49ERS HEAD COACH KYLE SHANAHAN
Thoughts on winning the game by just inches:
"I have experience from the Atlanta game, so I wasn't ready to celebrate anything. It kind of ruined my celebration to tell you the truth, I wanted to wait until I saw the scoreboard. I saw he did not get in. Then everyone tried to tackle me but I was waiting to see how much time was left on the clock. I wanted to take a knee. We would have taken a safety if there was one second, so there's no chance to fumble. It was a little hectic there at the end but once the whistle officially blew, I felt very good."
How do you feel about your team going into the playoff as the number one seed:
"I feel real good about it. We worked for this the whole year. The goal going in was just to get into the tournament. To get in there with the number one seed is very good. We were going to be ready to deal with whatever we had to tomorrow, whether we had to go play three games. I know we are much happier that we can stay home now and that your two games away from the big one. We are going to enjoy this bye week. I'm very proud of the guys. We have had to win a lot of different ways this year. I feel like we have done it every way possible and then we find a new way to do it. I wish it would not have been that close at the end. It doesn't matter now. I'm pumped how they finished it."
Can you reflect on what you have done this season:
"Uh no, not totally, not yet. Maybe we can on the plane for a little bit. I think it's a two-hour plane trip, maybe to do it a little there. It feels good to get where we're at. Our goal was to get in the playoffs, it feels much better with being the one seed. By now everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of year. I know we're going to be happy tonight. Then we are going to get back to work and figure out how to recover this week, take care of our bodies. I will put a schedule together on the plane. I had not thought of anything past tonight. So I will get that together on the plane. We will get ready for whoever we have to play a week from now."
Who did you give the game ball to after the game:
"I didn't give the game ball to anyone. I'll just give it to everyone like I usually do. I'm real happy. I think Greenlaw deserved one there at the end. If he does not make that play were not going to win that game. There are a ton of plays we had to make to win that game but that was a difficult one, so he will at least get one. I was pumped at everyone. The guys were ecstatic. They left everything out there. A lot of guys were banged up throughout the game but they never came out. They earned this bye week. I know how happy they are about that."
Thoughts on Deebo Samuel play today:
"Deebo has been the man all year. I have been so impressed with how tough he has played. The moment does not scare him. He has been real banged up the second half of the season. I know he was banged up all week. And for him to come out there today to do the stuff he does in the run and pass game, the play he made on third down I think our second to last possession, ended up leading to a touchdown. Deebo is a stud."
Was today the most locked in you have seen Garoppolo this season:
"I don't know. I would watch the tape. It would probably be the New Orleans one. This would be a close second. I will take either one."
What have you learned about the team to this point:
"We knew going into the year we had a chance to be pretty good with what we had on paper and watching the guys throughout training camp. We knew that pretty well after the first five games, we could feel it. Then you go through a number of injuries and stuff and you never know how you're going to be able to fully handle that. That's what I have been impressed the most with the guys, no one has wavered. Whoever has been in there, we have had some guys we did not know if they could play but they came in. We knew they could play but we did not know how good they could play. A lot of those guys came in and showed everyone that they could play in this league. They helped us stay throughout this whole year as some guys came back. To be able to finish here in Seattle in that environment, against such a tough team, so many good players, they're so well coached. That place is crazy out there. I'm real happy for our guys."
Thoughts on Garoppolo play tonight and what he was able to do:
"Just what he has kind of been doing all year. He responded and the whole offense did. It wasn't just the pass game or just the run game. I thought both did pretty well. They kept us out of a number of third downs. Our guys stepped it up when we had to. I wish we could have finished that last one so we didn't have to come down to that. After we got that penalty, I think we were about a yard and half away on that third and long. I wish we could have finished it there but it was nice for the defense to do it."
With this rivalry what does it mean to you to clinch the number one seed here in Seattle:
"I have a lot of respect for Seattle. I know what they have done for this last decade. I know how hard a team they are to beat no matter where you play them. To clinch something against a very good team is something you always enjoy it a little bit more. But however we would have done it, it would not have mattered."
QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO
On the feeling of watching the final Seattle series:
"Every emotion you can imagine - nerve-racking, anxiety… Every game that we've had lately seemed like it's come down to the last play or two, and this was no different. Defense stepped up huge, though. That was incredible at the end, though."
On what it says about the team that they are able to win in this fashion:
"It's just that we are resilient. I think over the last two years if we were put in this situation it wouldn't always turn out the best for us. I think this year, we've had a couple tough ones but for the majority of them – just guys mentally tough, sticking with it the whole time. It's really paid-off for us."
On how accomplished it feels to get the first seed and the nature of how they did that the last few weeks:
"It's pretty incredible. Especially just from the start of the season, all the hearsay and everything, our team and what we were going to do and to come out here and get the one seed – it's a pretty nice feeling. It's a step in the right direction, but we've still got a long way to go."
On what was going through his mind as he watched Russell Wilson orchestrate touchdown drives in the second half:
"It was tough. Russ is unbelievable, though. He's one of those guys that makes plays, makes some plays that you don't even know how he does it. Just the resilience of the defense, our whole team just paid off."
On what it means to come into Seattle and secure the division:
"It was huge. I was talking to the guys before the game about how important this game was. Not only for us, but the whole organization. It's a big one."
On if he thinks this was his best performance of the season:
"I think I have some room for improvement. Go back and watch the film… Some throws – I missed Emmanuel (Sanders) on a pretty easy one. Missed a couple early, but for the most part I thought our offense played great tonight."
On If he had thought about their team as Super Bowl contenders during the season:
"You try not to let yourself think that way too much. You watch the film and see the other teams out there and everything… We've got a long way to go here. This is a great step, great to win the NFC West and everything, but playoffs start now and now the real tournament starts."
On if a more reserved attitude from the team regarding winning the West is by design with a bigger prize ahead:
"It was a message from coach, it was a message from a couple of the guys, but I don't think it needed to be said. I think we've got a great locker room with a great mentality. Guys are ready for this."
CB RICHARD SHERMAN
On how sweet it felt to secure the division in Seattle:
"It's a great feeling. It's a great feeling just to get the one seed. To be NFC West champions, that's your goal coming into the year. That's the first goal you have to accomplish so that you get a home game in the playoffs. We worked hard, it was a tough season, there's a lot of teams playing well down the stretch. But, I'm thankful. I believed in our team, our team believes in each other, and that's what makes it special. The game is never going to be perfect, it's never going to be exactly how you drew it up, but if guys keep battling for one another, keep trying, keep fighting, keep straining, you give yourself a chance to be special. That's what our guys did today. It wasn't perfect. It came down to the last play. A few inches, a game of inches."
On his view of the final play that stopped Seattle just short of the goal lineL
"I probably had the best or second-best view. I saw his elbow down and the ball in the opposite hand, so I knew that if he wasn't down it was either fumble, but I saw his elbow down. The ball wasn't across so I thought it was done."
On what he thought changed for their defense in the second half and why they allowed Seattle back into the game:
"We just didn't make enough plays. That's all it came down to, we have to make plays… We should have made some more plays down the stretch and it shouldn't have been that close, but you have to give them credit. They executed."
On how the offense responded after the game got close in the second half:
"You can't say enough about Jimmy G and the o-line and the backs that we have. Kittle, obviously. Our receivers, everybody was making big plays out there and giving us a chance to win this game. That's what it takes, it takes a full group effort. You can hand out game balls to 15 people today for the efforts they put in."
On how he can help guide his team through the bye week and enjoy the rest:
"It's not about enjoying it. Enjoyment has no part in this week. It's about getting better, it's about you still being in the season. This is a four-week season or five-week season left and you're going to have to earn every other game. You get a chance to heal your body, but we need to work and we're still at work…"
On if he felt like Seattle was targeting the other side of the field to avoid him:
"I've been playing this game for nine years, they're always targeting somebody other than me. But, those guys held their own."
RB RAHEEM MOSTERT
On what it felt like watching the last series on the sidelines:
It was surreal. It was one of those things where we've already been through it, even with Atlanta. I believe that the defense, they were ready for a play like that. This time, they wanted to make sure it was the end of the game. We've already been through it. Battle tested. It obviously paid off.
On how important it was to answer the Seahawks stepping up the game in the second half:
It was very important. Just having that momentum, getting back to our style of play. It paid off. It paid big dividends and gave us more momentum moving forward. We just had to believe in ourselves and that's what we were able to do.
On if it has sunk in yet being the number one seed:
I mean, it hasn't sunk in yet. I'm sure I'm just going to soak it all in when I get back to the locker room. Even wearing these shirts and this hat. We still got unfinished business. Like our shirts say, the West isn't enough. We really want to go after the NFC Championship and go move forward to the Super Bowl. It was one of those things where we just got to keep pushing and keep believing and have that same mentality and same faith like we've been doing all season.
On how important it is to have a bye after not having one since week four:
It was very important, especially guys dealing with injuries and stuff like that and be able to take care of their bodies and get back right. That way, we can keep pushing and keep doing things that we have been doing thus far. Like you said, that bye week is very crucial. We haven't had it since week four. I'm positive that our guys are going to take very good advantage of it.
TE GEORGE KITTLE
On what it feels like to win the game:
I don't know. It's just an incredible feeling. Appreciation is a word is something that I feel. Just the hard work we put in the last three years finally amount to something that matters. We're definitely not done, but this is definitely something we'll celebrate for the next 24 hours. We get to play more football at Levi's Stadium. I'm really excited to be able to play in front of our fans again.
On how tough the final minutes of the game were:
That felt like I was back in the Press Box again, watching and not being able to do anything. It was stressful. I didn't leave the bench once. I just kind of watched the screen the whole time and our defense got it done. It's a game of inches, I guess.
On what he said to Dre Greenlaw after the game:
I think I tackled him. I think so. I mean, he gets to attack people all the time. I got to do it once in a while.
On how he thought the game went and if he thought they were in control:
Yeah, I mean our offense did really well. Our defense did really well to start off, too. When you don't get in the endzone and you kick field goals, you have Robbie Gould. If you just kick field goals, you give them the opportunity to come back. What they got on offense with Russell [Wilson], who can amount a comeback to anybody, you can't leave the door open, which we did. Thankfully, we were able to answer every time they did. Our defense got to help and finally got a hold of them and finished the game.
WR EMMANUEL SANDERS
On answering back Seattle's touchdowns with their own touchdowns:
That's what it's about. If I had to define this team, I would define it as resilient. I've seen so many games where it was close. We just chugging along. When the momentum shifted one way, we didn't blink. We went out and we executed the plays and we scored the points and did what we had to do to win the ball game. I just pray that we continue to do that. We enjoy this victory, but we have big time playoff games coming up, and we have to handled business.
On whether he knew what he was getting into with the 49ers:
Yeah. They were already 7-0 before I got here, so I knew it was a good team. When I got here, and being part of two Super Bowl teams, one loss and one win, I know what the DNA looks like, I know what the chemistry looks like, and I knew that they had it over here from the head coach and the GM to the quarterback to the players, the special teams players, the role players, and everything. I was excited, but I knew that we had a lot of big games. On paper it looks good, but we still have to put it together. It feels good to know that we did what we were supposed to do, but at the same time we have three more big time games that we have to go out and ball. So, we'll see.
On how he fit in so well with this locker room:
I'm not the type that's going to force anything, I'm just going to be myself. I didn't come here and say I had to be this or I had to be that. I'm just going to be me, and if it clicks it clicks. It ended up clicking. It feels good. It feels really good. I'm blessed to be in this position, to come from Denver, a great organization, to this organization. We won in Denver. To be here and be back on the winning track, it feels good.
On Deebo Samuel:
He's a baller. He was already a baller before I got here. That guy, with the ball in his hands, he's explosive. I enjoy playing with him. I enjoy letting him know what is to come, because I've been in this league 10 years. I don't know if he listens or not, but I got a feeling he does. If I see something, I just try to tell him exactly what's going to happen in that situation because I've been around for a long time. He's a special player. The ceiling is very high for him. I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to turn into a dangerous player in this league, because he is already dangerous.
On finally getting a bye week:
God is good. I need it.
DB JIMMIE WARD
On what was said in the locker room after the game:
A lot. Guys were just happy. We celebrate for 24 hours and then erase it. Watch film. Correct bad plays we had and move on. This isn't it. We're trying to win.
On how it feels to win in Seattle and make it to the playoffs:
It feels good to win anywhere. I wasn't keeping up with stats, but I'm happy we came up with the win.
On what it means to get the bye:
This is very important. We got some guys banged up. Everybody around the league has some guys banged up. Just to give us that week of rest and we can sit back and watch our opponents and get that extra time to prepare for the next game. It's big.
On if he's ever experienced a sequence like the final series of the game with so much on the line:
So far, this year, several times, but not really for the NFC. The championship. This was an important game and we ended up getting the win.
FB KYLE JUSZCZYK
On how important it was for their offense to respond to Seattle in the second half:
"I think that was the difference was our offense being able to answer like that. It's tough in a hostile environment, the crowd gets into it after they score, momentum seems to be changing, but that just doesn't faze this offense. We always found a way to respond and go out there and make a play when we need it."
On the big play he had and if they knew that would be there from earlier looks:
"I might have mentioned something to Kyle (Shanahan) (laughs). I might have said something."
On the emotion and what was on the line at the goal line late in the last week of the regular season:
"Absolutely incredible. At this point we don't really know any different. I feel like it's been six weeks in a row of this. We just embrace it and it's not something we are going to back down from. It's something that we are comfortable in now."
On the importance of the extra week of rest and how it will help moving forward:
"I think that's absolutely huge for this team. That extra week of rest is going to go a long way and get a few game-changing players back that I think are going to make a difference."
On the scene in the locker room after the game:
"It was incredible. Something I'll never forget the rest of my life. It was a party in here, man. We all work so hard, we've been through so much, and for it all to pay off, it's just the best feeling in the world."
WR DEEBO SAMUEL
On Jimmy Garoppolo staying calm under pressure:
Jimmy has two different feelings. I was over there about to have a heart attack.
On the contributions of this rookie class:
It feels great to just go out here and get a win. Dre went down there and made a great play to seal the game. It is just a wonderful feeling.
On bouncing back to score after Seattle scored:
It was important keep the momentum going. Kyle was calling great plays to get a lot of guys open. We hit Juszczyk down the sideline. We went down there and scored quick. Everybody just had to stay up.
On winning close games:
We were fighting for the number one seed. We had to come here. This was more pressure than any other game. Everybody was out there very poised, and Dre made a great play there at the end.
On what enables him to rise to the occasion in big moments:
I just treat every game the same. We knew we needed big plays and Kyle believes in the offense and he was calling plays to get guys open.
On his maturation over the course of the season:
I think they figured when they drafted me that they were getting a physical guy that can play multiple positions. I just come out here and do the things they've asked me to do.
On the importance of a bye week and home field advantage:
It's going to feel great. In two weeks, we will be flying around.
DL NICK BOSA
On defending Russell Wilson:
"He definitely tires you out. You've got to chase him all game. He doesn't make it easy. He's an unbelievable player. It's never the first guy who gets there."
On if he has been involved in a game-closing sequence with so much at stake:
"Definitely not that much at stake. I feel like we've had games like that this year, but obviously this is the biggest game of the year. I thought we lost. Then I found out we didn't. It was at the one. Then they had the delay of game, brought 'em five yards back, and I was like, wow, we still have a shot here. And we just kept fighting."
On if he understood the significance of this win to Joe Staley and older players after years of losses in Seattle:
"Yeah. This organization . . . I was trying to make a play so hard the end just for guys like that. Obviously I came into a winning team, and it was kind of easy for me, and the guys have really fought through the hard times. Obviously the scrutiny everybody had on this building, last year and the years before, I'm glad I could help out."
On fellow rookie Dre Greenlaw's stop at the one-yard line:
"That's awesome. For anyone to make that play, I'm glad it's him. It's going to boost his confidence and make him an even better player."
LB DRE GREENLAW
On, if he has been involved in a game-closing sequence such as that:
"Never in my life. Credit to the guys for not giving up, man. Pushing each other and fighting to that last year on the field. My guys, they stress on playing to the whistle and playing until the clock hits zero, and that's what we did. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
On the challenge of facing this offense:
"Credit to Russell Wilson. No matter the coverage or the call that you call, he has a way to use his legs or throw it to the right guy. They've got NFL guys, too."
On his big stop:
"They're in an empty set, and I'm a cloud, playing my hook. I see the back go fast to the flat, so I'm kind of playing a slant window of one a little bit. After that, I feel the quarterback's not looking. Coach tells me to keep my eyes on the quarterback for anything that's coming out. They try to widen me out and get me out of the middle of the field. They threw it to the tight end running across the field, and me having my eyes back and listening to what my coach was saying, I was able to help."
On getting help from Fred Warner on the tackle:
"No doubt. Fred, that's my brother there. He's the leader of our team. He's going to lead us. I'm just following him and trying to be more like him every day. He's a good linebacker. He's got a lot on his plate. He's always making the calls, making the checks, doing a lot of stuff, man. To be beside my brother like that and make that play, it just feels great."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.