(On coming back to San Francisco) "It's great to be back. It's great to be able to come back and see my family and friends and have them here to support us. It's disappointing that we didn't win this football game, but guys played hard, everybody got to play today, and it really showed the depth that we have to have to move on and continue to compete. But what do you say? I'm back, I was exciting about playing tonight and being out there in the first half, just unfortunately not enough good things."
(On his TD to TE Jerramy Stevens with 1:44 left in the first half) "It just looked like they got into a bind as far as coverage was concerned. We had both tight ends running down the right side. It looked like they only had one guy back there and I was able to find Jerramy and give him a ball that he could make a play on, and he did a great job adjusting the football and securing the touchdown."
(On not being able to capitalize on drives and having to settle for field goals) "Unfortunate first drive – had a play down the left sideline, unfortunately [tight end] Alex [Smith] couldn't hold onto it. Second drive – a fumbled snap hurt us and then the third down play, we had Alex coming open in the back of the endzone and their linebacker made a great recovery or adjustment or whatever he did to get his hand on the ball. I thought it was a for-sure touchdown. I think what happened [was] I hesitated a little bit because the referee was right in the throwing lane. I think I could have put a little bit of touch on the ball and lofted it over to him and it would have been a touchdown. That's disappointing because we need to finish those drives with scores and not three points."
(On preparing for Carolina and then a home playoff game) "That's exactly it. We have one more game to go and we want to finish off strong and we want to definitely head into the playoffs feeling good about ourselves. I know a lot of guys are going to get to play next week also, so it's important for those young guys or those backup players to really focus on this week of preparation and I think some of us, depending on what Coach [Jon Gruden] decides to do, can really to start to focus on who we're going to play in the playoffs and get a jump-start on it." QB LUKE McCOWN
(On his touchdown to TE Jerramy Stevens late in the 4th quarter) "Well we had something that we had done pretty well on most of the day – a corner post combination with front side and a drag and an end cut by [tight end] Jerramy [Stevens] on the backside. That particular situation, they rushed three, dropped eight guys into coverage, and sometimes the best thing you can do is move around and try to create. Protection was great, Jerramy did a great job of uncovering [and] finding a hole that I could in the ball – great catch, we got into the endzone, obviously having to go for two the next play. We had a play we felt comfortable with, and again it was kind of the same thing – they dropped a lot of guys into the endzone, they know our only shot is to take a throw into the endzone – they covered a lot of our options up. The primary [option] was [wide receiver] Ike [Hilliard] sitting down real quick, right about the goal line, it's going to be a low-throwing catch and fall into the endzone type thing. We had run it previously in a game and it was from there, to the outside, to [running back] Michael [Pittman] and they buzzed everybody out, they kind of bunched it up all inside. Again, [wide receiver] Michael Clayton did a great job of moving with me, we just didn't get it done. He made a great catch. I was hoping to get a review on that, [but] the officials make the call and that's what it was."
(On getting back to practice after the Christmas holiday) "We've got one game left, and again, we want to win. Regardless of what our playoff situation is, we want to win. Regardless of who plays, we want to win the game, and we didn't get it down today. Turnovers – once again, I can't fumble the football at the 15 yard line or whatever it was. The guy made a great play of stripping the ball out. I felt like I had a chance to get around him and he strips the ball – that's one me. To put the defense in a difficult situation, they capitalized on them. Again, we played hard. The offense, you know, once we got going, we got going. We've got to be able to finish off a little better." JOVAN HAYE
(On his overall thoughts on the game today) "It wasn't our best ball. At the end of the game we still had a chance to win and [we didn't get it done]. Hats off to the 49ers – they played really well today and they deserved to win."
(On getting after 49ers QB Shaun Hill several times) "It was key. We knew that they had a great O-line, and to have a chance at this game, we'd have to put pressure on him and make him feel uncomfortable back there. We had our moments in the game."
(On 49ers CB Nate Clements' interception) "It was a big momentum slam, and what they did, we didn't do a good enough job of stopping them from scoring or at least trying to hold them to a field goal, but hats off to the 49ers. They played real well today and they got a win."
(On regrouping for the regular season finale at home against the Panthers and preparing for the playoffs) "We're definitely trying to get better as we approach the playoffs. We would rather have won this one and finished out Carolina, but we have one game left in the season, and the big picture is keeping guys healthy and getting ready for the first round of the playoffs." HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN
(On today's loss) "I'm obviously disappointed to lose with the turnovers. The way we started the second half was too bad. They got an onside kick – a surprise onside kick – which is on me and then we turned the ball over deep inside our territory. But we had numerous today, we dropped some key passes, we did not take advantage of two great opening drives inside the 49er redzone, and it cost us a game today."
(On having to settle for field goals instead of putting seven points on the board) "No question, we've got a wide-open receiver, it's a perfectly-thrown pass and we don't make the play. Then we're inside the 5 yard line, we fumble on the exchange and we fumble on the exchange which is utterly ridiculous, really. Those are the kind of plays, that with a turnover deep inside your territory, that are going to cost you in this league. "
(On QB Jeff Garcia's touchdown in the first half to TE Jerramy Stevens) "It was a quick shift and a sudden motion, and obviously San Francisco struggled lining up, and had a lot of guys open on that play. I thought Jeff did a nice job creating some time on that play. He found the open look and Jerramy made a nice play on his end."
(On the interception by 49ers CB Nate Clements and the huge momentum swing that followed) "I don't think it was a perfectly-thrown ball, but I do expect [tight end] Alex [Smith] to make that play, and that's just too bad. Clements is a heck of a football player, he was opportunistic in that particular instance, and again, there's four or five plays that are clear to all of us that cost us the game today."
(On getting back the football, getting a 4th down conversion to WR Michael Clayton, and having the opportunity to tie the game) "I was really pleased with the way our offense played. We lost a lot of wide receivers today, we used a couple of two tight end sets, and our attempt was to throw the football against this 49ers defense and we did throw it well – exceptionally well at times – but that was a scramble play, I think the 49ers rushed three, [quarterback Luke] McCown did a great job of buying some time, picked up a block from Davin Joseph, and Jerramy Stevens made a great instinctive play."
(On not being able to call a timeout and the failed two-point conversion attempt) "I'm not sure if the 49ers – I think they rushed three guys. I got a new headset today, it wasn't the wireless motorolla one they give us – it went out today, so we had a cord that was attached to me, and I ran out of cord. I couldn't get out there to get the timeout. I'm glad I didn't. That was the play we wanted, we had five eligibles in the endzone, and we knew if the 49ers did rush three, we'd have an opportunity to create with a scramble drill, and we did, we just didn't quite get two feet in bounds."
(On if his team upstairs thought the call on the failed two-point conversion attempt should have been reviewed) "Our people said he was out, but you would expect them to take a look at that to make sure. It was a sudden play at an impact-point of the game. Again, disappointed to lose, very proud of our football team today, we played a lot of guys, it was hard to do. We had a lead at halftime, guys wanted to play in the second half, but we did lose [wide receiver] Maurice Stovall, [wide receiver] Joey Galloway aggravated his shoulder. I want to try to get into the playoffs with the guys that got us here and that's going to be the goal again this week."
(On if taking WR Joey Galloway out of the game was done for precautionary reasons or if his shoulder injury is believed to be more severe than that) "Well he hurt his shoulder, and again, he is a much-needed guy, okay. It might be a precautionary, it might also be a reality that he does have something wrong, that I don't know. We'll find out as soon as we can for you."
(On the shorter week and having already clinched a playoff birth – if those two factors will change the team's approach to the home finale against Carolina) "Well obviously we could play on a short week Saturday when the playoffs do begin. And people can say what they want to say, everybody has an opinion and I respect that, but we're going to try to get a look at some players that need some playing time. We're also going to try to make sure that we enter the playoffs with the men that got us here. We'll try to do both things – we're going to try to win the game, we're going to continue to evaluate our football team and improve some areas that need to be improved."
(On wishing all Buccaneer fans a Merry Christmas) "That's the most important thing – we have a lot to be thankful for, not just because of the season we've had. God bless everybody out there, enjoy the holiday season, and we cannot wait to see you as we finish the regular season against Carolina."
Bucs post-game quotes courtesy of the Buccaneer Radio Network.
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