What The 49ers Are Saying After Beating Vikings

The 49ers strengthened their playoff push with a 31-13 win Sunday over the Falcons at Levi’s Stadium.

Deebo Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk and Jeff Wilson Jr. all ran for touchdowns, and Jimmy Garoppolo found Jauan Jennings later for a score after Nick Bosa forced a fumble on a third-quarter sack of Matt Ryan to give the Niners a short field.

San Francisco remains in the NFC’s No. 6 seed and secured the head-to-head tiebreaker over Atlanta. The 49ers are a game and a half ahead of Washington and Philadelphia, who play each other Tuesday, as well as the Saints and Vikings, who play tonight and tomorrow.

Garoppolo finished the game 18 of 23 for 235 yards, another in a string of strong games while the Niners have turned toward the run game. Wilson ran for 110 yards on 21 carries in addition to his touchdown.

Here’s what the 49ers said of the victory:

Kyle Shanahan

Injuries: “Safety Talanoa Hufanga (knee, did not return), defensive end Nick Bosa (head, returned), safety Jaquiski Tartt (ankle, returned).”

On what he likes most about the win:

“I liked almost how we played every play, except for about 10 of them, which doesn’t sound like the best answer. Our defense played really well in the first, though we had three penalties on third downs and I think they got points off them. One was unfortunate, part of the league,and two were on us that we have to fix.

“The offense was really good. Two drives before our final drive, we went three-and-out, and we need to just stay on the field and finish theme there. The defense came up huge with those fourth down stops, which made us survive it.

On keeping starters in:

“All I was thinking about was the last time we were up by 14 against these guys in the fourth quarter and we lost (in December 2014). I didn’t relax until we got a first down with about five minutes left.”

On opening the second-quarter TD drives with long completions:

“They’re all designed to go that long. We thought we had a chance to do so. They were playing zones and if we could hit guys at the right angle running through them, they had a chance. Deebo got a big one. Aiyuk got a bi one. Kittle got one in the first half down the middle. …

“Those guys run pretty fearlessly through the zones, Jimmy has a quick throwing motion and it was nice to crease them.”

On Hasty’s fumble:

“I hated how we started the game with that, you now, we struggled on special teams.”

On Garoppolo’s good stretch:

“Jimmy hasn’t been much different to me all year. I think we’ve gotten better around him throughout the year. I think we’ve gotten more continuity on offense, with the skill positions and tight ends. They’ve gotten healthier and been out there more consistently. When you can string weeks together, usually you improve. We have struggled with consistency. Guys have gotten better with health, and then us committing to the run a lot better than the beginning of the year, that helps everybody on offense.”

On Arden Key roughing-the-passer penalty:

“You’re not allowed to land on quarterbacks in a certain way. I’m not exactly sure so I’ll check with the league. It’s a little different when you hit them from behind and you’re going forward, you don’t know if they’re still a passer. …He had one earlier this year he’s got to avoid. This one was tough, though.”

On Jeff Wilson:

“He’s improved a ton. We all know what Jeff is so it’s not like he wasn’t any good. It’s hard when you get hurt in OTAs and then your first practice is Week 6 or whatever that was. So it’s taken him a while to get fully his legs back. He’s been looking so much better these last few weeks and each week he gets stronger and stronger.”

On the 49ers’ physicality:

“I think our team, when we can be the more physical team — and that’s not to take anything away from them — that’s kind of our goal every week. We have some guys that enjoy the physicality of the game whether they have the ball in their hand or whether they’re blocking or whether they’re hitting on defense, and I think that’s extremely important to be a good team.”

On DeMeco Ryans:

“I’ve been very pleased and excited about DeMeco. We knew he’d be good. But there’s lots of challenges that go through the year and when it’s your first time.”

On faith that the team would come back from early losses:

“It was mainly watching the five games that we lost. I mean, you just got to look at how they go and you don’t want to just say that ‘Hey guys, we execute better and you’ll be all right.’ But it’s when you watch stuff, we just got to get more consistent at this stuff.

“I give soft compliments a lot. I mean, Jimmy and I see each other every day, so it’s not like ‘Hey things have been weird for five days, I gotta go tell you that I think you’re playing pretty good.’ He doesn’t need that and most of our guys don’t.”

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Kyle Juszczyk

On the team’s form:

I think we’re peaking at the right time. I should preface it with we’re definitely not playing as best we can.

On Garoppolo:

Today there was something different about him. He just had this aura about him. I mean, even at breakfast George and I looked at each other, we’re like ‘Jimmy is ready to go today.’

On Garoppolo’s leadership:

We’re going to go as far as Jimmy takes us. He does such a good job being that leader. So good at commanding that huddle, getting us fired up but keeping us calm and directing the offense.

On the turnaround:

There was just so many little things that killed us early in the season, things that we feel like we’ve done a lot better. Taking care of the football, getting the football.

On Williams’ block on his TD run:

I didn’t necessarily see what Trent did. I saw a massive hole. But we’ve ran that play probably 12 times in the last two years and scored I think like four touchdowns on it. It’s not a highlight for me, I promise. It’s a highlight for Trent Williams and Laken Tomlinson.

On the physicality:

I saw a lot of flexing out there and that got me hyped today and it definitely has a trickle-down effect to everybody.

On turning the page to Tennessee Thursday:

Kyle was pretty blunt with us and said we’re not celebrating tonight. It’s time to get ready for Tennessee.

On getting to run the ball:

Anytime I get the opportunity to touch the football, I can’t help but smile. I’m sure you’ll see me every time when I get up I’m smiling. And anytime I get that opportunity to get in the end zone, that’s an even bigger smile.

Deebo Samuel

On whether he knew he’d knocked out a defender’s mouthpiece:

Not really until I saw the replay and everybody was going crazy, so I knew something crazy happened.

On his physicality:

This is kind of the game that I always played. Just to see my team riled up and stuff, it do give you a little confidence boost and a little energy. and then you just go out there and really try to do it again because not too many DBs want to be a part of that, not gonna lie to you.

On his pass attempt:

They just played it well and (I) still just tried to give BA a shot but kind of hit the guy in the back.

On Nick Bosa:

Bosa is an amazing player. Whether you double- or triple-team him, he’s always gonna find a way to get to the quarterback.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel (19) is tackled after a catch against Atlanta Falcons’ AJ Terrell (24) and Atlanta Falcons’ Duron Harmon (21) in the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Nick Bosa

On the play that forced him to be evaluated for a possible concussion:

I’m feeling OK.

On his sack and Ebukam’s sack before it:

I didn’t know the ball was out, but yeah that was huge. Samson made a big play on the play action, and then I had a nice power rush and Fred and Samson ran a good game over there to make and push him out of the pocket. h2 data-curated-ids="" data-relation-type="automatic-primary-section"">

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On how they turned things around from tough start to season:

Just sticking with it. I don’t think much has changed. I think, like I said before, we’ve always been confident in this group and we don’t have to change much. We had some meetings with Kyle throughout the year where we had to kind of figure out what was going on. When it came down to it, it was usually us shooting ourselves in the foot.

On physicality from offense:

Definitely like to see the physicality from our guys. Saw Trent had a good one on Juice’s touchdown. But yeah, whenever we see Aiyuk or Deebo lower their shoulder and George try to get those extra yards, you can hear the crowd and they get excited for it too. It’s just our style of football.

Fred Warner

On Samuel’s hit that launched a defender’s mouthpiece:

That’s just our style of football.

The fans have stuck with us, like I said, and today. it was really, really great atmosphere, you know, hearing them get loud and kind of seeing the stands packed, it was exactly how we envision. Like I said, (home-field advantage) got to mean something to you.

On Bosa’s strip sack that he recovered:

You got 97 on the edge, you got a pretty good chance every play.

On Garoppolo’s early-season struggles and now his strong play:

It hasn’t been awkward at all for us on our side. I mean probably just outside the building, guys talking about it, but inside he’s been the guy all along and Trey, he’s got a bright future ahead.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa (97) high-fives fans as he leaves the field following their 31-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Jimmy Garoppolo

On Juszczyk’s comment about his aura at breakfast:

I felt good. I feel good a lot of games though. I don’t know, our guys were locked in today.

On playing important games in December.

I think whenever you get an opportunity to be in the situation we’re in, it’s not easy, it doesn’t happen for every team but you just got to take advantage when you get the chance.

On the playoff picture:

You have it in the back of your mind but yeah, as long as we keep winning, good things will happen.

On passing tips for Deebo:

BA could have helped him a little bit if I’m being honest, but he looked good. He scrambled a little bit in the middle of the play.

On the physicality:

Guys were hitting today, it was physical. You feel it from the defense too.

Jeff Wilson Jr.

On feeling more himself after injury:

Today was one of those days where I felt like myself. I mean, I felt like old Jeff, you know, before all the stuff happened.

On seeing Deebo run physically:

That’s an energy boost for sure, you know, especially to see him kind of have that same mentality and run like me. It’s just like candy for a baby.

On his teammates’ impact on his comeback:

It’s home. Those brothers are big brothers to me and they always have been. It’s not something made up or some make-believe, it’s something that’s happened over the years, so it’s all love.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: San Francisco 49ers’ Jeff Wilson Jr. (22) runs against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

George Kittle

On Garoppolo’s aura:

I don’t know if I saw it at breakfast, but definitely could tell just in the locker room, especially on the field during warmups. Jimmy was definitely inspired to play at a high level and he definitely inspired us. h2 data-curated-ids="" data-relation-type="automatic-primary-tag"">

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On the offense’s success:

I think our offense is just doing a good job of staying on the field.

On the defense:

What a day for our defense, you can’t really say enough. We started that game pretty badly and, you know, they saved us there, got us out and then they had a couple fourth-down stops.

On physicality:

We want to be physical. Something I learned very young, I said a couple times, my tight end coach John Embree always says you’ve got to make these guys feel it.

On receivers blocking:

In 2019, we were at our best when our wide receivers blocked downfield … I think the last five, six weeks our wide receivers have blocked their tails off.

On big Trent Williams blocks:

You can feel it when there’s just a giant hole where the C gap or B gap should be and it’s just Trent Williams looking at a guy laughing at him.

On any doubts early in the season:

We have a lot of players that can make a lot of really big plays. So no, I’ve always believed in this offense and this team that we can go out there and make plays. Earlier in the season, we were just turning the ball over way too much. We’ve just stopped doing that and it’s given us a chance to win.

Source : https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/12/19/what-the-49ers-are-saying-after-beating-falcons-to-solidify-playoff-position/

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