Mike Singletary had already delivered his postgame locker room address to his players. After the media was allowed into an interview room at one side of the locker room, he had more words to say.
Singletary began working the room, shaking hands with his players after the 49ers’ crushing 27-24 loss to the Vikings. His job was to make sure the loss does not crush the season.
He loudly instructed his team to keep their heads high and their shoulders back. And then he made a promise.
“We’ll see them again in the playoffs!” he said, his voice booming.
Where to start with this one?
This game had a little of everything: a field goal blocked for a touchdown (Ray McDonald with the block, and Nate Clements with the 59-yard return), a kickoff return for a touchdown (Vikings’ Percy Harvin of 102 yards), the possible breaking out of Vernon Davis (seven catches, 96 yards and two touchdowns).
But the only thing most people will remember is Brett Favre’s 32-yard laser to Greg Lewis along the backline of the end zone for the winning points with :02 remaining. Lewis made a fantastic catch and got both feet inbounds against the coverage of Mark Roman in the end zone.
How many quarterbacks can make that play?
“Right now, all I know is one,” 49ers outside linebacker Manny Lawson said.
Lawson got to Favre just as he let the pass fly. He came so close to winning the game with a hit on the Vikings quarterback. How close did he come?
“Not close enough,” Lawson said. “But close enough to know I’ll be thinking about that play for a while.”
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In the postgame locker room, the 49ers took a very professional approach. I’ve seen a lot of locker rooms like this that were morgues. Singletary did not want this locker room to take on that characteristic.
What I witnessed was a resolve. I was very impressed with what I saw.
“We are a good team,” linebacker Takeo Spikes said. “It’s not we’re going to be a good football team. But we have to look at the film and get better.”
“We’re not going to dwell on this,” Justin Smith said. “We have to get ready to play
“It’s a heartbreaking loss,” said tackle Joe Staley. “But everybody here busted their butts, and we’ll keep our heads up. We’re going to get it done.”
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And then there was the message from Singletary:
“You look at a game like today and it was a tough loss,” he said. “A team that lost this game — particularly like that — is going to be better for it. We will be better moving forward. It stings and hurts like heck, but going forward it will help us. We have to learn how to finish and we have to learn how to play big games.”
How does it go about making his a positive?
“It’s already a positive,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you go through a season and you hope that it doesn’t happen. We were 2-0 and everyone was thinking, ‘Well, hopefully, we can keep this thing going.’ When you lose a game of this magnitude, we knew it was going to be a war coming in here. . . . I’d rather we lose now, taste it, chew on it, swallow it and get better.”
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RB Frank Gore: He left the game after aggravating his right ankle on the first play of the game – a 4-yard carry. Gore did not return, and I can’t see him playing next week against the Rams. The 49ers need to be cautious with him. They can’t afford to have this injury linger throughout the season. Obviously, Gore was injured in last week’s game a lot worse than he led on.
LT Joe Staley: He was not pleased after the game that he had been victimized by a leg whip. He sustained a right knee contusion in the second half and had to leave the game for a while.
LG David Baas: He sustained a left ankle sprain and left the game for a while in the fourth quarter. He returned later to finish the game.
CB Dre’ Bly: He had a right
two toe contusion but continued to play.
S Reggie Smith: Had a right groin strain and played again.
LB Jeff Ulbrich: He was listed with a right quadriceps contusion.
RB Glen Coffee got the wind knocked out of him in the first quarter. In the first half, Coffee gained just 16 yards on nine carries. He said he has to do a better job of coming to play and making an impact when he steps on the field. Coffee finished with 54 yards on 25 carries.
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Also, Lawson experienced cramping after the game and took intravenous fluids before leaving boarding the team bus to the airport.
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Check back in a while. I’ll put up audio of an interview with 49ers center Eric Heitmann.
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