SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s the transcript of Alex Smith’s postgame press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
What was the message in the locker room at halftime?
“I think looking forward, it’s cliché, but really coming out and looking to put that first drive together and get back on track, kind of back to basics. I think we all realized, especially on offense, how much we left out there. But we really needed to come out and set the tone with that first drive, or the half, and that was kind of what the focus was on.”
You guys got that 13-play I believe it was, so did that just kind of set the momentum for the rest of the game?
“We didn’t punt the whole first half, so it wasn’t necessarily like it was all bad, we’re definitely moving the ball, but yeah in the red zone was just bad, no other way to say it. So, the focus was on that. I thought [WR Michael] Crabtree came out and sparked us. Two great plays with his feet, run after the catch. O-line played great all day. So, I really thought they helped us. Those two things kind of sparked that drive as we moved down the field, and then finally we were able to finish it.”
What does it feel like to lead a team in a winning season?
“It’s great. The W is the most important thing and now to have nine wins, yeah it does feel good. So, a little frustrating I think in the passing game with some of the stuff we left out there. But at the same time a little encouraging that we were still able to put the game away and still obviously a lot left ahead of us so.”
Was it easier to cope with the frustration when your defense was pretty much shutting them down?
“Yes and no. At the same point it makes it more frustrating because the way they were playing we really made that game more difficult than it had to be. I think a team like that, if we were able to capitalize on a couple of those drives early with the way our defense was playing, all of a sudden that game gets really lopsided I think because you really make them one dimensional. But because we’re kicking all the field goals down there and all of a sudden it’s still 6-0, it’s still a one-possession game. So, no there’s still light at the end of the tunnel for them, there’s still hope, they’re still only one play away from having the lead. So, for us I think it was almost more frustrating because the way the defense is playing, they’re really playing lights out, and we really didn’t get it done in the red zone.”
What kind of adjustments at the halftime did you talk about?
“Just making the plays. There were some adjustments to be made, especially in the run game, but really it was just a matter of us connecting, making the plays. Obviously the Crabtree one in the first half, just lay it out there, that throw doesn’t have to be pretty, and it’s a score. It was a great call, protected well, and Crabtree ran a great route. The one with me and [WR] Braylon [Edwards] not connecting, kind of trying to throw the back shoulder there with the ball down there in the end zone. So, those two plays and then the one in the end the scramble play, kind of a bitter taste there.”
How much did the wet conditions affect you in the first half?
“Not much. Maybe that opening drive a little bit with the ball. But, other than that I thought it was actually really good conditions. All of a sudden when it’s like that the ball almost gets a little tacky, so.”
That pass scramble play you’re talking about the interception, were you trying to go to Crabtree in the back?
“Yeah, I just scrambled out of there and turned and ran, and I saw Crabtree break. He made a great adjustment, kind of scrambled the rules. And I literally was just trying to put it on him. Wasn’t a great throw. I didn’t even see the guy underneath, he kind of got walled by [T Joe] Staley and literally jumped out and I almost didn’t know what happened. Better throw there though and it’s a touchdown.”
Alex, how much have things changed for you and how much is it a luxury for you to have a game that you probably feel is not one of your best games, and then not only win but win going away?
“Yeah, like I said, frustrating but also encouraging. Hit those three field goals in the first half and all of a sudden we put 32 points on a defense that really shut down the Eagles last week. So, like you said, not our best stuff, not my best stuff. So, encouraging but frustrating. But short lived, quick turn-around, we play on Thursday. So, I think we’ll have an opportunity because we play these guys in a couple of weeks, so we’ll have an opportunity to get back to this tape and learn from it. But, get over this one quick and get ready to go.”
Coach Harbaugh keeps talking about achieving perfection week after week, does the fact that you guys have had your share of struggles in the red zone these past few weeks, does it make it easier to not be complacent and to be hungry week after week?
“Oh yeah, anytime you see it that we’re not playing to our full capability and potential, yeah you chase perfection like that. You’re never going to be perfect, but it doesn’t change your mind set. But it’s certainly not like we’re making all the plays out there, today was evidence of that. We left a lot out there. But got the win, but yeah definitely areas for improvement.”
You say it’s encouraging ‘we’ can do better, you never say gosh ‘we’re 9-1 I’m happy’, and I understand you don’t say that because it conveys the wrong message, it conveys a complacent message that you’re satisfied with where you are, I’m trying to understand it.
“Yeah, I’m being honest I really think, especially us on the perimeter there, no honest truth, frustrated. I think we all understand what we can be when we’re rolling, when we’re hitting on all cylinders. And I think the plays that we can make out there, and I think definitely frustrated. I think if you talked to any of those guys outside. Yeah we got the win, but definitely frustrated that we didn’t—you don’t expect to hit everything, but we missed too many today I guess is what I’m saying.”
Larger picture, the fact that you haven’t enjoyed a winning season up until now
“Yeah, it’s great. We got the win, no question, it’s great. Defense played unbelievable. Offensive line played great. So, and got the win. We’re winning season, nine wins. So, building momentum, like I said it’s easy to talk about this and to correct your mistakes after a W and continuing to get better and build on it. So, all we talk about all week is just finding a way to win.”