The 49ers lost a 27-24 overtime contest against the visiting Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. 49ers.com presents the following notes and quotes from the Week 2 matchup.
Holding the Run in Check:
- The 49ers defense held the Cowboys to 7 yds. rushing (9 atts.) in the 1st half. The 7 yds. allowed tie for the fewest rush. yds. yielded in the 1st half by the 49ers since 12/18/95 vs. Min. (7 yds. on 8 atts.).
Making the Most of It:
- WR Kyle Williams hauled in an 12-yd. TD recept. from QB Alex Smith. The TD recept. for Williams was his 1st career NFL TD on just his 2nd career recept.
- With a 75% completion percentage in Week 1 vs. Sea. (9/11/11) and a 66.7 % total in Week 2 vs. Dal. (9/18/11), it marks the 1st time since 11/12/06 at Det. (70.0%) and 11/19/06 vs. Sea. (76.0%) that Alex Smith has posted consecutive weeks with completion percentages of 66.7%-or-higher.
I’ve Got It:
- S Donte Whitner notched his 1st INT as a Niner and 6th career INT. It marked his 1st INT since 12/5/10 at Min. as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
- CB Tramaine Brock recorded his 2nd career INT after CB Carlos Rogers batted it in the air. Brock notched his second INT in as many weeks.
- With INTs in back-to-back weeks, Brock became the 1st 49er to register an INT in consecutive games since CB Dre’ Bly (12/20/09 at Phi. and 12/27/09 vs. Det.).
- Prior to the Sunday night and Monday night games, Brock is also t-1st in the NFL with 2 INTs on the season.
- Also prior to the two night games, the 49ers defense is t-4th in the NFL with 3 INTs.
Walking into the End Zone:
- TE Delanie Walker caught a 29-yd. TD pass to record his 3rd career TD and 1st since 12/2/07 at Car.
- K David Akers connected on a 55-yd. FG, marking the 3rd longest FG in franchise history (Joe Nedney, 56 yds. at StL – 12/24/05 and Mike Cofer, 56 yds. at Atl. – 10/14/90). The 55-yarder is the 2nd longest of his career (57 yds. vs. NE – 9/14/03).
- K David Akers is t-2nd in the NFL with 21 points. His 55-yd. FG is t-2nd longest FG in the NFL this season (Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski, 63 yds. and Jaguars K Josh Scobee, 55 yds.).
- DT Ray McDonald registered his 7th career sack, marking the 1st time he has recorded sacks in multiple weeks since 9/13/09 at Arz. and 9/20/09 vs. Sea.
- Through the first two weeks, the 49ers defense has tallied 6 sacks which ranks t-5th in the NFL.
Run Defense Continues Streak:
- The 49ers run defense has not allowed a 100-yd. rusher in the last 24 games, which marks the longest active streak in the NFL. The next closest team to not allow a 100-yd. rusher is Chicago (11).
- Through two games, the 49ers defense ranks 1st in the NFL, allowing just 54.5 yds. per game on the ground.
Moving the Chains:
- The 49ers offense converted 8-16 third down atts. (50%), marking the 1st time the team has recorded at least 50% or better on third down since 11/29/10 at Arz. (7-13 – 53.8%)
- The 49ers special teams unit ranks 1st in the NFL, averaging 43.8 yds. per kickoff return and t-1st with 1 TD.
Extending Their Streaks
- TE/LS Brian Jennings has now played in 178 consecutive games.
- DT Justin Smith has now started 157 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 61 consecutive games, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among TE’s behind Tony Gonzalez (72) and Jason Witten (69).
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference – September 18, 2011
San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Keeping the points on the board instead of going for the first down, what was the thinking behind that at the time?
“The thinking behind it at the time was to have the two score advantage at that point. Felt that we would be able to get off the field and that would lead to a victory.”
Do you feel like that was one you should have won?
“I’m proud of our guys. I thought they played their hearts out. I thought they played well enough to win, but we didn’t win. It’s the National Football League, it’s hard. It’s hard to get those wins. Take my hat off to the Cowboys, they dug themselves out of a hole and came back and won it.”
What’s your assessment of QB Alex Smith today?
“Thought he, like a lot of guys on our team, played well enough to win. Wish we could have had that satisfaction right now. But it’s not to be ours.”
If you played well enough to win, then why didn’t you win? Can you put your finger on it?
“It’s a team game. Like I said, I think our team played well enough to win. We didn’t win. Tip our hat to the Cowboys and that’s what I have to say about that.”
It seemed like the later the game went; the more pressure was on Smith. What happened with the offensive line that you could point out?
“We took some sacks there in some critical situations. We have got to protect. We’ve got to get the ball out. We’ve got to convert on those plays. I don’t blame anybody. I’m not blaming anybody right now. I’m not into the blame game. They’re a good football team; they deserve the credit for the victory.”
How big of a difference was Dallas QB Tony Romo coming back into the game once you guys got a 10-point lead?
“He made some really good plays there at the end. So did their receivers, so did their team. Made some big plays.”
Is your defense playing as well as you’d like it to play?
“We’re always going to look to play better. I’m proud of our guys, there were spots where the good majority of the time we played well enough to win. We played well. But not well enough to win the game, so that’s really about as much as there is to say about it.”
You were up by three with about 6:50 left and you were not able to run that much time off the clock, in fact you worked in some passing plays. Are you concerned that this team right now is not able to run a clock out, run the ball down a team’s throat?
“I think we can be good. There’s areas that we need to improve. We didn’t run the ball down anybody’s throat, to use your question, but yeah we need to get better.”
QB Alex Smith
Alex, it’s got to be tough tonight, you guys played well enough to win, did you feel that way tonight? Why didn’t you win?
“Definitely executed better in the first half it felt like. I felt like in the second half, especially there at the end, just negative plays. It seemed like every series there was one negative play. Whether there would be a sack, or a loss, or a penalty, we put ourselves in second and long, third and long, and it was tough to overcome. In the first half we didn’t do that; we had third and manageables, moved the chains, more production on first and second down. Just felt like they were late. It seemed like we were behind the chains too often.”
The past two games in a row now where [RB] Frank [Gore] is unable to get really going, especially when you need him to in the second half, can you account for that? Is there something that you are seeing?
“We played against a good front tonight. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us. They were a good group. You’ve got good players up front. They are physical. They’ve got a good scheme. I couldn’t tell you why right now, but especially there in the second half, like I said, we got behind the chains and then all of a sudden we weren’t as balanced and didn’t get as much going.”
They were bringing a lot of guys that were coming clean. Was that a protection break down? Were you responsible for some of that?
“For sure. All of us. They throw a lot of different fronts at you. A lot of unorthodox pressures. They break a lot of rules, I guess, you might say. As you learn football, you know this guy shouldn’t be able to come and he comes anyway. They do a lot of different things to try to confuse the quarterback, and it got there tonight. But, I think this game more than any, protection was on all of us. Especially the guys outside on me. Being able to get the ball out and beat some of that stuff with throws. And I thought we did a good job in the first half, really mixed it up and beat the pressure. Second half didn’t do as well.”
Alex, is this a step back or a step forward for the 49ers?
“I certainly don’t think it’s a step backwards at all. Absolutely not. There’s certainly no satisfaction in coming close, but I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. Played against a very good team that had their backs against the wall. We’re in a must-win situation. I think a few plays didn’t go differently and all of a sudden it’s a different game.”
CB Tramaine Brock
The game didn’t go your way but the defense forced some turnovers and got some pressure in the second half. Just tell me about the confidence you get when you’re able to get turnovers and stay in the game and give the ball back to your offense?
“As you can see we still have a lot to work on. We’re just going to try and learn from that and our mistakes that happened.”
TE Vernon Davis
Did you feel that you guys were limited when [WR] Braylon [Edwards] went down? You had three receivers at that point.
“I don’t think we were limited because when one man goes down, the next man should be able to step up and get the job done. That’s how it should be. We have enough playmakers to do that.”
RB Frank Gore
Frank you’ve been through, obviously, a new regime but it gets so close when you want to win these games:
“We’ve got to win. We aren’t the old 49ers where we’re hoping to win. We’re going out knowing that we can win. We just can’t let any more get away like this. Everybody, coaches, players, we’ve got to finish. When the time comes to get those first downs, we have to get them.
Was there a different mentality when you guys went up 14-0 and you guys were in complete control?
“We went out there knowing that we could beat those boys. Like I said there’s no more hoping. There’s none of that anymore.”
WR Joshua Morgan
What follows this? How does this team prepare and where do you go from here?
“We take a step up. We’ve got to watch the film, see what we did wrong, see what we did to give the game away and just get better and learn from it. There’s no moral victories but at the same time we know that we have to do whatever we didn’t do right. We just have to go in and capitalize and keep the W while we’ve got it.”
CB Carlos Rogers
What does this defense take from this loss?
“We know how to play, we know how to get turnovers, we know how to pressure the quarterback and we know how to cover wide receivers. I think our biggest thing is no matter what the offense does, we have to close out games. We didn’t get that done.”
Seemed like you were able to control Austin and TE Jason Witten later in the game, than it was a second-year, WR Jesse Holley with a 76-yard completion. What happened on that final play?
“I missed the coverage. It was a combination of both of us, the safety ran the play action route. I need to stay deeper than him. When you get a play action run, he’s supposed to be the guy that comes up and I need to be staying deep no matter if he goes in at the safety no matter what. Unfortunately, both of our eyes were wrong and my eyes were bad.”
T Joe Staley
Coach said he was proud of the way you guys and the entire team played today. Obviously the Cowboys made plays when they had to. Is that the way you saw the game shape up today?
“It was a hard fought game. It was a full 60 minute game, and then it went to overtime. Obviously we’re very disappointed we couldn’t come up with a win today. felt like we got up the whole way, but we didn’t come out on top. It’s the second week and we’re 1-1 and we’re going to go back to practice, work hard, and get ready for Cincinnati.”
TE Delanie Walker
Coach [Jim Harbaugh] said he was really proud of the way that you guys played and just said the Cowboys made plays when they had to, is that kind of the way you look at it to?
“That’s how we look at it. They made plays when they had to make plays. They’re a great team, it’s the NFL, stuff happens in this league. We aren’t going to have any opponents that just come in and let us smack them in their mouth. They played a good game, it’s the Dallas Cowboys. We’re going to keep our heads up because we played an excellent game too.”
Can you talk about your touchdown catch and that swing of momentum after you were matched up on the linebackers? Was that something you guys were looking for?
“A touchdown doesn’t matter, it’s nothing to praise when you lose. To me it doesn’t even seem like it happened. If we came away with the ‘W’, I can explain it better, but we didn’t so it doesn’t even matter.”
S Donte Whitner
What was the feel in the locker room and how did the guys take this loss?
“It’s a hard loss. We prepared so hard. We circled it on our calendar, on our schedule. We let it slip through our hands and we gave up too many big plays. We gave up entirely too many big plays and that has to be corrected.”
How about the end, the 77-yard reception, what happened on that?
“We were in quarters. We were in quarters to that side and there was a miscommunication with the corner and myself and the guy took off for that deep post. I’ll let coach Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff really go in depth into that, but it was just a mistake.”
Do you guys feel like you played good enough to win this game?
“We felt like we played good enough but still, we had an ample amount of opportunities out there to end the game, to win the game. We let it slip through our hands. We’re not going to hold our heads down. It’s one football game out of 15, we have 14 games left to go, but if we want to get to where we want to go we can’t allow big plays.”
Is there something you guys can build on?
“There are some things that we can build but we don’t want to just take the positive out of this game, we wanted to come away with a W. But we have to go back and watch the film. We have to be hard on ourselves, we have to allow the coaching staff to be hard on us. We have to come out and correct the mistakes that we made because we felt like we had an opportunity to win this football game. We expected to win this football game and we didn’t.”
WR Kyle Williams
Can you describe the atmosphere in the locker room after the game?
“Guys are pissed off. That’s a game we felt we should’ve won. We had it and we should’ve finished it. Nobody’s holding their heads down in here. Nobody’s pointing fingers. We’re fine. We’re going to get our mistakes cleared up, we’re going to go next week and go after our opponent.”
Coach [Harbaugh] said he was really proud about the way you guys played today. It was just a case of the Cowboys making plays when they had to. Is that the way you saw the game shape up?
“When we had that last drive, we should’ve capitalized because they did. Again, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. We’re going to get back in there. Don’t think for a second that guys are hanging their heads down and pointing fingers and blaming guys. That’s not how we roll in here. Everybody’s going to go after it, clean up what they messed up and we’ll be fine.”
S Madieu Williams
Stopping the big plays is something you guys have been emphasizing on defense. Why were you not able to do that today?“They out-executed us. Plain and simple. We did a good job in the first half and they came out in the second half and did a better job of executing.”
Even going into overtime in the game, and even though they had made up the difference, how confident was the team and did it still feel that it was still your game at that point?
“We still had a chance. We were still in the game. We had a chance to get a stop. We failed to do that.”
LB Patrick Willis
Did you feel like you lost an opportunity to make a statement against a pretty good team?
“I felt like we did. I felt we had an opportunity for us as a team. We fell short. Even falling short, we certainly played well. We did some very good things, but we did more bad than we did good. We can’t have that if we want to be the kind of team that we want to be.”
What happened on that big play in overtime?
“I’m not sure. I don’t want to say it was one guy’s fault or this guy’s fault. We have to go back in and watch film and see what happened. Whatever happened, it wasn’t a good one by no means. It’s a long season. We still have a lot of football left. We’re not going to let this loss define us as a football team. We’re going to continue to fight and get better and get ready for next week.”
One thing that went right for you all day was the run defense. That’s a couple of weeks in a row. Does that give you hope that they figure out some other things and that’s going to be there for you still?
“We want to be a complete defense. We pride ourselves on stopping the run. But when we stop a team and make them one-dimensional, we have to be able to stop what they do well as well. Today, we played short of that. Like I said, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of our defense. It’s just a little bump in the road that we have to crossover.”
Dallas Head Coach Jason Garrett
Can you talk about this gutty performance and victory?
“I thought it was a great win. I thought it was a great win for a lot of different reasons. We talk all the time that it takes everybody, and we certainly found that out today. We had a number of guys that weren’t able to play prior to the game, and then we had a number of guys that were injured during the game. We had a lot of young guys out there playing. I thought they did a really nice job handling the situation. I thought the defense did an outstanding job throughout the game defending the run. That’s an awfully good running team. They’re a very good offense and they control the football. And as we, on offense, were struggling a little bit on that first drive, they were doing a great job keeping us in the ball game. Certainly, the turnovers were a factor in the game. They hurt us at some point, but then we rallied back, got a couple, and then everybody just battled in the end. We made a lot of big plays in the game, converted some third downs, converted some fourth downs. We prevented them from converting those third downs and getting the ball back. Obviously, the kicks were big and the pass to [WR] Jesse Holley was big. It was a total team effort. A lot of guys had to step up and play and they did that today.”
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