Seahawks Insider Blog

Russell Wilson passes Dan Marino for most QB wins in the first 3 seasons of an NFL career

Is that coat to honor Michael Jackson? Or the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

Russell Wilson didn't have his best passing game yesterday -- 12 of 24 with a particularly awful interception on the final play of the first half that cost the Seahawks (10-4) three points in what ended up being a 17-7 win over the 49ers. That's nine points in the first halves of the last two games directly attributable to Wilson's poor decisions. But in this bottom-line league he won again, his 34th regular-season victory to pass Dan Marino (1983-85) for most in NFL history over the first three seasons of a career.

Our News Tribune coverage from last night:

--My game story leads with Earl Thomas running down the sideline in stride with Marshawn Lynch -- and Thomas wasn't even in the game.

--Columnist Dave Boling marvels how this all has suddenly turned into a time in which the Seahawks can get everything they could have imagined out of this wild regular season.

--Columnist John McGrath writes that 11 months after this apex of this bitter rivalry, the Seahawks-49ers grudge-match series has we know it ended yesterday.

--Colleague Don Ruiz summed up the current state of the 49ers, and it's the opposite of Seattle's: "It's not fun."

A reminder: Our weekly News Tribune day-after chat begins at 1 p.m. Pacific Time today here on the blog.

Here is what Wilson -- and many more Seahawks -- had to say in print of yesterday's win over San Francisco, which sets up what is essentially the NFC West championship game Sunday night at Arizona (11-3):

HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL

(Opening…)   “Well, it was a really good win against a tough opponent.  The Niners came out really going for it.  They did a great job planning.  They did a lot of new stuff and some things that challenged us on defense today, early in the game.  Fortunately, our guys settled down and figured some stuff out and did a really good job of adjusting, and just really didn’t give up anything in the second half.  I think we gave up 60 yards in the second half, or something like that.  A great turnaround from the first half to the second half.  Also, we struggled in the first half on offense, too, and really were determined to come out and run the football, and you could see it, it was just such a big change.  Marshawn was great.  The guys up front really took off, and the line of scrimmage just changed.  It was a terrific finish for us today, and a really solid opponent.  A great day at the stadium with the fans, they were awesome today.  A lot of good things.  Good to see Paul Richardson contribute, had a couple of nice catches, third down catches and the touchdown play.  It was really good stuff.“

(On how they were able to run the ball better in the second half…)  “ We just got the game plan out.  We had six runs in the first half.  Some things happened, and calls and checks and things like that where we got things taken away from the running game and we just missed opportunities.  The good thing is that we zeroed in, we knew what we wanted to do and we were able to go out and do it.  I think the attitude of the guys up front to make it work was great, and it was a great turnaround.  ”

(On whether he’s had players that can alter a game like Marshawn Lynch… )  “He’s a unique football player, as well as a unique person, as we know.  He’s got tremendous competitiveness, and this great will, and these guys love blocking for him.  They love seeing him do what he does.  One of the great runs was the one right near the end when they think he’s going out of bounds and he cuts back in and just finishes.  And they blew the whistle early, too.  He might have got more yards if they wouldn’t have blown the whistle there.  He was still fighting for it.  He’s an extraordinary player, and we love what he brings to this football team.  And I’m sure that our fans feel the same way. ”

(On possibly facing Harbaugh for the last time…)   “I would not even address that comment right there.  Sorry.”

(On Russell Okung…)  “He has a chest wall bruise, and I’m not sure what that all means.  He’s already gone to the hospital, and they’ve checked him out, and he’s released already.  We’ll let you know in a couple of days what’s going on with that.”

(On why no field goal at the end of the first half… )  “We were going to kick a field goal, we were just using every second.  We had one more shot to take a shot at the end zone, and we just made a mistake.  We knew what we were doing in terms of having enough time to get that done, we thought.  We’ve practiced that a lot, and that’s something we’re real familiar with, and we know it’s easy to wonder or question that, but Russell knew exactly what was going on and I think he just threw the ball high.”

(On what the defense did better in the second half…)  “A little bit of everything.  We did a nice job on third down.  Those fourth down wins were huge.  Just, playing the way they play, finishing really strong, tackled better, probably.  We adjusted well, to give us the chances to play better.  They did some nice things against us, and the coaches did a really good job to convey the message of what they had done and in the second half the stuff didn’t work.”

(On Michael Bennett’s ability to create stops behind the line of scrimmage …)  “He’s terrific.  He’s our penetrator.  He’s got great feel for the game, and he knows when to take his chances and stuff within the guidelines of the defense.  He continues to make things happen.  He’s just real slippery, and that’s because of his savvy and his willingness to go ahead and bank on what he’s feeling and seeing and he’s taken advantage of that for years in his career and it’s great to see him doing it now.”

(On whether San Francisco was more committed to the run in the first half…)  “No question.  This was a different team we played this week than the last time.  They had a whole different approach, a different style about it.  They did a little hurry-up stuff.  It was different for us, we had to adjust, and we weren’t sure what we were going to get.  I thought it was a real good job by their coaches.”

(On running the ball in the second half without Max Unger and Russell Okung…)  “It was a really good job by Alvin Bailey going in and playing, and we definitely acknowledge that.  We’re so committed, we’re committed as you can get.  Sometimes it just kind of gets away.   We had no intention to run the ball six times in the first half.  But, there were probably four of five plays in there that got checked one way or another that we didn’t get the run that we were hoping to get.  It’s a long game.  We had plenty of time.  We didn’t panic about it; our commitment is there.  I don’t know what we rushed for today, but it was pretty substantial.  150-something.  That’s us.  Playing defense and doing all that.  We kicked the ball deep.  We did a nice job in the kicking game, controlling the ball and all that, and we played a good field position game today.  Except the one turnover, it was a really solid day, the way we like to play.”

(On Jeron Johnson’s play on special teams….)  “He did a great job on punt and kickoff.    He’s a terrific core guy.  He’s been there all throughout, and he’s one of those guys that you count on.  Sometimes, they’re kind of unsung heroes.  You don’t get the acknowledgement, but he’s been a tremendous core player for us for a number of years, and he’s playing great football right now.”

(On the improvement over the last four games….)  “We’re playing better football, obviously.  The defense is playing well, the running game is there for us week in and week out.  As long as we continue to do a great job of taking care of the ball, we have a chance to beat people with that formula.  That’s just the way we play.  There’s no mystery about it.  I love that it’s so clear and you know what our philosophy is, and we have to go out and prove it every week.  And we’ll try to do it again next week.  We have definitely elevated, and we’ve gotten back to the connection that it takes to play with this kind of intensity.  This is what you’re trying to do, right at this time of year, the finish is so crucial.  Really, we couldn’t be more excited about the way that they feel about what they’re doing.  They know.  The players know what’s going on.  They can feel it; they know what’s shifted, they know what happened, and now, we have to recreate it each week.  We only have a couple more shots before we end this regular season.  We’re going to go for it next week, too.“

(On Paul Richardson’s play…)  “Paul’s been in there, we haven’t gotten the ball to him much.  He’s a terrific catcher.  He’s a good route runner; a beautiful curl route he hits on third down with Russell.   A crucial third and about seven; just a dynamite route and catch and guys hanging all over him.   He’s just doing what he’s been doing.  Nothing special.  He’s a really good football player.”

(On whether the team knew that Green Bay had lost…)  “Yes, somebody said it.  That stuff is so far out of what we’re concerned about.  You think maybe I’m just saying that?  I don’t care about that stuff right now.  We have two more games to play, and we have one more game that’s at hand right now.  That’s all we got.  The rest of it doesn’t matter.  It will all take care of itself, we don’t worry about it.”

(On Moeaki’s shoulder injury…)  “He got it banged a little bit.  We have to see how he responds, we don’t know.  But he did get banged on, a little bit.”

(On whether there were any other injuries…)  “No, that’s the extent of it, I think. That’s what I was told.”

(On the possible return of Max Unger…)  “Good chance.  The fact that he practiced this past week is a really good sign, and it would be great to get him back out there.  He’s dying to play for us.  But, Lem (Jeanpierre) has done a great job for us in relief for him, and we’re really fired up that he has been able to step up and control the front and make the calls and do all of the things that he’s done.  He’s been a fantastic addition this late in the season.  He’s done a great job.“

(On whether Borland getting hurt on the last play of the first half changed the game…)  “It could have.  I don’t know the other guy that came in, I don’t know how much he’s been playing, I haven’t seen him much.  Borland’s been playing great football.  We knew that he was out, and that just added to the fact that we were going to run the football anyway.  He is such a good player that he makes a difference.  Those guys are really banged up.  They got banged up again today, they had a number of guys that didn’t get to play. They played a terrific football game.  They played as tough as you could want them, and they were right there the whole time.   They had a lot of guys stepping in.  A lot of credit goes to those guys.”

(On whether he was surprised at how hard San Francisco played….)  “No.  I don’t know what you guys are thinking.   This is a really good football team.  It’s a great program.  They’ve been in Super Bowls and doing all kinds of stuff for years around there.  They have great heart and competitiveness, and they brought it again today.  It couldn’t have been more obvious.  It was all we could hope for today.  Shoot, they were great.  They brought out a heckuva game by us, too, which is what they’ve always done.  I love playing those guys.”

QB RUSSELL WILSON

(On the win today…)   “That was a great win.  The 49ers played us great tonight.  We were able to sustain, and we were able to make some plays.  We were hurting ourselves on offense for a while, in terms of penalties, we kept backing ourselves up.  That’s something that we haven’t really done the last two weeks.  We just have to get back to playing great football.  I felt the defense played unbelievable tonight in terms of stepping up when they needed to.  We got several fourth and one stops and third and short stops, and that’s really big for us.  It was able to give us the ball back, and we were able to capitalize.  I’m really excited for Paul Richardson, getting his first touchdown catch.  He’s an electric receiver, and he did a great job tonight.  Some of the other guys made plays as well.  Obviously, Marshawn Lynch, he’s Marshawn for a reason.”

(On being able to play the first half the way they did, and then make adjustments…)  “I think that’s the key, making adjustments, especially going into halftime and making adjustments and just making sure that we stay on schedule and find ways to make plays and realize that we’re a great football team, and realize that we’re able to make some plays when we really need to, and that’s the key.  Just finding a way to win every time, and we were able to do that today.”

(On the play of Paul Richardson… )  “Well, Paul Richardson has really stepped up for us.  He’s come up big several times, especially in the past several weeks.  I think about the Eagles game last week, and the third and 17 and he comes across the field and makes a big time catch for us.  Tonight, he made several catches.  He made a third down catch, on like third and 10.  He ran right to the right depth, he gets his depth and makes a great catch on that.  Then, he had another great catch that got called back.  He’s electric.  Him running that route on that safety, and coming across his face in terms of catching the football, that was really big.”

(On what it was about Richardson that caught his eye…)    “I saw it the first day that John Schneider told me about Paul Richardson, in terms of the guy we were going to get.  I do my research, so I was able to look up those guys.  We have a lot of great young receivers.  You think about Paul Richardson, you think about Kevin Norwood, Chris Matthews too.  In terms of Paul, I really noticed just watching film on him, and I also noticed when he actually got here, and his work ethic.  How he was wanting to learn as much as he could.  He’s on that constant quest for knowledge.   Catching the football, he catches it so clean.  Obviously, he’s as fast as it gets. So, having a guy that can be electric in that way is good for us.  Doug Baldwin made some nice plays.  Jermaine Kearse, as well.  Those guys keep showing up.  You have to keep hanging in there, keep battling.  That’s what I told those guys on the sidelines.  We found a way to win, and get 14, I believe, unanswered points in the second half.”

(On the roughing the passer call… )  “I thought it was a good call.  Ed usually does a great job, he usually makes the right decision.  I’m the last one to complain, or the last one to ask for a penalty.  At the same time, I thought that was big for us to get a penalty called there.  Then, we were able to sustain our drive and score a touchdown.”

(On whether that hit was different from other ones…)  “I’ve taken a few tough ones.  That one was pretty much right in the chest.  It took me down pretty easy.  That’s part of it.  You have to hang in there some times.”

(On whether he was surprised to see a penalty on that play…)  “I wasn’t surprised, no.’”

(On being the winningest quarterback in the first 3 years in NFL history…)  “I think it means something, for sure.  At the end of the day, it comes down to winning football games.  That’s my ultimate goal, to find ways to win.  Whatever it takes, whether if it is having to throw for a bunch of yards, or finding a way at the end of a game in two minute situations, or if it’s having to run the football and sustain drives.  More than anything, it’s a tribute to my football team.  What the guys are doing.  What we’re doing as a collective effort.  The defense, the offense, special teams.  It’s been a lot of fun, and we’ve learned a lot.  We’re still a young football team, we’re still learning, we’re still growing.  Got a lot of football ahead of us.  Hopefully, we can keep winning and keep finding ways to win.“

(On the interception at the end of the first half…)  “We were trying take a shot into the end zone there.  We’ve done it before and I knew what I was doing.  I just kind of threw it high.  I kind of mis-aimed there.  I was trying to get it to Doug.  He was running across the guy, I was trying to get it to him, I just threw it a little high.  The guys made a great effort of stopping Reid there, in terms of tackling him.  I had three big guys coming at me, and I thought “oh oh”.  I tried to slow those guys down some way, and I believe that Robert Turbin made the tackle.  That was good.”

(On the conversation right before that play with Carroll and Bevell…)  “We were trying to take a shot.  We do it all the time, we’ve done a great job of it.  Like I said, I just missed the throw; a little high.  I felt really good today, to be honest with you.  Percentage wise, it wasn’t the best it’s been, but in terms of making the right throws and seeing the right things, I felt really solid today, besides that one play.  They did a great job.  Their rush today was pretty tough.  Our guys hung in there and continued to block their butts off for me and find ways, especially in the second half, and we were able to score some touchdowns when we needed to.”

(On the blocking improvement in the second half…)  “We just hung in there a little bit longer.  I think the penalties [in the first half] hurt us more than anything else today.  I thought the guys did a great job.  I think that backing ourselves up, when you’re playing a great team like the 49ers, you can’t do that.  So, we have to get that out of our football.  It hasn’t been there the past few weeks, which is good.  So, hopefully, we’ll get back to staying on schedule.  We have a tough game this week going down to Arizona.  We know that will be a battle, and we’re looking forward to that moment.”

(On the impact of Borland leaving the game…)  “Chris Borland’s a great football player.  Obviously, I know him personally, and he’s a fighter.  He came back in the game a few times there.  I don’t think that was the factor.  I think that more than anything it was just that we were able to make the right calls and communicate there and make the right blocks for Marshawn and kept finding ways to give him the football, and then he had some crazy runs in there, like he always does.  I thought Robert Turbin had a really good run, too.  Maybe it was second and 7, going into the end zone, and he ran over the guy, right in the middle of the whole, and was able to make a third and 1.  Then, we got the first down and went from there, a touchdown actually.  That was a great run.  We’ve got great running backs, and they’re making plays and guys are being physical, and we just have to stay on schedule.”

“Thank you guys.  Go Hawks.  Strong against cancer.”

WR DOUG BALDWIN

(On the rhythm of the 2nd half versus the 1st) “We ran the ball more. We ran the ball more with more success. That’s typically how we like our offense to be ran. If we can dictate the pace of the game with the run game and then make plays in the pass game when we need to, that’s what we want to do. So I think in the 2nd half we were more able to do that.”

(On the remainder of the regular season) “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s how we always—that’s our mentality.  That’s how we always approach each game.  And that’s how we approach the season.  In this situation, we have everything ahead of us. We said that three weeks ago; four weeks ago and it’s no different. We’re just going to focus on each game as it comes to us and not focus on the outcome because that’s out of our control. We got to control what we can control.”

(On being more successful during the 2nd half than the first) “We stuck with it. You got to give credit to our coaches. They made their adjustments, fixed the mistakes that we were making, and we were able to go out and give Marshawn (Lynch) the ball and allow him to be more successful. If we do that, we’re more than likely going to come out more successful.”

WR JERMAINE KEARSE

(On San Francisco’s strong first half) “They’re still a good team. They’re a really good team and we just can’t overlook anyone. We just have to continue to take it one game at a time and just focus on that.”

(On Russell Wilson being able to spread the ball) “Our guys--we’re playing well. We’re getting opportunities. Things are just rolling for us.”

(On next week’s game against Arizona) “Arizona’s a great team. I’m just going to enjoy this win right here, and then when we get back to it tomorrow, I’ll focus on them.”

DE CLIFF AVRIL

(On Seahawks defense playing well) “Most definitely—we feel good, guys are playing good, guys are healthy, and we’re just playing lights out right now. We just have to keep it going and to keep everything in front.”

(On the defensive line getting sacks) “It’s always great to be able to get sacks—we’re fortunate enough to get six today and we have to keep chopping away. The big thing is—once you’re able to stop the run, you have to be able to get after the quarterback and we were fortunate enough to get after them today.”

(On making adjustments after the first quarter) “Not rush wise—we know where he [Colin Kaepernick] is, we know what he can do. He runs—they have running plays for him and you have to be able to make the tackles when you get to him.”

DE MICHAEL BENNETT

(On Seahawks defensive effort) “We didn’t give up any yards, we just played our way, we played team defense and that’s the way you play championship football. Everybody was where they were supposed to be and make the play they were supposed to make. First half, we missed a couple tackles, but second half we came back and made sure we made those tackles.”

(On what they didn’t expect offensively from the 49ers) “I think a lot of it was the quarterback runs and some of the counter plays. They’re usually a downhill team but this week they tried to run outside a lot, but we came back and made the right adjustments and we were able to stop the plays.”

(On helping out Jordan Hill) “Jordan has been doing a good job—I’ve been working with Jordan for the last couple of weeks and helping him just develop as a rusher and he’s doing a really good job. I feel like a proud father out there whenever I see him out there making plays. Just to see him out there working the way he is working and doing what he’s doing—it makes me happy for him.”

OLB BRUCE IRVIN

(On Seahawks defense) “Like I said, we took care of business and connected as always. These past four or five games, I feel like we’ve been better than last year. So we just have to keep it going. These guys did a great job—everybody is putting their egos to the side and playing for one another. You don’t find that everywhere you go so we just have to keep grinding and hopefully keep doing good things.”

(On 49ers) “Well we knew they were going to come out here and play hard. Those guys are a tough group of guys and every time we play them we know it’s going to be a dog fight. Our hats go off to them; they gave us everything they had. Fortunately, we were the better team today.”

(On the Seahawks defense playing unselfishly) “We’re just trying to get on and off the field and try to give our offense as many chances to have the ball and put as many points on the board as we can. I thought we did a great job of doing that.”

 

MLB BOBBY WAGNER

(On the defense fighting through adversity) “Well we were down this game so we know the game isn’t going to be perfect, we’re not going to be up twenty, or be up all the time. We’re going to have to do something to make plays. It’s not going to be pretty but we’re going to win.”

(On the defense finding more ways to play well) “I mean you can say that, but I just feel like we can be a great defense once we stop letting them put points on the board. Then that’s when we’ll be great.”

(On beating the 49ers twice) “We did it last year so it kind of feels the same. We know we’re going to win as long as we come out and play like we know we can play—we think we can beat anybody.”

OLB K.J. WRIGHT

(On Seahawks playing well) “We’re rolling now—we’re at our peak right now and we’re playing really good football. We’re playing together, just making plays, and it’s just not letting teams breathe out there. So we have to keep it up—we have two more tough ones and they’re in our own division so we have to finish strong.”

(On Seahawks taking first place in the NFC) “Can we take first place? That sounds good, but like you said, we have to take it one game at a time and make sure we get these last two wins—it’s going to be real important.”

(On making adjustments in the second half) “We came in, made adjustments, and we knew exactly what they were doing. They came out in the second half with the same stuff, and DQ [Dan Quinn] did a good job of explaining what was going on, we talked about it, and we did a good job of stopping it. The quarterback was scrambling and throwing it on us so we made sure that we emphasized posture and shedding off your guy so we did a good job of adjusting.”

S KAM CHANCELLOR

(On the defensive performance the past four games…) “[It has been a] maximum group effort. Everyone getting to the ball, people making plays, everyone executing, when your number is called everyone is executing.”

(On waiting for the offense to score…) “No, it’s not frustrating at all. You got to stay poised in games like that. You got to stay poised, stay calm, and believe it will come through if you keep fighting hard.”

(On second half improvements…) “Tackling. [In the] second half, we recommitted it and made tackles out of the game.”

(On Frank Gore’s injury…) “I never want to see anybody get hurt, never want to someone have to leave the game. We’re a physical team, I like when my team plays physical like that, but never intended to hurt anyone.

S EARL THOMAS

(On the defense’s performance…) “I think the overall thing is the way we are playing for each other. We are pulling in the same direction, no resistance anywhere—it is so powerful when you can congratulate a guy because you feel you just made the play.”

(On playing in front of a record crowd…) “When you get the crowd involved [it makes it tough for the opponent]. I love playing here.”

(On encouraging teammates…) “All you can do is encourage guys, stay positive, stay poised. A lot of stuff is going on, but the game is so slow right now, I want to keep that.”

(On adapting to their gameplan…) “I think we did great overall the whole game. At times, on third down, we were just having a little trouble getting off the field. They did a great job at game planning. That makes us adapt, that makes us better.”

CB RICHARD SHERMAN

(On the passing game…) “They didn’t really get much, their passing game wasn’t very effective today.”

(On the satisfaction of allowing seven points…) “No, we got to clean that up. We had them on fourth down—we should have stopped them on that drive and they should have got nothing.

(On the rush defense…) “We are dog piling everything. They got a couple runs where they slipped through a little bit, but we will talk about that. We missed a few tackles here and there, but (Colin Kaepernick) is an athlete, but we could have held him down more than we did.”

(On keeping track of the Green Bay score…) “You don’t look at it until you’re done playing the game. I think distractions like that are how you lose games. I looked at it now, I heard they lost, so I guess that helps us and we will try to take advantage of it.”

(On San Francisco’s revitalized offense in the first half…) “I don’t know what you were looking at.”

__________________________________

49ERS HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH

(How do you think your team played today…) “I’m very proud of them. The effort was plus, plus. They fought like champs.”

(Can you process not making the playoffs…) “I’m aware of it and understands what it means.”

(What does it mean to you…) “It means never give in and keep fighting, which our guys did today. I understand that were eliminated from the playoffs.”

(What is going to be your message to the team for the next two weeks…) “That’s what a professional does, focuses every week, every practice, every play, every game, every ounce of energy you have.”

(Have you thought about what happened this season…) “No.”

(Your thoughts on the 49ers roughing the passer call that led to the Seattle touchdown…) “No I didn’t agree with the call. I did not get an explanation on that one. All three personal foul calls I did not agree with.”

(Why not continue using the no-huddle during the long second half drive…) “We were mixing it in during that drive as well.”

(Why has the 49ers offense struggled in the second half…) “It’s been a couple of things. I thought that we competed really well.  I thought that we had some really good drives even with some poor field position. We had a very good defense, they played extremely well today. Protection was an issue.

(Did Frank Gore get knocked out…) “I don’t know exactly if he did or not. The evaluation was that he had a concussion.”

(Do you think the tone of the team changed once Gore left…) “No.”

(Do you expect to sit down with Jed and Trent and discuss your future…) “I’m always available to sit down with the owner or general manager, absolutely.”

(Do you expect to have a conversation about coming back next year…) “Yes at some point, I expect that.”

(Your thoughts about 2015 for this team…) “I’m not going to get to far out in front of our headlights. We will focus all our energy on this week.”

(Was Colin (Kaepernick) running the ball more a part of the game plan, necessity or both…) “Both, there were some designed runs and out of necessity on scrambles.”

(How do you think Kaepernick played today…) “I thought that he really competed well. He was doing all he could do.”

 

QB COLIN KAEPERICK

(On if it was difficult to comprehend that they have been eliminated from the playoffs…) “It is difficult. That is our expectation that we are going to get into the playoffs and make a run. To not have that opportunity this year is not something that we are used to.”

(On when it sank in that this season is essentially over…) “A little bit ago. It’s not something that I really want to think about too much to be honest.”

(On if the season being over will interfere with preparing for the last two games…) “No. Regardless of the situation this team is going to go out and fight and try to win games as best we can. I don’t’ think there is anyone on this team that is ready to lay down.”

(On his success running the ball early in the game and if they felt that was the best way to attack the defense…) “It was a position that we felt we could put our running backs, myself and our offensive line into a positive situation and have big plays. We did move the ball well in the beginning of the game and we have to be able to sustain that for 60 minutes.”

(On the impact of losing Frank Gore…) “Frank is a phenomenal player. He is one of the big leaders on this team. So to lose him it was a hit to our offense but at the same time I think it was a bigger hit when we lost Los (Carlos Hyde) as well. Having both of our running backs and we had Alfonso (Smith) come in and Bruce (Miller) come in and they are playing their butts off to do all they can but it’s not necessarily a situation that we have put them in the past.”

(On why he thinks the team missed the playoffs…) “Once again I think it goes back to execution. There are games that we didn’t execute and didn’t finish like we should have. From the Chicago game, the Raiders game, those are two that pop out in my head. Finishing the Rams game is another one. That is three games right there where our record could be 10-4 instead of 7-7 and it’s a big difference.”

(On if it was bizarre to hear all of the conversation around Jim Harbaugh’s job…) “It is. It is not something that I can fully wrap my mind around why that would be the situation but he has my full support no matter if he is here or somewhere else. I hope he is back here and I think he is a great coach.”

(On the emotional impact of losing Frank Gore…) “It’s tough. Those are the players that you turn to in tough times to make plays and give the offense a lift and put us in a good situation. Not having them is a tough situation for us.”

(On what the goal is for the team for the last two games…) “To win. I think regardless of the situation we are going out to win. There is no one on this team that is going to step out on the field and say hey our season is over we are not going out to compete. We are going out to compete to the end.”

(On if this season feels like a wasted opportunity…) “I think it’s a difficult situation for us. I think that everyone had high expectations especially ourselves and to not have this season go as we planned is tough for us.”

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