Here's what Earl Thomas had to say:
(On whether he is ready to go to the Super Bowl…) Oh, yes. It feels surreal right now, it feels like a dream. You dream about these moments. I’m just excited to be a part of it. We’re battled tested as a defense, just to get a win like this. Sherm (Sherman) is a great player, big players always step up in big situations. All in all, I’m so excited to be going to New York.
(On whether they wanted that situation late in the game…) Definitely. I think the biggest thing we can learn from that situation is when we stay true to who we are, stay disciplined, there’s a lot of stuff going on out there. It’s the game of football. I think when you take what you learn in the classroom, as far as being a situational ball player, you’re going to come up on the good end every time. That’s what we did today. It was a two minute situation, and we were very prepared.
(On whether there was doubt when San Francisco was moving the ball…) You don’t have time to think, you have to stay in to it. You have to stay in it, keep clawing and scratching and fighting until the clock hits zero, and that’s what we did.
(On whether he was surprised they challenged Sherman at the end…) I just think everybody was on it, technique-wise. We forced the ball into our strengths. That’s what we harp on as a secondary, we want our playmakers always at the point of attack, and that was just a great play by Sherman. Look how long that guy is. I think they kind of pushed him in the back and he was still able to get one hand on that ball. When you run to the ball, good stuff always happens. Malcolm did a great job of buzzing underneath and catching it, taking advantage of his opportunity.
(On the touchdown that went over his head…) You just have to stay in it. As a DB, bad plays are going to happen, good plays are going to happen, you have to stay even keeled. That doesn’t define me, because I know what type of ballplayer I am. Obviously, their receivers do a good job of not really pushing in the back, just using their form. When your momentum is taking you somewhere, it’s hard for you to adjust back, and that’s kind of what happened. I was mid air, I was trying to go with one hand, like Sherman, but I’m not as long as Sherman.
(On when the momentum turned…) This was a game that we all expected. Two great defenses going at it. We know what type of offense, how they wanted to attack us, and I don’t think the momentum ever really turned fully, because we had a couple of opportunities in the goal line area where our offense could have gave us a little breathing room. But they did a great job, they have a good defense themselves. You have to take your hats off to that. A good defense is always going to love those moments when you have to stop them, or you have to get them off the field to win the game. That’s what we bank on, we always talk about how good we want to be, how we want to separate. That’s how you separate.
(On the first possession after Wilson’s fumble…) It’s all about situations. That’s a set and change. That’s a set and change moment right there. We practice those. That’s why we’re so good, we never leave any stone unturned. We’re always on every detail. Anything that can happen to us in a ballgame, we learned from the past, previous adverse situations back in Atlanta. You never want to feel like that kind of pain again, because I love this game so much. It’s a dream come true. I always dreamed about this as a little boy. You can write your story. I’ve been having a journal since Week 2, Week 1. To see the words come to life, it shocks me. I’m just happy. It’s a great feel. It’s been a good year.
(On whether that feeling came from him when Malcolm Smith caught the ball…) Somebody needs to pinch me. I don’t know. It just feels good. This opportunity, that’s all you can ask for, is the opportunity. The good thing about it is, how are you going to react. If you’re going to take advantage of it, you take advantage of it. We go for it, you have to play fearless. You can’t have any doubt. You can’t be second-guessing yourself. That’s why practice and walk-throughs and meetings are so important. When you’re in walk throughs, and you take it very serious, that’s muscle memory. That’s the great thing about football. That’s what we understand; we understand how to win. We understand how to take coaching. We understand how to keep evolving as football players.
(On Kaepernick’s running on designed runs…) He’s an athlete. That’s my frat brother. We make ‘em like that. He played a helluva game. You have to take your hat off to him. He made some incredible runs and it’s hard when you have a dual-threat quarterback. That’s what I think is so special about he and Russell, they can run and pass.
(On going against the Denver offense in the Super Bowl…) It’s all about “separate yourself”. As a competitor, you always want to play the best. Some people thought San Francisco had a chance to beat us, so we took that personal. You don’t come in our house and think you can do anything that you want to do to us. We’re here to play. We love football, we know what’s at stake. We know that this chance is rare. This is about long term. I’m never going to be satisfied, even if we win the Super Bowl, I’m excited about all this, but I’m talking about “keep doing it”. As an ultimate competitor, you always want to be the best.
(On whether stopping that offense is the supreme challenge for a defense right now…) I don’t think so. If we be normal and be ourselves, I think people make the game bigger than what it is. I still treat this like Pop Warner. This is fun. This is a child’s game, you should enjoy every moment, soak this in, and just be yourself, express yourself.
(On the feeling in the locker room…) The energy is incredible. You have Macklemore, and they’re playing his song, and he’s jumping up in the middle. That’s what it’s all about, I’m never going to forget the feeling of the confetti dropping. You want some more of that. You want to have that same feeling after we play the guys who we’re playing in New York. We’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s all about taking advantage of your opportunity. I think we do a great job of that.
(On what has made him more focused this season….) All my life, I’ve been the top dog on every team. I’ve been able to change the players around me, just by being myself. I kind of got away from that, because I didn’t know what to expect in the NFL at first. But, when you get comfortable with everybody, everybody is not out to get you. You have to trust, you have to buy in. When you buy in, coach asks all of the DBs what our goal was for the season. My goal was to be the best team that I could possibly be. Guys can feel that, and I really learned a lot this season about expressing myself. Get out of your bubble. I’m an introvert, but no I’m not. I’m coming. I’m trying to take over the world.