The 49ers opened the 2011 season with a 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Candlestick Park. 49ers.com presents the following notes and quotes from the Week 1 matchup.
With the Win…
• Head Coach Jim Harbaugh became the 6th 49ers head coach to win the season opener in his first year as head coach. He is just the 4th coach to do so at home. Harbaugh is also the 7th head coach in team history to win his first game (Jim Tomsula won first game as interim head coach).
9/27/59 Howard Hickey vs. Philadelphia 24-14
9/12/76 Monte Clark @ Green Bay 26-14
9/10/89 George Seifert @ Indianapolis 30-24
9/7/03 Dennis Erickson vs. Chicago 49-7
9/11/05 Mike Nolan vs. St. Louis 28-25
9/11/11 Jim Harbaugh vs. Seattle 33-17
• Harbaugh became the 8th 49ers head coach to win his first home game.
9/27/59 Howard Hickey vs. Philadelphia 24-14
10/20/63 Jack Christiansen vs. Chicago 20-14
9/22/68 Dick Nolan vs. St. Louis 35-17
9/14/97 Steve Mariucci vs. New Orleans 33-7
9/7/03 Dennis Erickson vs. Chicago 49-7
9/11/05 Mike Nolan vs. St. Louis 28-25
1/2/11 Jim Tomsula vs. Arizona 38-7
9/11/11 Jim Harbaugh vs. Seattle 33-17
• Harbaugh became the first person in NFL history to pass for 25,000+ yards and win a game as a head coach. He passed for 26,288 yards & 129 TDs in his career.
• The 49ers improved their opening day record to 32-29-1 and won their season opener for the first time since the 2009 season.
• The 49ers improved their record against Seattle to 12-13.
• The 49ers won back-to-back games vs. Seattle for the first time since 2006 (11/19/06, 20-14 in San Francisco and 12/14/06, 24-14 in Seattle).
Dominating the Division:
• Since 2009, the 49ers have compiled at 10-3 record vs. the NFC West, ranking t-1st in the NFL.
1t. San Francisco 10-3
3. Cincinnati 9-4
4. Five Teams 8-4
• The 49ers offensive line did not allow a sack on 20 pass atts. by QB Alex Smith. The last time the 49ers did not allow a sack was vs. Den. (10/31/10).
Consistency is Key:
• The 49ers offense scored on four consecutive possessions to end the first half (3 FGs and 1 TD).
Keeping Them in Check:
• San Francisco’s defense held the Seahawks to only 12 rushing yds. in the first half, tying the 3rd lowest rushing yds. allowed in the first half since 2000.
Stellar Opening Day:
• The 49ers defense registered 3.0 sacks in the first half, marking the most on opening day since 2009 at Arz. (9/13).
• The 5.0 sacks by the 49ers defense marked the most sacks on opening day since the team registered 7 sacks vs. St. Louis (9/11/05).
Run Defense Continues Streak
• The 49ers defense has not allowed a 100-yd. rusher in the last 23 games, which marks the longest active streak in the NFL. San Francisco was one of only 2 teams (Pittsburgh) to not allow a 100-yd. rusher in 2010.
History Made at The Stick:
• WR Ted Ginn Jr. posted the second longest kickoff return at home in franchise history after returning the kick 102 yards for the TD. It also marked the fourth longest in team history and the longest kick return since Allen Rossum registered a kickoff return of 104 yards at Ari. on 11/11/08.
1. Abe Woodson 103 yds.
2. Ted Ginn Jr. 102 yds.
3. Terry Kirby 101 yds.
• Ginn became the first player in franchise history to return a kickoff and punt for a TD in the same game.
• Ginn’s returns marked the first time in franchise history that the 49ers have registered a kickoff return for a TD and a punt return for a TD in the same game.
• Ginn became the first player in NFL history to have a kickoff return for a TD and punt return for a TD in the same game on Kickoff Weekend.
• Ginn became the 12th player in NFL history to register a kickoff return for a TD and a punt return for a TD in the same game. The last player to do it was Bears WR Devin Hester vs. Den. (11/25/07).
• Ginn’s 268 total return yds. are the most in a single game in franchise history and ranks 15th in the NFL since 1950.
• Ginn’s kickoff return for a TD marked the first time the 49ers have had a special teams TD on opening day since WR Otis Amey returned a punt 75-yds vs. St. Louis (9/11/05).
Making Plays With His Feet:
• QB Alex Smith scrambled for a one-yard TD run just before halftime, registering his 3rd career rushing TD and first since 12/14/06 at Sea. Over his past 7 games, Smith has 7 TDs (6 pass, 1 rush) and 1 INT.
Welcome to the Team:
• K David Akers connected on 4 of 4 FG atts. (27, 24, 31, 18) and all three PATs, giving him an opening day career-high of 15 pts. Prior to the Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games, Akers’ 15 points are the 2nd most in the NFL in Week 1 (SD RB Mike Tolbert – 18 pts.).
Getting to the Quarterback:
• DT Ray McDonald registered his 6th career sack by taking down Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson for a 2-yd. loss in the first quarter on a third down. It marked his first sack since 11/1/09 at Ind.
• DT Justin Smith posted his 11th career multi-sack game. He dropped QB Tarvaris Jackson in the first quarter, registering his 66th career sack. Smith was able to get to Jackson again in the fourth quarter for his second sack of the day. He has now tallied a sack in three of the past four years on opening day.
• With two sacks on the day, LB Parys Harlason now ranks t-2nd in franchise history with LB Julian Peterson for the most sacks by a linebacker with 21.5. He only trails LB Tim Harris (26.0).
• Haralson registered a FF on each of his two sacks, marking the first two FFs of his career. The first fumble was recovered by DT Will Tukuafu on his first-career play from scrimmage. The second FF was recovered by LB Patrick Willis, marking his 3rd career FR and his first since 9/28/08 at NO.
That’s a First:
• CB Tramaine Brock registered his 1st career INT, picking off QB Tarvaris Jackson to end the first half.
Getting Off the Field:
• Four of the five sacks on the day by DT Ray McDonald, DT Justin Smith and LB Parys Haralson occurred on third-down.
Setting a New Mark:
• P Andy Lee set a new career-high in both gross avg. (59.6) and net avg. (54.2). His previous career-high was 57.2 gross avg. at Pit. (9/23/07) and 53.5 net avg. vs. Ten. (11/8/09).
• Lee’s 59.6 gross avg. is the highest single-game average in franchise history. The previous record was 57.2 set by Lee at Pit. (9/23/07).
• Lee’s 54.2 net avg. is the highest single-game net average for the 49ers since 1976. [Statspass.com’s database only goes back to 1976]
Stud on Special Teams:
• TE Delanie Walker registered 4 special teams tackles according to the Gamebook statistics. His 4 special teams tackles rank t-4th by a 49ers player since 2000.
Making Their Debut
• K David Akers, LB Blake Costanzo, CB Chris Culliver, WR Braylon Edwards, LB Tavares Gooden, C Jonathan Goodwin, LB Larry Grant, RB Kendall Hunter, S Colin Jones, FB Bruce Miller, CB Carlos Rogers, LB Aldon Smith, DT Will Tukuafu, S Donte Whitner, and S Madieu Williams all made their 49ers debut.
Extending Their Streaks
• TE/LS Brian Jennings has now played in 177 consecutive games.
• DT Justin Smith has now started 156 consecutive games, dating back to his rookie season in 2001. Smith’s consecutive start streak ranks 3rd among defensive players and 5th among all NFL players.
• TE Vernon Davis has now started 60 consecutive games, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among TE’s behind Tony Gonzalez (71) and Jason Witten (69).
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference – September 11, 2011
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Did you guys play the way you wanted the team to play today?
“Yeah, the only goal is to win and our guys did a great job. It’s never easy to get a win in the National Football League. I thought our offense had a very blue-collar type of day. I thought [QB] Alex Smith played exceptionally well. He played tough. Good pass protection up front and they did what they had to do. No turnovers, that was huge. Defensively, it was lights out in the first half especially. Gave up one big play. I think the second biggest play they gave up was a 13-yarder besides the touchdown. Outstanding play by [DT] Ray McDonald and [DT] Justin Smith. They were really good. [CB Tarell] T. Brown getting his first start, I thought we played well. Then special teams, there is a list of guys that were outstanding special teams. Starting with [WR] Teddy Ginn. Game ball for Teddy. Great job by [K] David Akers, [TE] Delanie Walker was an animal out there on kickoff coverage. [LB NaVorro] Bowman makes the tackle on the 60-plus punt that [P] Andy [Lee] hit. It’s just him and [RB Leon Washington] 33; if he doesn’t make that play, that would have been a big one against us. [LB Blake] Contanzo played really well. [S C.J.] Spillman had a heck of a day. Good team victory. It feels good.”
You have so many young players on special teams, was that a concern for you at all going into the season? Maybe this unit wouldn’t be as good because they haven’t congealed at this point?
“You go into the first game and you don’t have, at least I didn’t in this case, a real grasp of what the team is. Now we have a better handle. We knew there would be some things we really liked and things that we didn’t. We’ll keep working on improving those things that we’re doing well and see if we can’t get better in areas. But as far as answering your question, yeah, we’re worried about everything coming into the first ball game. I slept like a baby last night; I woke up every hour crying, making sure that these guys were prepared in every way. They had our back; the players did a heck of a job in this one. I was really proud of them.”
You gave a big hug to Alex after his touchdown, was it because of the toughness that you mentioned? Is that the aspect that you liked?
“Yeah. He doesn’t get that in, we’re scrambling to clock it and try to get the field goal before the half, rolling the dice, putting it in his hands, and he came up big for us. Toughness. Great job sticking it in the end-zone by Alex.”
Do you feel different being 1-0 in the NFL as opposed to being 0-0 in your career?
“What I’m thinking about right now other than the feeling of winning, the great thrill of winning a game. That’s what makes football fun. I’m sure it won’t be too many hours until I really start thinking about this week. I always feel that a football team has a chance to gain its biggest improvement from week one to week two, whether that’s week one of the preseason to week two of the preseason games, week one of the regular season to week two, or playoff game one to game two. I’m sure it won’t be too many hours until I start focusing on that.”
How special is this for you? You only have one chance to win your very first game as an NFL coach and you did that.
“Yeah, somebody mentioned that in there. That’s true. It feels good. A great thrill of winning, I’m very proud of our players. Wonderful feeling.”
QB Alex Smith
Coach Harbaugh was just talking up there about blue collar offense, haven’t heard him use that phrase before, and I don’t know what he means by it. He said you were especially blue collar today, and not you necessarily, though including you, what does he mean by it?
“I don’t want to speak for him, but I think tonight—today, it wasn’t pretty at times. We struggled on first and second down, kind of played the field position game there. Got down in the red zone, what three times in the first half, and couldn’t walk away with touchdowns. Finally punched one in there with the two-minute drill. Same, struggled in the third quarter there to do much, but then in the fourth quarter when they made it a one possession game and we had to answer, we put a drive together and we took it down the field and answered. I guess that’s kind of what I take by that, at least from my perspective, looking at the good and the bad tonight. We made plays when we had to. Obviously, a lot of room for improvement.”
Do you feel like a blue collar quarterback?
“Running in goal line one-yard runs, yeah (laughs). No, you take it how you get it. Some games are like this. Some games you’re spreading out, throwing around, lighting up the score board, and the bottom line is getting the win. Defense played great, especially in the first half, played lights out, and the special teams in the second half made a lot of plays. Offensively, got in the red zone, like I said, multiple times and need to walk away with some touchdowns. Four field goals is…”
How about you breaking a tackle or running through a guy (on your touchdown), what was that?
“I wasn’t trying to run through him. [Inaudible] trying to make contact, and then find any way possible to get in. When it’s a yard, stretch, spin, do whatever you’ve got to do, just try to get in the end zone.”
Coach Harbaugh has always stressed mobility as one of the things he looks for in his quarterbacks, the last couple of years we haven’t really seen that in your game as much. Is that something you could look more to this year where if the pressure is coming and just get whatever yards you can instead of trying to make something happen like with the receiver?
“I think a little more emphasis for sure on. I don’t know about necessarily if there’s pressure, but when things aren’t there, when things break down, yes, the game of football, yes, sometimes it can be ugly, the pocket can be ugly, and it’s not always going to be pretty. You’re not always going to be able to sit back there and throw to guys on time. When things break down, use your feet. I feel like I have that ability. Yes, I think in the last couple of years for sure got away from it a little bit, just different emphasis I guess, and if it helps us, anything I can do to help.”
TE Vernon Davis
What happened on that big catch, what happened on that 27-yard catch? Did things break down?
“Things started to move forward once I made that play. All the guys started to feed off of that. That’s what you need, you need a big play and the other guys come along like [WR] Braylon Edwards, [WR] Joshua [Morgan], [TE] Delanie [Walker] and all of those guys. We all feed off each other.
WR Braylon Edwards
What was your impression of Ted Ginn before you got here versus now?
“Well my impression really hasn’t changed. I went against Teddy three years in college, so I’ve seen this live and in person. He has returned some punts on us while I was at Michigan that hurt us, then I played against him for three years when he was with Miami. He had two on them in one game and that ended up beating us. So I’ve seen this before and I’m happy I can be on his team now and enjoy, versus watching from the sidelines.
Are you happy for him personally?
“I know Teddy personally, so I’m really excited for him. I hosted him when he was thinking about coming to Michigan, but obviously that didn’t work out. He’s a fighter. He’s a good guy. I know his father. I know his family. I wish him all the best and today he is showing you what he can do when he gets a chance.”
WR Ted Ginn, Jr.
Who gave you the game ball?
“The team. I felt like I did great and I appreciated it but it’s just another day on the job.”
What were you thinking when you were about to hold the ball up and then you kind of tucked it in the last 10 yards?
“I looked up at the jumbotron and saw that there was a guy behind me. I thought to put it across my arms and secure it across the goal lines to make it be what it is, a touchdown, to secure the victory for us.”
After the first touchdown you ran back, was your adrenaline pumping before the second one? Did you amaze yourself?
“I didn’t really amaze myself but I didn’t think that they were going to come right back and punt it to me and I just tried to make them pay for it and I did. The penalty was on my mind, I thought it was on us, but I found out it was against them and it made me feel a lot better. I enjoyed the win and I know my team enjoyed the win and that’s what it’s all about. It’s a collective effort. We’re just going to try to come back next week and do it again.”
In Miami, those were both kickoff returns. How special is it to get a punt return and a kickoff return in the same game, back-to-back?
“It’s great. You do it on a video game a lot but you don’t really see it too much in real life. I have watched so many guys do it whether it’s two punt returns, two kickoff returns. It’s a blessing in disguise. I got to give most of it to God because he made it work. I just have to keep going out and keep practicing and keep getting better.”
LB Parys Haralson
How big were turnovers? You guys forced three of them and then you saw your offense hold onto it the whole game:
“That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve always got to force fumbles and get opportunities to score points and that’s what we were able to do, to come out and try to force fumbles and get our offense the ball.”
DT Ray McDonald
Can you talk about the pressure you guys had on the D-line? It seemed like all day you guys were in their backfield.
“We had a good game plan going in. We knew we had the kid Tarvaris [Jackson] in front of us. We knew he was a good running quarterback. We stayed in our rush lanes and did our job.”
WR Joshua Morgan
You guys made put up 16 points and really took the wind out of their sails early:
“Yes, we capitalized, but we always want, you’re not going to complain about the points, but we want touchdowns instead of field goals so we’ve got a lot of getting better to do. We’ve got to score when we get down there, we’ve got to get those short-yardage plays and we’ve just got to not make it close. We left too much room in there and we made it close. There were some big plays by some big-time players but other than that we made it close. We’ve got to score when we get down there, we can’t keep kicking field goals, but we came out and we produced. We’re greedy, as an offense you’ve got to be greedy. We want to score, we want six.”
Talk about the job special teams did today, [K David] Akers made four field goals and obviously the two big returns:
“He’s mister automatic. We’re not trying to jinx him, but I haven’t seen him miss since he’s been here. And with [WR] Ted [Ginn Jr.], I would do anything for that speed, I think anybody would. He’s a special player and, like I said, big-time players make big-time plays when it’s crunch time and he just stepped up and did what he had to do.”
CB Carlos Rogers
Talk about the job the defense did overall, you guys had three turnovers and held them scoreless in the first half:
“It was a real good job. That front line, I was real surprised. I always heard about how they don’t give up a hundred yards rushing, how good they are as a group. And just to see it out there for four quarters I was still surprised. I kept telling them, ‘Keep going, keep going, that’s good.’ It takes a lot of pressure off the backend when they do that and they’re rushing the coverage works together. I was really pleased. We’ve got a another challenge next week and it’s not going to be like it looked this week; the Cowboys are going to come in ready to go so we’re going to have to put this film to bed and be ready to go next week.”
T Joe Staley
Talk about the game a little bit.
“The offense really took care of the ball. We didn’t make any dumb decisions with the ball. We didn’t turn it over. I think that was a big key for us offensively. Obviously, we would like to get things going a little more with running the ball. I think we did a great job up front protecting the quarterback, no sacks today, and that’s something we definitely improved on from the preseason. Good first step. The big key was no turnovers and smart decisions, and we came out with the W.”
How was Alex Smith? Is he the same Alex or is it Alex II or a little bit improved version?
“It’s the same old Alex I’ve always known. I think he communicated more leadership in the huddle. He did well out there. Like I said, no turnovers. That was a big key is that we won the turnover battle. It’s exciting.”
TE Delanie Walker
What was Harbaugh like before the game today? Was he rah rah or was he quiet?
“Harbaugh is Harbaugh. He never changes. You aren’t ever going to see a difference in Harbaugh, what you see is what you get. He was the same person he always is. He will come around and joke with you and do what he does. That’s Harbaugh. We like that. There isn’t any screaming and yelling with Harbaugh. He is the cool and collected type guy. The type of guy you can see in the streets and think he’s a good person.”
S Donte Whitner
How about winning like that on the 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11 and making that kind of statement, a divisional game, you guys are one up in the division, and all of that?
“Yes we are one up in our division, but we look at it as two. So if you go (to Seattle) next time we play Seattle and go 2-0 then we know we have the ups on them. Coming out, 9/11 in a very emotional before the game, it’s just good to come get the win. Wins are hard to come by in a National Football League game. To go out and win in the fashion we did today was excellent and great momentum for our football team.”
Those defensive linemen, DT Ray McDonald, DT Justin Smith, tell me about your experience playing with those guys?
“I love playing with those guys. It’s the first time in my career in the National Football League I have a front-seven like this, where you don’t really have to worry about much. Some things will come out of there, here and there, but you really don’t have to worry about much. You can really focus on coverage and that’s what we did today. We had some small mistakes which is expected in the first game, which we have to clean up, but I think the sky’s the limit for this defense. We have a bunch of physical guys, smart guys, and after we correct our mistakes we will be ready for Dallas.”
Some guys that played for Vic Fangio say he’s a ruthless defensive coordinator. You guys played ruthless out there. Did you feel ruthless?
“Yes he’s ruthless. If you check my Twitter page, a couple days ago I said ‘Vic for President,’ because he understands the game. He had an offensive background mixed with defense, and if you know offense and you come up on the defense side of the ball, you know how to attack offenses. He knows how to attack offenses. A couple plays out there, we let him down by letting things out that we won’t let happen again, but he’s built this defense from the bottom up and we expect to be a really, really good defense this year.”
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
“This is a very disappointing first game for us. The way that we played this football game, we gave them so many opportunities here to get us and they did a good job taking care of their opportunities and did it. With the first half, the defense battled like crazy, played a really good first half, giving us a chance to stay in the game. Offense was struggling. We couldn’t get much of any rhythm at all. At halftime, we stuck with the things we thought were working in the game plan and stayed right with it and tried to find tempo. We started to move it and things just shifted. Defense continued to play really well – got us three-and-outs and the things we needed to do to get back in the game. We made the plays we needed to get made to get back in. It felt really like we were right there to take this game over and then we just fell apart. [WR] Ted Ginn [Jr.] did his stuff, had two great plays and took our chance of coming back in this game away. It’s a game that could have been much different. Our guys will hang tough on this. This is an important message that this is the first game and we made enough mistakes to give a football game away and we did. So, there’s things that we can fix and things that we can take away when we get back to work and get going. Very disappointed that this is the way that it happened. Eleven penalties and the turnovers and the kicking game breakdown. We have a lot to work on. We have a long way to go and we’re going to bounce right back and see if we can get this going this week.”
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