitely plan for all the possibilities and be halfway in on a bunch. And as soon as we get told, then we'll be a hundred percent in."

49ers QB Sam Darnold

How did it feel to get out there and get some team action?

"It was really good to just get out there, play an entire football game. Obviously, the result wasn't what we all wanted, but it was good to get out there, get good quality reps."

The way you guys started, obviously you had more frontline players with you, you have the two 75-yard touchdown drives. It seemed like you were really a nice rhythm. As a group, did it fee good?

"Yeah, we got in a really good rhythm those first couple drives. That second half just couldn't sustain rhythm or drives. They went on a couple long drives as well, but we've got to do something there to get that rhythm back. Obviously at the end, we had a chance and the ball didn't bounce our way."

You've known RB Christian McCaffery for a while. What do you think the rushing title means to him in the grand scheme of things?

"I mean, it's one of those things, with the career that he's had at the end of the day when he's older he's going to remember stuff like that and that's going to be another accolade for him to hang his cap on. But right now, doesn't mean anything for him in his present or current state of mind. But, I know down the road it's going to mean a lot."

If the situation arises where you're playing in the playoffs, how big a deal or not big a deal is playing four quarters today just to get you reacclimated?

"Like I said, it was just good to get out there and play football. It's been a while. Obviously, I had a little bit of time in Baltimore, but just to get out there and play football, it was just good to get out there and if they do need me during the playoff run, I'll be ready."

You've done scout team every week mimicking the other quarterbacks, so essentially you're familiar with almost every quarterback that's in these playoffs, maybe outside of Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff and Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love.

"Yeah, I mean we faced I think a few weeks in a row it was a mobile dual-threat quarterback. So, me and [QB] Brandon Allen have been playing that role and there's other weeks too. For example, like Week Two we had the Rams and we were trying to do all the cool things that [Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew] Stafford can do with the football. So, it's just, it's fun to be able to go out there and see the different plays that the defensive guys draw up and try to do everything we can to get the defense ready."

How are your no-look passes?

"They're getting there. It's a lot easier to do them in the walk-through because things are a little slower. But, no, it's fun. It's fun to be able to try to get [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] and [LB] Fred [Warner] because they're the best of the best and it's fun to go up against them in practice every day."

Did this game feel different? And if so, how so from your first five seasons of playing quarterback in the NFL?

"No, I wouldn't say it was different. It's just going out there, trying to do my job to the best of my ability. And I know it's a cliche, but that's all you really have to focus on out there at quarterback because if you start thinking about other things you're probably not going to play that well. So, just try to keep it one thing at a time and focus on my job every single play and just move on to the next play after that."

Did you have any words to K Jake Moody trying to tell him that you were going to go out there and try to get him a last kick?

"No, I didn't talk to Jake before we went out there. Again, like I just said, I was trying to just lead the team down there and hopefully score in any way that we could."

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

What were you hoping to accomplish in this game? It wasn't so much about wins and losses but how fresh do you want to be? How rested do you want to be? What were you hoping to get personally out of this game?

"We just want to stay in rhythm and stay in routine. We had a week where we're still having to pay attention and having to still go through the process. That was pretty much it."

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was talking all week about how it's important for San Francisco 49ers QB Sam Darnold to get reps because you have to prepare for the worst. How helpful was it for the first team offense to see him in game action?

"It was cool. It was nice to go out there with them and get some points on the board and start off a game with them. We played a game with them a couple weeks ago, but that was under different circumstances. I think we obviously have to have a better way of starting the game in the first half as a team. In the second half, even if they do get the ball on defense, we can't let them score touchdowns. We have to find a way to either get the ball back or settle for three. We didn't do that in the second half. We just didn't play well enough to win the game."

Can you describe the winner-goes-home elimination game mentality for you as a player? You get a couple weeks now to get ready, but can you describe everything that goes into that?

"It's just exciting getting ready and preparing for it. It's like you said 'win or go home.' So it's a one-game season from here on out. That's all you can ask for as a player."

49ers S Tayler Hawkins

This was your first career interception. Can you take us back through the play and what you felt after?

"Just normal cover three, plays we run every day, and I was in the post. We have something called tips and overthrows and we have to get those. So that's what it was, a tip, so I had to go get it."

How meaningful was it for you to not only get on the field but also have a moment like that?

"It meant a lot to me. It meant everything to me. We have a good team. We have a lot of good guys and that might've been my only opportunity. I don't know if I'm going to get another one so I had to just go make the most of it."

How would you assess how today went for you?

"It was alright. The pick was obviously a good thing and takes away from a lot of the bad stuff that happened. I missed a couple of tackles, a touchdown, stuff like that. It is what it is. It's football."

49ers DB Deommodore Lenoir

What do you think you guys accomplished today?

"I feel like we had a lot of young guys that got the opportunity to get their feet wet. We are going to need everybody with this playoff stretch. I just felt like it was a good thing for everybody, for the guys that have never played before to really get an opportunity. You never know when your time is called."

How well did San Francisco 49ers QB Sam Darnold look like he could move the offense?

"Oh yeah, for sure. We all have faith in [QB] Sam [Darnold]. He comes to work every day. He's a true leader and great player."

What do you see from San Francisco 49ers S Tayler Hawkins during the week and how happy are you for him?

"Just his preparation. He comes to work every day. He works hard. He finally got his opportunity. I'm proud as hell of him. He got his first career interception. It was a big step. He's moving in the right direction."

49ers LB Fred Warner

It can't be [the Dallas Cowboys]. It can't be [the Detroit Lions]. It could be any one of the other four teams. Do you spend any time at all doing the math in your mind of who you're going to play, or is it 'wake me when we have our opponent'?

"No. Truthfully, I feel like this is just going to be a great week for us to just get better as a team so we make sure that we're the best version of ourselves for when that moment comes. Whoever has to come to Levi's [Stadium], I want us to be ready. I want us to be our best version of ourselves when that time comes."

Although a loss, what do you take away from this week's game?

"I think a lot of guys who usually wouldn't have gotten as many opportunities as they did today, got a lot of great work in regardless of the outcome. I feel like guys got some valuable reps in there. Obviously we want the win every single time, but we'll look at the tape and see how it went out there."

What's that thing you need to be that best version of yourselves that you mentioned? What's the biggest kind of focus this week?

"That's something that we have to take a look at, because during the season, you can only do so much self-assessment. You're always onto the next, trying to prepare for an opponent. This is the first week where we're able to truly just look at what has hurt us in the past. What can we truly get better at this week and focus on? Defensively, I feel like we just have to be the best version of ourselves. Offensively, I feel like they've done a great job all season. Not to say that [the defense] hasn't, but if we want the goal that we want to achieve, defense has to lead the way."

49ers T Trent Williams

We heard some noise coming from the locker room. Was that a celebration for all that you guys accomplished this season? I think I heard cheers coming from out of there.

"I don't think you heard them coming out of here. I didn't hear any cheers."

O.K. I'll have to delete that tweet then.

"Yeah, you might want to delete that. Maybe you heard a TV somewhere or something. I don't know."

What is the mood in the locker room? You guys had a good season, but what is it telling you?

"We're focusing, recommitting ourselves to the postseason, trying to obtain that ultimate goal. That's where we are at right now. And we're going to get some good work in this week. We get to compete against each other for a little bit and just continue to sharpen our sport.

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

With Rams QB Matthew Stafford going back to Detroit and Lions QB Jared Goff now playing for the Lions, what is it going to be like for you to match up against the guy you've coached?

"I think it's an excellent opportunity. They are a really good football team. All those narratives are fun but it's going to be about the Lions versus the Rams. They've done a great job earning a home playoff game, and winning their division. They are excellent in all three phases. Like I said, I'm really excited about Matthew leading us, he's done a great job this year. I'm proud of this football team and let's see if we can put together our best game plan, and put together a great week of preparation. Then let's see if we can put it together for all four quarters, let it all hang out, and see what the hell happens."

Sean, I know that Lions QB Jared Goff has talked about how, after the trade, he got to talk to you and that you gave him closure there. How do you think your history might affect this matchup?

"I think that, if there's anything, I have more appreciation for him as time goes on. He is nothing but a class act and man, did he do a lot of really good things for us. And he's done great things for them. There is a reason why they're in this position. We're going to do the best we can, to try to play a good, clean game and try to be able to come away with the win. But, they've been an excellent offense and he's done a great job orchestrating it. He and Coach [Ben] Johnson, and obviously, Coach [Dan] Campbell. I think those are fun narratives, but there's nothing but appreciation and gratitude from me. You all know there are different things that occurred but there's nothing but good vibes on my end. You know, we're going to go in there and we know we're going against an excellent football team."

Is there any kind of visceral, emotional reaction at the idea of a guy that you have that much history with being the quarterback for the other team?

"I don't get too caught up in that. I think it's really about our team versus their team. There's some familiarity, just like he has familiarity with us. I think there's going to be a lot of fun, external narratives, but it really is going to be about us as a football team, going there and trying to play good, complimentary football and put it all together. This is why you do it. These are awesome opportunities. The atmosphere and the environment, we all know, is going to be great. And that's what NFL playoff football is about. I'm excited to just figure out whether we're playing Saturday or Sunday."

Did you guys change anything else about your operation today? Also, it looked like Rams QB Carson Wentz was getting integrated into the run game a little bit.

"Yeah, we did what we did today because we went off of wristband and [Los Angeles Rams Coach] Mike LaFleur did a great job calling it today. Mike has been instrumental. There were some operational things relative to using the wristband, the comfort, the familiarity there. I have so much confidence in Mike. He could do that, but that was what we felt was the best approach. We'll go back to our standard, normal operating procedures next week. But I can't say enough good things about what Carson did, what the overall operations were, and Mike LaFluer is such a stud. I mean, he has been so instrumental in all the good things that have occurred offensively. The way that he's helped me, the way that he's been able to lead our operation with the coaches and the players. He is a stud and I'm really grateful for him. He did an awesome job today."

Was it still you calling the fourth downs or did you collaborate with LaFleur?

"We always do it together. I was proud of him. I'm always super impressed with the way he handles himself. He's so even-keeled. I might be sending it in, but he's had a lot of timely suggestions and different things like that. He did a great job, I'm really happy for him."

Any concerns about the missed extra point by Rams K Brett Maher?

"You know what, I want to go back and look at it. Obviously, I'm not excited about that but we'll look to see what occurred, and then we'll be able to make our decisions accordingly. It was a little bit windy down there but those are things we want to be more consistent with. And as we know, that's been a challenge for us."

Was today for you guys, and maybe the 49ers, more about not showing your hand, not showing anything, with the thought that you may see them down the road?

"Yeah, I mean we were very regulated in regards to the game planning. But these guys put their heart and soul into it. And so I think it was really important for us to go out, give them an opportunity to play well, play good clean football in all three phases. They were doing the same thing, while also trying to say, 'Let's stay as healthy as we possibly can.' And then you have to be totally in the moment. You have to earn the right to have the opportunity to come back here. There wasn't anything that we would do in the divisional round that we ran today. We were very vanilla in our approach. That's why some of the operational things were adjusted. But it was still geared towards what we thought was best for our players and for the way they went out today. I was really happy for those guys. Like you guys know, I've said all along that I love this football team. I love the mental and the physical toughness that they display week in and week out. That's going to be a key and critical factor for us next week."

You mentioned being frustrated with how long it took Rams WR Puka Nacua to break the rookie record?

"They did a great job at the end. I thought it was the football gods telling me, 'Man, this is not how you do it.' You know what I mean? I've believed in the integrity of the game and it was one of those deals where you want to give them an opportunity to get that, because of what he put himself in a position for. But when you start getting outside the framework of operating how you normally would, it was almost like they were saying, 'Hey, you know better.' Then, I thought that first drive where Mike did a good job mixing it up, the ball naturally came to him. And then the one to get the last catch record was a heck of a catch on screen where he got vertical right away. But I was really pleased with Carson and you know, credit to the Niners. They had an understanding of what we were trying to do, particularly at the end of the half. They did a good job."

Rams QB Carson Wentz

Take us through it. How was that game for you?

"It was fun. It was a lot of fun. It's been over a year for me since I got game action and it's been a weird year and season for me, but I had a lot of fun out there. It was fun to get to win, especially. But just playing with these guys, some of the guys I've been taking practice reps with on scout team, different faces out there. We all had a lot of fun and getting the win was even nicer."

You made it clear to us that when you're going to go in, you're going to go all in on this. You guys are running designed runs and other things like that. What was that like for you and, and really hitting full send on this?

"It felt like my college days a little bit again, but no. I knew once that was part of the game plan potentially this week. I was excited. Any way we can find a way to get a win, I've always had that competitive mindset over the years. We have to be smart with that. But today it was 'let's go do this thing.' And I had fun doing it."

Did you think that you'd be leading the game and team in rushing?

"I wasn't planning on it, nor was I hoping that would be the case, but no. I think that was the way of the game. It helped with the way they were playing some stuff, like soft coverage to get an extra blocker and hopefully my big butt could come rolling through there. It was fun. Guys did a great job opening those holes. We had fun out there."

What was going through your mind as you guys were trying to get those records today for Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua?

"Don't do anything dumb. We just kind of thought it should come naturally. It was pretty sweet to get that first touchdown for him. I think he needed one more yard at that point though, but no. It was fun. I've never gotten a chance to play with Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua too, so to see him in person, the plays he made -- obviously we missed a couple, which were definitely on me -- but it was fun to see that. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew that was a big responsibility to help him get that record. [Nacua] is a pretty impressive kid and it's an impressive record. Obviously, you guys have probably seen it for a while. Impressive for him and I'm happy for him."

What did that feel like to win in a rivalry game, especially given the last touchdown and the two-point conversion?

"It felt like football again. For starters, I've barely been here, so to feel the sense of the rivalry is different. That's a good football team over there and we'll see if we run into each other again. It was fun to go down there and not only get the touchdown, but then get the two point conversion and see the defense get some stops like that. It was big. We knew we were playing some backups there. It's a different type of ball game, but anytime you come away with a win in this league, it's a good time."

As a veteran quarterback, what's it going to be like for next week? It will be interesting with Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford going back to Detroit and Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff facing a former team.

"That'll be fun for those guys. I'll be there helping Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford prepare all week. I'm excited for him. It'll be a good time. Ever since I've been here, I've had a ton of respect for [Stafford] from afar, but coming here and seeing it in person, he's a heck of a player. The way he prepares is fun to see. I'm excited for him and I'll be there in full force on the sideline."

From your standpoint, what's it like when you're a guy going back to your former team? That's got to be interesting to see on both sides with both quarterbacks.

"It comes with some different emotions for sure. I think it can be interesting leading up to it, but once the game starts, it's just football. [Stafford] has been in big moments before, obviously. He's played a lot of good football in big moments, so I think he'll do a great job."

Los Angeles Rams RT Rob Havenstein mentioned that you did a double-take when you first came in the huddle because your eye level with a lot of the offensive linemen in there. What was the huddle operation like? What were those guys like with you?

"The huddle was good. Ever since I got here, it's been quick, fast and furious getting to know these guys. The guys have welcomed me really well and I thought the huddle operation was great. It's not my first rodeo with a lot of these guys, it's the same thing. It was fun, getting in there. We cycled Los Angeles Rams RT Rob Havenstein out and had some other guys come in and make some good plays as well. It was cool to get other guys involved and on the field today. I thought the guys did a great job."

I know your focus was just on helping the Rams win today, but do you feel like you put some stuff on tape for teams next season looking for a quarterback?

"We'll see. I wasn't really thinking that. For me, it was a long time coming just to get to play again. Halfway through this year, I was still at home and was chomping at the bit to get a chance to play. Obviously, the Rams gave me the call and I've just been here helping this team win and find a way to get better. I got a chance today to go out and compete and I had a lot of fun with it."

Eight or nine weeks ago, when you made that transition, you could have been on a team that's out of the playoffs right now, but to be a part of this game and to be part of the playoffs, can you enjoy that journey?

"Absolutely. It was a weird year being at home and all those things, but not only just to be a part of this team, but a winning culture. To just see how it's done here, it's a very different system for me. There's a lot of different things. It's a really young team, which has brought a lot of the joy back in the game because we got guys that are just having so much fun out there. A lot of these rookies, you can just see the joy that they play this game with. Sometimes when you get older and you become a veteran, it can just be kind of monotonous. Seeing the joy that these guys are playing with and their energy has really revitalized the game a little bit. I'm just seeing it from a different lens. It's been fun and I'm thankful that I've been here. Thank you guys."

Rams QB Matthew Stafford

How does it feel to be going back to Detroit?

"Exciting for this team just to get to where we are right now, to be honest with you. So many people out there didn't think we'd get to this point, and the ability to get to this point is a true testament to everybody in this locker room - coaches, everybody. It's awesome. The opportunity happens to be in Detroit, which is fun for me on a personal level. We have some other guys on our team that are from the city too, which is really cool. It is going to be rocking there. They haven't had a playoff game there in about 30 years or whatever it is. So it will be a great atmosphere. It will be a tough task for us, but I'm definitely excited."

How will you manage your personal emotions going into a game where you have a chance to play a playoff game?

"Yes. We played them in 2021, here at our place. To be honest with you, a football game is a football game once the ball is snapped. It will be a lot of stuff beforehand - I'm sure I'll have to answer questions, and they will too. All that kind of stuff. But once the ball is snapped, it's time to go play football. I just love being a part of this team. Love the way we fight no matter who's out there, what we're doing. It's been a really fun year. Looking forward to continuing."

What are your thoughts on what it will feel like once you walk out on the field?

"I think there will be excitement just because it's a playoff game. Anytime you're in the playoffs, it's so much fun. They're obviously a really talented football team, playing at a really high level, all season long. They have been one of the more consistent teams in our league, so it'll be a big challenge for us. I'll be locked in on trying to do the best that I can to get this team to be to where we want to be at the end of the game. I'm sure it'll be exciting for everybody."

Will you have to enhance your bubbles, so to speak? The phone calls and outside stuff with the magnitude of this game?

"No. I don't have that much contact with anybody anyways, to be honest with you. I'm a stay to myself kind of guy. It will be fun to see some of the people that I haven't seen in a while, that I know are still around the building. Obviously it'll be a different scenario and won't be wearing their colors. But still, I appreciate that so many of the people there gave me my start in this league and took care of me for 12 years."

Rams OL Kevin Dotson

How important was this game?

"This is a rivalry. I'm new to this rivalry, but you could tell that they really wanted to win this game. No one held back anything. They didn't care if this game didn't really matter or whatever. I could definitely feel the animosity before the game, during the game and after the game. So I like this tension sometimes."

Rams OL Rob Havenstein

Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford is not a person who has any trouble staying present. But especially knowing the emotions that can be attached to something like this, how will his demeanor keep everyone grounded together?

[LA Rams QB] Matthew [Stafford] is a pro's pro. He's the guy you want leading the charge. I was just saying that there might be a fleeting moment in the beginning of the game where it's emotional. I'm sure Detroit's going to come out and give him the love and respect that he deserves. If not, even better. He's that type of guy. He's the ultimate competitor. When it comes to game time, which we're a long ways away from here, he'll be leading charge just like he always has been for the past 16 years or however long he's been playing."

You've watched Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff grow so much when he was here and then when he left and now leading his team. Can you speak as to what his journey has been from afar, then from up-close when he was here, and then watching him succeed in Detroit?

"There's no surprise. [Detroit Lions QB] Jared [Goff] is a heck of a quarterback. He has all the arm talent in the world and he's been lighting up the stats, compared to what we've seen watching film on other QBs. Obviously, we are playing Detroit so we can really study that. I'll always be a Jared Goff fan. So it's been cool to see."

Under Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, it's been very consistent with you guys as far as reaching the playoffs. You mentioned the seven game stretch you were on before the Bye week. So, when you take all that into consideration, what does reaching the playoffs, an achievement like that, mean to this group this season?

"Obviously, we're very proud but the work doesn't end here. The end goal is not to reach the playoffs. So we're going to attack this thing the way we have been for the last seven weeks. We'll get our game plan in, prepare the right way, get our bodies right and be ready to go."

Rams WR Tyler Johnson

That was a fabulous touchdown in the back. Describe what it was like in that game.

"First of all, I give all glory to God for just being with me throughout this whole process. I'm glad we were able to come out here and be victorious today. I'm proud of my team for just going out there and fighting in the first place and the last. Hats off to the guys."

You guys go into the playoffs as a second seed but you're as hot as anyone in the NFL right now. Describe how you feel about this team?

"We are very confident. I'm pretty sure everybody in the locker room feels confident and is looking forward to going into the next game and giving it our all no matter what. We're excited. I can't wait."

Rams WR Puka Nacua

How are you feeling after the game today?

"The Rams won so always a great Sunday. Yeah, I can't stop smiling."

How did you guys keep focused on the game itself with your teammates seemingly trying to make sure you got the record?

"I guess trying to find it in the rhythm of the game and everybody feeling like it was as much there's. It'll say Puka Nacua, but I wish it could say everybody. All 11 guys out there because it really takes all 11. They should all feel that award just as much as I do because I couldn't do it without the guys in the front and obviously [Rams QB] Matthew [Stafford] and [Rams QB] Carson [Wentz] out there. Everybody was involved - it was sweet to feel myself, but the enjoyment from everybody made it more sweet."

What was it like to see your mom after the game?

"That was super sweet. I saw my mom at the beginning of the game and we were able to have a moment. It was cool for her to be here in this environment. I think the last time we were here, my older brother Kai was on the team, for the 49ers, not the Rams. It was kind of a moment that hit me earlier in the game and it was a full circle moment of experiencing it all and I'm glad my family was able to be here to experience it with me."

Describe that first touchdown, did you think at that point that TD was the record?

"I was glad I caught it. It was a great call. I was excited because I was like, 'oh, this is an opportunity for me to go get a touchdown first'. It was right in the sun and I was like, 'ah, just don't let this be the one to drop.' The one thing when you're playing the football outside, you know what side the sun is going to be on. Luckily it fell right out of the sun on the last second. I was able to track and thought it was the record, but then nobody was celebrating with me and was wondering what happened. I was so lost at that moment that I was on the floor. I slipped a little bit, but to catch that touchdown, it was sweet too. It was a nice little cherry on top."

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