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Harbaugh, Kaepernick React To Playoff Victory

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, QB Colin Kaepernick, DT Justin Smith, T Joe Staley, S Donte Whitner, WR Jeremy Ross, CB Casey Hayward, CB Carlos Rogers, RB Frank Gore, WR Michael Crabtree and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman all spoke with the media Saturday night with their post-game reactions and back-to-back NFC championship appearance.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

Press Conference January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

Whatd you think about that performance from your team?

Thought it was a great team performance, great team victory. Highlight the special teams where we got the big turnover. The coverage was outstanding. [S] C.J. Spillman, a bunch of guys - [LB] Tavares Gooden, [LB] Larry Grant, [FB] Bruce Miller, [TE] Delanie Walker, [K] David Akers, [P] Andy Lee, tremendous job there. Defensively we got the great interception, got stops, which is really tough to do against this offense. Offensively, thought we played great. [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] had a great game. Just excellent team performance.

What did you say to Colin after that pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to get him back going again?

Just that there was a lot of football left. He does a great job of responding. He has done that. Every time theres been an interception that hes thrown, or safety or turnover. Hes responded with a scoring drive. I think thats rare. I think thats a rare quality. And so far hes shown that hes got that ability to come back.

Why is that such a rare quality do you think?

I dont know. I have no statistics to back it up, or evidence. Just a feeling that its hard for a quarterback after throwing an interception to respond with a touchdown-scoring drive, especially. I dont think that happens very often. But, it happens. Hes consistently done a nice job of just moving on.

Did the game plan involve getting Kaepernick running? It seemed like that was a huge part of this one. Did you plan for that?

Yeah, that was in the plan. A lot more pistol formation in this game plan, both handing the ball off and Kap running and play action, where were throwing out of it. Were pretty multi-dimensional on that formation.

Did you set that up by not doing that very much in the last few regular season games? There didnt seem to be a lot of read option against Seattle against Arizona?

It was more prevalent in this plan.

Can you describe how DT Justin Smith returned today and how he looked?

He looked good. From my eye it looked like he was stout against the run and his legend grows. What a player.

When you saw Colin in college, did you sort of picture this? This was what he did, running out of that pistol, 9,000 yards passing, 4,000 running. Did you see a guy doing this in the pros?

Well, I obviously saw a lot of great qualities about the young man. And he did a great job throwing the ball and some of the throws he made were outstanding. Our receivers did a heck of a job. [TE] Vernon Davis did a nice job. Everybody was in on it. I thought it was one of our better games offensively.

How well did WR Michael Crabtree play, and how vital is he to the offense?

I think its pretty well documented how vital he is. Again, he was outstanding. The back-shoulder catches, those are great plays. The catch and runs again. The yards that he gets after the catch. Hes really like a running back when he gets the ball in his hands. And he was outstanding.

Youve mentioned that Colin doesnt even say that much to you when you talk to him. Did he just give you a look in the eye after the interception? Did he say anything to you like, like hey I got this? Was there any conversation from him to you?

No, he just said he understood. I think thats pretty close to what he said.

Were you able to see from the sidelines, they showed some replays, it looked like T Joe Staley was doing a pretty good job against LB Clay Matthews when he was lined up on that side? Were you able to notice any of that?

Yeah, noticed that. I thought our protection was very good. Colin had a chance to go through his reads, set his feet and fire the ball. Consistently good protection all day.

There was a perception that if you had lost tonight with Colin that your decision to make him the starter would have been a mistake. Were you even thinking, or do you care about that perception?

No, its just a great team victory. I give our players a lot of credit. They had a great week of preparation. They played very poised. I thought they competed like maniacs. And we get another week of work. So, well move on with humble hearts and get ready for our next opponent.

How did you used to respond after an interception when you were quarterback?

I dont know. I hate to be short. I hate to be rude, but what the heck does that have to do with this game?

Going forward for next week what do you want to see in improvement on the defensive side of the ball? You said you have to go work on some things. What do you want to see for next week?

Same thing. We want to study for the test. Whoever that is that were playing, and have a great week of preparation. And then come out and compete like maniacs. This is that do-or-die, win-or-go-home kind of situation. Such a unique dynamic. So, well do the things that weve always tried to do as a team and do them to the best of our God-given ability.

At what point tonight did you realize your brother had won his game?

Somewhere in the first quarter, I believe.

Someone told you from upstairs?

Yeah, yeah. Congratulations to [Ravens head coach] John [Harbaugh] and the Ravens. That was a real football fight. I had the chance to watch some of it before our game. Feel great for John and his team.

When you say it was in the game plan for Colin to run, is it just in the read option youre just telling him think more about running that, than giving it to the running back? Is that the game plan when you want him to run the ball?

Not necessarily, no. Hes got keys that hes reading. Its the read option. Its a give read, or its a pull and run it himself. Sometimes its even a pitch it to somebody else decision.

QB Colin Kaepernick

Press Conference January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

Your first playoff start and it was just like how I remembered covering you at Nevada. You were flowing out there, can you talk a little bit about that?

Our offensive line played great today, they did a lot of thing well, up front. Our running backs ran well and our receivers made plays.

But how about you, you seemed to be just feeling it?

I mean, its a lot easier when other people are making plays. Our offensive line came out, they dominated up front, so that makes it easier on a quarterback.

What about your feeling after the interception?

I had to bounce back.

Were you aware that you broke the NFL record for most rushing yards as a quarterback in any game?

Not until after the game.

What does it mean to you?

Its a great accolade, I think it means a lot to this team. Our offensive line did an amazing job, our receivers, tight ends and running backs did amazing jobs. They opened up a lot of lanes for me.

What is it like standing there and listening to your teammates describe you in the way they did?

Its great. Any time your teammates have confidence in you and they feel good about what youre doing, it makes you feel like youre doing the right things.

Have you ever rushed for that many yards in a game at any level?

Not with this much significance.

Can you describe how the 56-yard touchdown came about and what you saw?

The end came down, our receivers blocked the corner and the safety. There was nobody else left.

How well did Michael Crabtree play in particular?

He played great. He is a key player in this offense. He is a playmaker. He is someone that we want to get the ball into his hands and see what he can do.

Earlier in the season you talked about how you wouldnt know until the game if you were in or not. Can you talk about the ride this season?

Its been amazing and I couldnt ask for anything more.

We love to categorize players, hes a runner, hes a passer are you hard to categorize?

I dont want to be categorized.

Coach Harbaugh mentioned that your running was part of the game plan this week. Did you know that a lot of the responsibility was going to be on your legs?

We had a lot of plays that we put in to utilize that. We also opened up running lanes for our running backs. Frank [Gore] broke a big one, LaMichael [James] was about to break one too. It was just another tool for this offense.

Are both of those running touchdowns designed runs?

Not the first one.

What happened there on the first run?

Man to man coverage, they doubled Crabtree, broke down and saw a run.

Were they spying on you at all out there?

I think a couple of times, a little. For the most part they were trying to double receivers and keep eyes on them.

How much were they double teaming Crabtree?

A little here and there. On big downs they were trying to double to make sure he didnt make a play.

What was your best pass?

I couldnt say.

Last week Joe Webb of the Vikings had a lot of success running until the game got out of hand. Did you see anything from that game that gave you opportunities against them?

Yeah, we knew going in that we were going to have some opportunities.

DT Justin Smith

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

How does it feel about beating QB Aaron Rodgers today?

Any time we have a guy of that kind of caliber over there, I dont care how you win, its just big.

What kind of statement is it to get back to the NFC Championship?

I dont think were really worried about making a statement, were just worried about getting back there. Ive been in this league for 12 years and its hard to get to that game. Were not going to take it for granted and well give it our best shot.

How important was it for you to play?

Im just glad to be a part of this team and get a chance to play in the NFC Championship game.

Your secondary sure held up today:

Theyre phenomenal and I think every one of them is in the Pro Bowl. It was a good defensive win and good team win. Any time you knock QB Aaron Rodgers off it feels pretty good.

T Joe Staley

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

What was he (QB Colin Kaepernick) like in the huddle when he was running so well, and operating the offense so well, in the read option?

It was just business. We get excited when were moving the ball, but you got to put that play, whether its successful or unsuccessful, and put it to rest.

A few times replays isolated you working against LB Clay Matthews, and it looked like you did a good job with him. Do you feel like you did?

Yeah I was pretty happy the way I played today. I knew going in he was going to be a great challenge. Hes a phenomenal player. I was really challenged by our coaching staff and our players, and I knew I had to have a big game.

Can you guess what percentage of the time he was lined up across from you?

Every play he was lined up across from me.

S Donte Whitner

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

On bouncing back after the first quarter interception for a touchdown by Green Bay:

Yeah, experience is big. Were a high character, motivated football team, so when something goes wrong out there we dont really worry about it. We understood that it was a long football game. Mistakes happen sometimes, but we have to bounce back from it. The defense that we think we are, that we believe we are, went out there and improved in the second half like we needed and the offense gave us a lot of points. Thats why we came away with the win.

And how big was field position in this game?

Field position was huge. Whenever youre playing a quarterback like [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers, you want to keep them as backed up as far as possible. We kept them backed up, we made some plays, he made some plays, but we made more plays than them and now were going to the NFC Championship game.

Talk about QB Colin Kaepernick, he set the NFL record by a quarterback for rushing yards in the playoffs.

Everybody that was second guessing the decision to move from [QB] Alex [Smith] to him, I dont think theyll be questioning it anymore. Hes that new style quarterback in the National Football League that can run the read option, that can pull the ball down run it and take it the distance from anywhere on the football field, extremely strong armed, accurate. Hes our quarterback, hes our leader and he did a great job out there today.

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

Why is WR Michael Crabtree able to get separation more now than in past seasons?

Hard work, offseason program, tough player, very talented player. Its that simple. The guy is working hard, taking his game up a notch quite frankly and hes a big spark for us.

How often did you run that read-option out of the Pistol, almost half of the time?

Somewhere around there, Ill have to look at the film, it was a pretty good mix though. It was a good run-pass mix. If you guys remember, we did a bunch of that against the [New York] Giants too, earlier in the year.

Was that how you planned it going in?

It was kind of a wait and see. The answer is yes, but weve always got to be ready to adjust.

And QB Colin Kaepernick tucked it down and took off. Did he even surprise with how fast and elusive he looked or was that part of the agenda, setting it this way?

No, it didnt surprise us. Weve seen that before starting in the preseason. It was a good play. Those plays require a lot of different things, not just one guy so great job by everybody on that play.

WR Michael Crabtree

Press Conference January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

Your touchdown catches came at a time when you guys really needed to score. What was the first half scoring frenzy like?

It was a shoot out, you know. We knew those guys could put up points and we just came out ready to play.

You said that you built off your post season last year, how did it feel to start on a win like this?

It felt like we were in the same place winning that game. Its what we do at the next game. Its all about the next game.

How about Kaepernicks performance tonight?

Hes a guy playing football. He makes it happen with his feet, with his arms. Hes just out there making plays. He is a playmaker.

Why do you think you two play so well together?

I couldnt tell you, its just something that happens. We are out there trying to make a play. We both have one goal, to try and win.

Did Green Bay try to do anything different with you this time and as time went on?

I saw a couple double teams, especially in the red zone. We have so many players on our team: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn Jr, Randy Moss and our running game. We have too many playmakers for anyone to get double. We have a great team.

When Colin is running, do you see the defense have to react so much to him and maybe open up some other plays?

I think it goes both ways. You have to react to everyone on the field. Whether its the receivers or running backs coming out of the flat. He does it with his legs so well.

What was the feeling in here at halftime?

Just going out here and really trying to finish up the game. Nobody panicked, everyone was on their Ps and Qs. Everybody knew what they had to do to make the game go. We just went out there and made it happen.

When Colin throws an interception to start the game, how did you see him react?

There was no frustration at all. Thats what I was surprised about, he really was in our ear and told us to make a play. I kept telling myself, we need to make a play. I slipped on one play and fell and was mad about that the entire game. I felt like I had to redeem myself, go out there and do my job.

Last year you said you wanted more opportunities, did you feel like you had something to prove in this game?

Every playoff game I have something to prove. Last year it was bad, it was what it was. We are on a new year and Im just trying to make a play and get that win.

RB Frank Gore

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

Is it an adjustment for you running the read option?

I am a football player. I just adjust to whatever. That is the way to get a W, then whatever, I just want to win.

What was it like for you out there with all that room for running?

It was fun. Our offensive line did a great job. [QB Colin] Kaepernick did a great job, and our coordinator did a great job.

What is it like having your quarterback outrushing you?

It is not the first time. I am not surprised what he did. If that is what it takes to get wins and reach our goal, I am with it.

The offense had 44 points and you had a nice night.

We just have to keep working. We know how it feels from last year and not getting done.

CB Carlos Rogers

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

What can you say about the way your offense performed, especially QB Colin Kaepernick and what he did tonight?

They did real well. You listen to all the reporters and everybody that talks, it was all about [Packers QB] Aaron [Rodgers] and what he was going to do to our defense and what their defense was going to do to our offense. All the pressure was on Kap. He came out here and performed. He ran the ball, he controlled the offense, he controlled the clock. I think in the first half we had four series, second half probably less than that. But we did a good job, offense did a good job of keeping him [Rodgers], on the sideline. That was the most important thing.

How impressed were you with WR Michael Crabtrees performance tonight?

Real impressed. Hes grown. Early in his career he had a lot of injuries, just battling foot injuries and things like that but now hes stepping into his own. Hes up there with those guys. Throw him the ball, he can catch any ball, he can run after the catch, hes explosive, he can get in and out of cuts. What else do you want out of a guy than that? He just keeps growing, keeps improving every week. Him and Kap have a connection going and I hope they keep it going.

CB Casey Hayward

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

How did they game plan you? Were you hurt by an over-aggressive defense?

I have to go back and watch the film. I dont quite know. They played a real good game.

Youve had a really impressive rookie year. Now thats its come to a finish, how do you feel about your season?

I felt I did well. But week-in and week-out, our ultimate goal is the Super Bowl. But we fell short by a couple of games.

Was it a question of you guys were there, but [QB Colin] Kaepernick made good plays despite good defense? Or was there anything scheme-wise?

Probably all. He played good. They schemed us on some calls. But we missed some calls and plays as well.

Did this game play a little too close to home like the way the first game played out?

They just came out and hit us in the mouth. They just beat us tonight.

WR Jeremy Ross

Post-Game Quotes January 12, 2013

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers

What happened on the muffed punt?

I started focusing on the pressure that was coming. I was looking at the ball all the way in, but I was more focused on the peripheral, just kind of seeing and feeling it out. I was like when I catch it I have to move quick. I lost my fundamentals by keeping my elbows in tight. The ball just went straight through.

Did you have any thought, just forget about what was coming and just make the fair catch?

I just wanted to make the play. At that moment I was like, I am just going to catch this ball, make this guy miss, and I am going to go for a touchdown. I just wanted to make a big play on that one. I probably should have fair caught it.

Source: San Francisco 49ers Media


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