NEW ORLEANS – Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said after the 49ers beat the Saints 31-21.
Q: Is Kaepernick your starting quarterback going forward?
HARBAUGH: Colin played well in a tough environment. He acquitted himself very well.
Q: Do you expect him to start next week?
HARBAUGH: We’ll address that at a later date.
Q: Was Alex able to play today?
HARBAUGH: Yes, he was cleared yesterday
Q: How do you think he played today?
HARBAUGH: I thought he did a great job managing the game, calling the game and moving the team in and out of the huddle. We were a little slow getting back to the huddle. That adjustment really helped us – speeding the tempo up.
Q: What did you think of your defense’s performace?
HARBAUGH: Big plays by the defense really swung the game. For us, two interceptions for touchdowns. Great job by Ahmad. It looked like he was shot out of a canon after he intercepted that ball. Donte Whitner, also a great job getting that touchdown.
Q: Kaepernick made a lot of third down plays. Can you talk about that aspect of his game?
HARBAUGH: It was a big part of the game – third downs on both sides. I haven’t looked at the statistics but I feel like we won those battles (49ers were 6-for-13, the Saints were 3-for-11).
(Kap) did a really nice job extending plays and we were cut at the knees with penalties in the first half, couple of throws he made getting out of the pocket.
Q: Why is he so effective on read option?
HARBAUGH: He’s got a real knack for it, he’s got a special ability, honed it in college and he’s taken it to the pro level. He can cover ground real fast. He’s got an eye for making the read. He came with that ability. I take no credit for that one.
Q: Why make QB change?
HARBAUGH: The injury and the fact that Alex had symptoms seven days later, eight days later from the concussion. Not going to put a guy back out there who has symptoms like he had. He eventually got cleared. The thought was to rotate him into the action but not all the way to the front line. Give him a chance to get cleared up completely.
Q: Why are you still hesitating naming Colin the starter?
HARBAUGH: I have nothing to explain. You call it hesitation. I don’t feel any hesitation. We’ll look at the game. We’ll make the best decision for us going forward.
Q: Did Brooks’ TD turn the game?
HARBAUGH: It was one of the big plays. It definitely turned some momentum. They had intercepted the ball, and the interception turned into a touchdown and we come out with seven.
Also, I think coming out after halftime – that was a huge drive and a big momentum swing for our team. Late in the game we had another long drive. Didn’t get the touchdown and made it a two score game.
Q: Why didn’t Ginn return to the game?
HARBAUGH: He had an issue with his wrist and hand.
Q: How important was that drive to open the second half?
HARBAUGH: It was big. It was a clean drive, cleanly executed, no penalties. It showed what our team was capable of doing.
Q: What happened on Kaepernick’s interception?
HARBAUGH: He got a low snap. That was part of it. When his eyes came up he worked the high-level read when he he probably should have just brought it down to the lower-level read. He had a high low read on that play and didn’t see the corner.