The 49ers clinched the NFC West and the No. 2 seed in the conference with a 27-13 victory over Arizona. 49ers Public Relations presents the following notes and quotes from the Week 17 win.
With a Win…
- The 49ers clinched the NFC West Division title for the 19th time in franchise history. It also marked the first time San Francisco has won consecutive division titles since winning the NFC West four straight times from 1992-95.
- Head coach Jim Harbaugh became the 8th head coach in NFL history to win division titles in each of his first two seasons.
NFL Head Coaches To Win Division Titles In Each Of First Two Seasons
Jim Harbaugh, SF
Chuck Knox, LA Rams
Ted Marchibroda, Bal. Colts
Red Miller, Den.
George Seifert, SF
Barry Switzer, Dal.
Mike Tomlin, Pit.
Jim Caldwell, Ind.
*Won more than 2 consecutive division titles
- Harbaugh is just the third coach to win two division titles in each of his first two seasons after inheriting a team with a losing record (Chuck Knox - Rams were 6-7-1 in 1972; Ted Marchibroda - Colts were 2-12 in 1974).
- Harbaugh improved his regular season coaching record to 24-7-1. The 24 wins are tied for the 3rd most wins in a coach’s first 2 seasons in NFL history.
Most Wins By A Head Coach In Their First Two Years
- The 49ers remained unbeaten in their last 13 home games against NFC West Division opponents, improving to 12-0-1 during that stretch. It’s the NFL’s longest active home winning streak against divisional opponents.
- The Niners have won their last 11 home games in December, the longest active streak in the NFL.
- San Francisco improved to 26-17 overall and 15-8 at home all-time against the Arizona Cardinals.
Gore Becomes 49ers Rushing TD King:
- With a 2-yd. TD run by RB
Frank Gorein the 4th qtr., his 51st career rushing TD, he surpassed HOF RB Joe Perry (50) and RB Roger Craig (50) for the most rushing TDs in franchise history.
Most Rushing TDs in 49ers History
- Gore now holds the franchise record for rushing yds. (8,839), attempts (1,911) and rushing TDs (51).
The Boiling Crab:
Michael Crabtreehauled in 8 recepts. for a career-high 172 yds. and 2 TDs. The 172 rec. yds. were the most by a 49ers wide receiver since 11/3/02 at Oak. (WR Terrell Owens – 12 recepts. for 191 yds.).
- This marked Crabtree’s 7th career 100-yd. game and 4th of the season. It also was his 3rd multi-TD game of the season and 4th of his career.
- Crabtree finished the season with career highs in recepts. (85), rec. yds. (1,105) and TDs (9). He became just the 9th player, and first since 2003, to register a 1,000-yd. season (last by WR Terrell Owens - 1,102 rec. yds.).
Tip of the Kap:
Colin Kaepernickcompleted 16 of 28 attempts for a career-high 276 yds., 2 TDs and a QB rating of 114.6.
T-Boogie Feeling Picky
Tarell Brownnotched his 2nd INT of the season, and 11th INT of his career, picking off Cardinals QB Brian Hoyer in the 4th qtr.
Knock It Loose
Ray McDonaldregistered his 1st FF of the season, and 3rd of his career, stripping the ball from Cardinals WR Michael Floyd. The loose ball was scooped up by S Donte Whitner, marking his 1st FR of the season and 5th of his career. The takeaway led to a 26-yd. FG by K David Akers.
Applying the Pressure
- The 49ers defense brought down Cardinals QB Brian Hoyer for 2.0 sacks on the day.
Ricky Jean Francoisnotched his 2nd sack of the season, giving him a new single-season career high.
Ahmad Brooksbrought down Hoyer, giving him 6.5 sacks on the season and 26.5 for his career.
- S Donte Whitner played in his 100th NFL game while CB
Carlos Rogersmade his 100th career start.
Making His Debut:
Tony Jerod-Eddiemade his NFL debut.
Extending Their Streaks:
Brian Jenningshas now played in 208 consecutive games, tying Len Rohde for the longest streak in 49ers history. Jennings 208 games played is also t-3rd most in 49ers history.
Vernon Davishas now started 91 consecutive games, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among TEs behind Tony Gonzalez (101) and Jason Witten (98).
Jonathan Goodwinhas now started 70 consecutive games, the 5th most among centers.
- K David Akers has now played in 121 consecutive NFL games, the 3rd most in the NFL among kickers.
Andy Leeplayed has played in 144 consecutive NFL games, 3rd most among NFL punters.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference – December 30, 2012
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
“A lot of people run it. He’s a great football coach with a great record, and even better man. What I know of him. And he’s had a major influence.”
Where do you see the pistol going in the NFL in the future?
“I think it’s already here, so people build on it.”
A little slow start. Are you happy with the performance, or are you a little frustrated with the way this game began?
“I’m extremely happy with the win. That was our mission. That was our one thing we wanted to get done today. And we got that done. Be a champion. The Western Division champions, that means a lot to us and to our players. And I congratulate them for getting that done. And maybe arguably the best division in football. And it gives you a chance to now go for the big championship. That’s all you can ask for is to have one more game.”
Where do you think your team is as the playoffs approach? Are you happy with where you guys are?
“You’d always like to be better. And there are some areas that we can improve in. And knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It never is. Think everybody thought that, that this is just a game that the 49ers would win on paper. But these games are never won on paper. They’ve got to be earned, every down, every series. Many of those downs were good enough for us to win. Some weren’t. But, our guys were able to overcome. Thought [QB] Colin Kaepernick did a great job. [WR] Michael Crabtree, both those two guys really got us going in the football game, after what was a slow start with poor field position and etc. And guys stepped up and made plays, [DT] Ricky Jean [Francois] stepped up, [CB Tarell] T. Brown, multiple guys. And got things turned toward our side. So, very happy with that.”
Was this a showcase game of what Michael Crabtree can do for you guys as an offense to get you guys going?
“Well, he definitely did that. He’s done it all season long. Pretty well documented he’s had a terrific season. And he’s done it many times this year, multiple games where he’s given us a big lift and a big spark. He’s stepped up. He’s made plays.”
Can you explain what’s going on with K David Akers? Is there something mechanically wrong that you can put on?
“Not that I know of. In the practices it has been good mechanically. No, I don’t. Can’t exactly say what’s going on.”
Do you have to think about changing kickers for the playoff here?
“I don’t know that we have to. We’ll evaluate the position. It’s his job to make the field goals. And not to his standard.”
Can you talk about your decision to put QB
“Yeah, wanted to get Alex some work. Get him behind center.”
Was the decision to go for it on fourth down a couple of times based on Akers’ troubles?
“The distance and more of the plan, or not the plan. It was just the management of the game. Felt like it was the right thing to do. And our guys stepped up and made the plays again, Colin and Michael did a terrific job. Multiple times where there were tight window throws. The touchdown I thought was extremely big. Great throw by Colin, the one down in the goal line where he hit Michael out in the flat, and a great hands catch by Michael. So, those were huge plays in the game.”
How were you guys able to get RB Frank Gore going? He was stopped early in that first quarter and kind of got going after that?
“Yeah, we knew that’d be a tough game to run the football. Arizona’s got a good run defense. We were probing in there trying to make some plays and finally popped a few. But, yeah we struggled a bit early running the football and broke free a little bit.”
Did you catch the score of the Green Bay-Minnesota game when you popped in there? And how closely might you be watching it when you get back in?
“Oh yeah, we’ll look at it and that directly affects us.”
You said there are always some areas you want to get better in. Anybody can watch the game and guess what those might be. Is there anything you would like to specifically get better in that you want to talk about?
“We’ll talk about that with our team and tell them.”
Is there a downside to relying on Crabtree like you pretty much had to the first two and a half quarters? Is there anything when you try to go into the playoffs be a little bit more dynamic is there a downside to having one guy carry you like that?
“Well, I thought some other guys stepped up as well. I thought Michael and Colin really got us going. That was a great spark that those two guys gave us in the ballgame. But, [WR] Randy [Moss] stepped up. [RB]
QB Colin Kaepernick and WR Michael Crabtree
Kaepernick: “The first play we had an alert to [WR Michael] Crabtree, if we got the right coverage, we got it. He went out there and won. He turned his guy around. The second play was a little bit of a scramble, but once again, he was wide open, made a great play, and got in the end zone.”
How did you get open on that second play?
Crabtree: “It was something we practiced at home, using my technique. Kaepernick threw me the ball. He’s real good with his feet and made something happen and really, he made the play.”
You guys were doing a lot on the left sideline, was there a particular weakness that Arizona had and you exploited?
Kaepernick: “We were just going out, going through our reads, trying to make plays.”
Colin, it looked like things really clicked for you from the beginning of the second quarter on. Did it feel that way for you?
Kaepernick: “Well, it’s always tough when you’re starting off pushed up against your own end zone. You can’t open up the playbook like you want to, so once we got off our own end zone we were able to call some plays we thought we could take some shots with.”
Michael, 1,000 yards for you this season, what does that milestone mean to you?
Crabtree: “My dude [Kaepernick] made it happen. I’m just going out there, running routes, catching the ball until I make a play.”
Michael, do you think you could be a Pro Bowler, working a full season with Colin?
Crabtree: “I think I can be a Pro Bowler, I think I can. I’m trying to get to the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl [voting] is over with so I’m trying to win. We’ve been here before. I see we have the bye week right now. I’m ready to go back out there.”
Colin, your old coach [Nevada Head Coach Chris Ault] stepped down yesterday. He kept the options open about coaching in the NFL, maybe offensive coordinator or special assistant. Do you see yourself maybe playing for him again?
Kaepernick: “I don’t really know. That depends on what he is feeling and who is looking at him.”
Do you think he would do well in the NFL?
Kaepernick: “Yeah, he’s a great coach. He would do well wherever he went.”
When you look at the bye, what are you going to accomplish and how is it going to be beneficial?
Kaepernick: “I think the biggest thing is get healthy and keep working hard. We’re going to have a little time off. A little time to rest, and then get ready to get into the following week full speed.”
Michael, how does it feel to wrap up a career year with a game like that?
Crabtree: “It feels good. As I said, I’m really focused on these playoffs. With how bad I did last year, in my opinion, I feel like I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I feel like I get another chance. We’re back again and ready to win.”
Colin, you had to go to New Orleans and St. Louis, and then New England, Seattle. Tough places to play. Do you think you are as ready as you can be for your first playoff action?
Kaepernick: “Yeah, I mean you have to treat playoffs like it’s every other game. You have to prepare like it and go out there to perform, and that’s what it comes down to.”
How nice has it been playing together?
Kaepernick: “I mean he’s a playmaker. You put the ball in his hands and he’s going to do something with it. A lot of the items we’re trying to put the ball into his hands and see what he can do.”
What’s it like rooting in the last couple of minutes, for the Vikings?
Kaepernick: “It’s a little nerve-wracking watching them play. We would have been a lot better off if we handled business last week and kept the ball in our court and made sure we could handle business ourselves.”
How much did it mean watching Alex Smith get to play in the end?
Kaepernick: “Yeah, it’s always good to see your teammate go out there and play and do well. It’s always good.”
Michael, what’s the correlation with you getting a new career high day in receiving, the same day that Colin gets a career high in passing?
Crabtree: “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really paying attention. I didn’t even know you did a career high day.” Kaepernick: “I didn’t either, I just found out.” Crabtree: “Like I said, it’s football, we just go out there and play.”
CB Tarell Brown
On the Cardinals wide receivers:
“We just had to get our hands on those guys. A lot of times they would break our first tackle, we’ve got to rally a lot better and we’ve just got to finish tackles.”
Do you kind of feel for what K David Akers is going through right now? Or do you feel like you’ve got to start making some field goals here, we’re in the playoffs?
“Oh no, he’ll bounce back. He’s a great kicker, we have no problem with that, we understand that. It’s just something that happens.”
And if head coach Jim Harbaugh makes a switch at kicker, would you understand that too?
“I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s a veteran, he’s been there, he’s done that. He missed two field goals but he came back and made two more, it’s part of the game.”
Defensively, you started a little sluggishly. Is there anything that seemed to spark you guys?
“The crowd, the crowd sparked us a lot. Coming out after halftime, we knew that we had to buckle down, just because the game was too close and we didn’t want to make it close. We wanted to go out there and prove that we were the best team on the field.”
Do you feel like you got back to the offense since the middle of the New England game?
“Yes, it felt like we got into a rhythm.”
What was the difference? Just getting in that groove a little bit?
“Guys were making plays and doing their job and started flowing.”
Why is this year’s playoff team different from last year’s?
“We want to win. Our goal is to win.”
Are you more confident this year, as a team?
“I feel like after something like that, so close, it burns and everybody has fire. We know what we’re capable of and how close we got.”
TE Vernon Davis
On returning to the playoffs:
“It feels amazing. It’s like we get another opportunity to try it again. Last year, we were shocked to get there. We failed in the second one. Now that we’ve got it at the tip of our fingers again, we just have to go grab it.”
Do you feel that much better prepared the second time around?
“This is the second time around, we have more weapons, we’ve got a better plan, so all we have to do is go get it. You might even see the Vernon Post again, who knows?”
What do you think of the way WR Michael Crabtree played today?
“He did everything he was supposed to do to help us win. I feel great, I’m glad to have Michael on my team because last year we were looking for that. This year we get another shot and he sees the opportunity, so he’s taking it and it’s good to have him.”
You’ve been with RB Frank Gore the whole way too. The career rushing record for the 49ers, how big is that for a guy like Frank? How excited are you for him?
“Very excited for Frank. I’m excited about everyone’s success. I’m just excited. When you’re winning, the level of respect is raised for everyone. Frank is getting all the respect that he deserves, Michael and some other guys. It’s great to have that.”
RB Frank Gore
“Yeah, I’m happy, I’m happy for Vikings RB Adrian Peterson even though he didn’t get the record but I think he should get the MVP this year. He’s been doing a great job all year. He came nine yards short but they are going to the postseason and I want to thank them for helping us out.”
Are you a believer in momentum and how that can help a team in the playoffs? If so, how you feel about how you are playing right now?
“We started slow, but we got better. We’ve got a week, an extra week to prepare. Second half we picked it up. [WR Michael] Crabtree did a great job, got his offense going and we got it done. NFC champs, it was a team goal and we accomplished it.”
With the injuries you have been dealing with, have you been hoping for a bye week?
“Yeah, we get [DT]
What does an extra week of rest personally mean for you?
“I’m happy about that. I get a rest, get the rest, my whole line gets a rest and once we on then we can do whatever we want to do.”
How does it feel to be the leader, specifically the leader with 51 touchdowns?
“It’s a blessing, my whole career. Just from part one in high school, having the rush college career a lot of people doubted me when the Niners picked me. It’s just loving the game and hard working knowing my name when you say the 49ers you mention my name with the guys in the path like Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Joe Montana, it’s a blessing.”
How far have you seen Michael Crabtree come?
“He is a football player. I know he doesn’t get a lot of the recognition that he deserves but I’m happy he is on our team. He is probably one of the best after the catch, knowing he makes things happen. This year you could tell that he’s hefty. You know he’s just the guy who we drafted coming out of Texas Tech. You see it now.”
You have been through all the ups and downs with Alex Smith how was it to hear that ovation from the crowd?
“He deserved it. He had his ups and downs here. Last year he had a great year and at the beginning of this year you know he was doing great. He got a chance to go out there and he deserved that.”
TE Vernon Davis didn’t have a great game… [interrupted]
“He’ll come, He’ll come, he’ll come. Just having Vernon out there is helping the offense. They have different looks with Vernon on the field. He is one of the best tight ends in the league, one of the fastest in the league just having him on the field helps the offense.”
QB Colin Kaepernick has played four tough road games and the short starting stint this year. How much do you think that helps him in the playoffs?
“Kap, he’ll be fine, it will help him a lot. Going down in New Orleans, when they got heart. New England when they just came off of a big win against Texas. Knowing Seattle, even though we didn’t win, just seeing the atmosphere of how the playoffs will be. Kap will be fine.”
Have you been talking to Roger Craig all season?
“Yeah, I talk to him a lot. He texted me today to congratulate me on the touchdown record. And he helps me out when he can.”
How do you feel right now at this point?
“I feel a lot better. I feel great. I’ve got to thank [head strength and conditioning coach] Coach [Mark] Uyeyama, the training room. Just keeping me healthy. The coaches watching me during the week at practice. And I feel great. I’m ready for the postseason. We’ll see what we go at.”
It took you a little while to get going today. How satisfying was it when you put that drive together that was kind of a Frank Gore drive?
“We went to play 49ers ball. Like I said, we started off slow. The teams who come and play us, they come to stop the run. And we started off slow. But, [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] G.Ro dialed it up in the second half and we got in our rhythm and we made it happen when we needed it.”
DT Ricky Jean Francois
What happened on the sack?
“I noticed he was hard-setting me, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly. I knew they were going to slide the whole protection, but I had the beat protector. I just went back to my ‘Old Faithful’ move and just got up field.”
You were getting a lot of questions about not having [DT] Justin [Smith] in this game.
“We’re not paying attention to that. We’re not looking at it like Justin’s not here. We have to pick up the slack. We just have to pick it up. I know I won’t be able to replace this guy, but I know I can do one hell of a job.”
Were you listening to a lot of the media regarding the last game?
“I had no reason to. All I did was go back and listen to Justin and [Defensive Line Coach] Jimmy Tomsula. That’s the biggest thing. Justin just told me to get ready for the next game and put this one behind us. It was a bad loss, but we had to put that behind us and get ready for Arizona. I tip my hat to Arizona. They’re a tough and dangerous team. Any team in our division is dangerous because at any given time no matter what their record is, they can still beat you.”
Was there anything different you guys did as a group after the first quarter because it was like a switch went on?
“We just came closer. That’s all we did. We came closer as a team. We knew what was on the line. We got to play. We knew we had to make it happen.”
DT Ray McDonald
On the Cardinals game while also watching the Vikings-Green Bay game:
Whatever the score ends up being, as long as we play hard and we play together, that’s all that matters. So, we ended up with a win so that’s always great.”
Where do you feel like you guys are entering the postseason? Do you feel like you’re where you want to be?
“All we needed was a chance to be in the postseason and have a chance to compete to go to the Super Bowl and we have that now. So, all we have to do, hopefully Minnesota wins so we can get a bye, but if not, we have to step up and get ready to go next week.”
QB Alex Smith
You’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but it sounded like the fans wanted to say “thank you.”
“It was great. Like I said, it was humbling. It was very surreal.”
Did you feel like it could be the last time you took snaps at all?
“I’m not thinking about that right now at all. There’s a lot left ahead for us.”
Was there any conversation about getting the seven passes for the record?
“No, none at all that I know. It was go out there, stick to the game plan and get out of there as healthy as we could.”
The fans gave you a standing ovation when you went onto the field. How did that feel for you?
“Like I said, it was very humbling. To go out there and get that kind of response was very cool. We’ve been through a lot, the fans and me. It made it almost that much sweeter. We’ve come a long way.”
How are you going to prepare for the playoffs?
“At this point, the bye is great. It gives us a chance to get that much more healthier.”
Has it been that much harder for you to watch, especially last week because you’ve had success in Seattle and to see the struggles the team went through offensively. There have been some hiccups in these last couple of weeks.
“There’s a part of you that wants to go out and play. But it’s a team sport. You swallow that part of it and be there for your team. I have a new role and I accept that role. Those are the things outside of my control. I do what I can to help this team win.”
With some other guys finding their new roles with the injuries, is it a big deal to have a week to take a deep breath and maybe get some guys back?
“At this point yeah, we’ve got a lot guys who got injured and have been sitting out and waiting for their moment to come back. So now we have a bye week, let some of those guys heal and get some extra time in conditioning and working out so they can be ready to play in this postseason. It’ll give [TE] Vernon [Davis] some extra time to come back, [DT] Justin Smith. I think this is going to be great for us.”
Do you have a message you’d like to send to the Vikings?
“They played a great game and thank you.”
What did you learn last year about the difference between the postseason and regular season?
“You have to remember I didn’t play in the first postseason game, I was out with a broken jaw. So I’m like some of the guys that were injured, feeling good that we have this bye week and we’ve got another opportunity. But the NFC Championship Game, it was faster, it seemed like the game stepped up a notch and now I’m ready for it.”
S Donte Whitner
Can you compare how you approached this week after last week’s game?
“Whenever you step on the field and don’t perform the way you’re used to performing, there’s going to be some questions. But we never panicked. We never worried about what other people were saying. We watched the film, understood our mechanical mistakes, understood our mental errors and came out and had a good game.”
Can you talk about the team’s approach, particularly the defense, to the playoffs?
“Truthfully, I believe we’re going to be ready, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We understand that the game goes up a notch. You have to put it all on the line each and every play and each and every game. We have the type of character guys that are going to come out and be prepared.”
When you win the division like this, is it like playing a video game? You win the first level and then go on to the next level and so on?
“It’s sort of like a video game, but that game wasn’t easy out there. They never gave up. The defense came to play tremendously well. We had some big plays on them. We got a turnover late in the third, but we knew this game wasn’t going to be easy. We knew they were going to come out and fight. That’s a prideful team over there and we fought all the way to the end. It feels good to leave here with the division championship.”
How much of a test has it been without DT Justin Smith? So much has been talked about how he anchors the defense.
“It doesn’t really bother us. We understand that the guys who step in for him have to play close to his level. He’s a tremendous player for us. He does a lot against the run. He frees things up for the pass rush. We miss him. He vowed to be back for the playoffs. He’ll be ready and we’ll be back to our normal defense. But today, we had a good showing.”
“It was big for us. We had talked about it during the week that our defense had to come out and play from this point on. And today I think was a great start of what we need to do. Obviously there were some plays out there that I wish we could do better. But, we’ll watch the film and get better and get ready for our next opponent.”
Why is the BYE week so important for you guys and how beneficial can it be for you?
“That was big. Big ups to the Vikings for doing that and winning. My man [RB] Adrian Peterson is a good friend of mine. But, really for us it’s big. It gives us the chance to get healthier in areas and hopefully get one of our more key guys back, [DT] Justin [Smith]. And just a chance to get our bodies that much more fresh. Coach has done a great job this week of taking care of us and making sure we were ready to come out this game and be fresh and ready to play. So, hopefully having this BYE week we’ll be able to do that.”
You were all inside the locker room right now. It’s a really happy place. Do you feel that momentum is good right now? That all the kind of vibrations are positive for you guys?
“I think with anything you have to take advantage of the opportunity that you have right now and before you. And right now we just won our division today. And the Vikings just won, just beat Green Bay to help us get that BYE week. So, right now things are well. But, we have to take advantage of those, of the opportunities. And I know our guys will.”
Can you talk about WR Michael Crabtree today and just season by season he seems to keep getting better. Just every season he seems to improve. Can you just talk about how he’s done this season for you guys?
“Yeah, Crabtree has been unbelievable this season. And that’s the way it should be. Each season you’re supposed to get better. And he holds himself to a high standard and he knows what he’s capable of. And we know what he’s capable of. And he comes to work every day, has a great attitude. And then when it’s his chance to go out there. He makes those catches in practice, and catches the ball well in practice. And it just goes to show that you practice well and you play well. And he’s certainly done that for us this year. And we’re going to need him to continue to make those big plays for us and be one of those guys.”
What does it mean for you guys to be back-to-back division champions?
“It means a lot. I was just telling some of the guys that it’s something we don’t take for granted. I know personally for myself, I don’t. I remember the years of those first four years of being here and some guys longer than that. But, I remember those first four years and what it felt like. This time of the year you’re just playing for pride and playing for just to go into the offseason to feel better. And now with these two last seasons to be playing for something it’s a blessing. I know we’re grateful for it. And I know our guys are really thankful. And we’re going to continue that much harder to work because the ultimate goal, one of our goals was to win this division, but our ultimate goal was to make it to the Super Bowl and win that. And that’s still ahead of us and it’s going to be a tough road. But, as we said right now, we like it tough.”
How nice is it to have the Bye to get healthy and have more time to recover and get back?
“It’s great. It’s a chance to get healthier in areas and really just mentally be that much more in tune as to what we need to do as a team. And today is a great day. Truly blessed and like I said, this is a special team. And I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other organization or team right now.”
Is it your understanding that the week off is very helpful for Justin Smith and his recovery?
“Yeah, most definitely. He was just talking about it. He’s feeling better and we also know that anytime you have an injury, or going through something, that the more time you have to rehab and the more time you have to heal, the better off you’ll be. And like I said, he’s a big guy for us, a marquee guy for us. And we love having him out there with us. And hopefully he’ll be able to be out there with us when it’s time to play a game.”
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt
“I think today’s game kind of mirrored our season. We started out well, did some things good. We couldn’t do enough, especially early against a good football team. And then we made mistakes in the second half that really hurt us. Our guys fought. I was proud of the way they came out and played today. Starting this game off, I think they were physical. They did a good job on both sides of the ball. But where we are as a team right now, we have to play error-free. We made enough mistakes that we couldn’t overcome them. It’s disappointing obviously. That’s been kind of what our season’s been. It’s a tough way to finish, but that’s a good football team we played.”