SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s postgame press conference.
Q: Was that about as well as you guys can execute?
HARBAUGH: It was definitely very good. Felt like everyone contributed – offense, defense, special teams. Had a lot of good play by a lot of folks. Secondary stood out the most, shined the brightest. They were getting their hands on balls all over the field. Getting takeaways. Making huge plays. Patrick Willis and Bowman were all over the field again. The next thing to highlight – the play of our receivers and the way they blocked and the way the tight ends blocked. There was second-level blocking. There was hustle. Just outstanding. And then yards after contact by our skill players I thought was really good. I thought Alex did a terrific job. The offensive line I thought was at their best today. All the yards, no sacks, and they’re coming off the ball. Really felt they played well. Stopped the run. Our guys were set up to do that. They wanted to do that. That was a point of emphasis and we got that done. Across the board I thought it was an outstanding day for our team.
Q: Why are the Niners’ receivers getting to run so much after the catch?
HARBAUGH: I thought Alex was really on point today. Right from the opening snap of the game. Came out. Read the play properly. Got it to Frank because it was covered downfield. And then just made really cool-headed decisions all day long. His location though, his accuracy was the best of the season. One high ball to Michael Crabtree on third down, and Crab again goes up and makes the high catch. He makes it look so easy. I’ve never seen a guy with that strong of hands. Just pluck the ball from the outer catch range. Really outstanding.
Q: What’s different with Alex Smith?
HARBAUGH: I think it’s all the guys. It’s always the unit. It’s always how they play together, how they function together. I think he had time to see things a bit because the offensive line did a great job protecting. All together. The receivers make great plays for you. The running game gets cranked up. It all feeds on each of those phases.
Q: How big of a play was Carlos Rogers’ interception and return for the touchdown?
HARBAUGH: That was huge. We had just turned the ball over on the fumble when we had knocked it down in there on the long drive. Came away with no points. Carlos gets that interception. That puts us right back in business. He’s had three games in a row with an interception. Just outstanding.
Q: Freeman didn’t get into a rhythm at all. He had problems with your coverages. Did you do anything different?
HARBAUGH: We were doing some things. We were changing some things up. We don’t really talk about the scheme. I thought that our players, and especially in the secondary, were just breaking on balls fast, as fast as I’ve ever seen our guys break and cover and read. I thought they were getting the jump. And that’s good. Good plays. Good coaching. Good scheme. It was tied in very well together.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Ricky Jean-Francois?
HARBAUGH: Ricky JEEN, it’s Ricky JEEN. Get the pronunciation right, that’s all I ask (the questioner actually did have the pronunciation right. It was Harbaugh who was wrong. He’s not familiar with French, apparently.) Ricky Jean was outstanding. And there was never any doubt that he wouldn’t be. Ricky Jean prepares very hard, he’s a heck of a football player and we have confidence in him.
Q: What’s the injury status of Joshua Morgan?
HARBAUGH: We’ll see, we’ll see. When we were out there on the field Josh said it was starting to cool down. We’ll get an evaluation.
Q: It’s easy to second-guess that 4th and three pass call late in the game because Morgan got hurt. Why did you call that pass there?
HARBAUGH: You’ve got to play. You can’t take a knee with four minutes left in the game. It could have been a run. Josh was competing. I think he’s going to be OK. Kaep’s competing. He’s got to get to work. We’re not taking a knee with four minutes left in the game.
Q: Could you talk about Frank Gore?
HARBAUGH: Yeah. A really strong game by Frank. I thought he was seeing thing really well today. I thought he was seeing holes. Thought he was planting very well. He was making the shallow cuts today. He had his burst back. He looked like Frank.
Q: At the end of the game, why did you take out your starting quarterback but not your starting wide receiver?
HARBAUGH: We went to a three wide receiver set and we only dressed four wide receivers.