What They Said: 49ers, Falcons Recap Week 15 Clash

The San Francisco 49ers fell to the Atlanta Falcons in waning seconds as Julio Jones hauled in the game-winning score in the Week 15 matchup. See what both locker rooms had to say after the Falcons, 29-22, victory.

Niners Liners

Kyle Shanahan on the decision to kick the field goal on 4th-and-1:

I mean, if it would have been inside one, from what I saw, I thought it was closer to two. I wanted to make them go the whole field to see if they could get a touchdown."

Shanahan on Jimmy Garoppolo's performance:

"I think Jimmy played like the rest of the offense. I don't think anybody stuck out and played bad or poorly, but I don't think anybody played good enough to win. Definitely starts with me. I thought Jimmy had some good plays. Missed a couple like guys always do. I give a lot of credit to them. I thought their guys played hard and did a good job schematically with their plan. I thought they had a hell of a day and we need to be on our stuff to win and we weren't."

Shanahan on if this game was emotionally tough to play after the last two games:

"No. I think they're all like that now. No, I don't see that by any means if you think about that right away and we address it early in the week, I didn't feel, throughout the week in practice, I didn't feel today on the field. Guys were into it and they were competing. When you play a team like that who, to me, played very well today. You better also and we didn't. That starts with me and it goes to everyone else. We've got to play better. It doesn't matter who we're playing or when we're playing."

QB Jimmy Garoppolo on how the team will move past this game on a short week:

"Just, especially with the short week, got to look at it, watch the tape, see what we did wrong, see what we did right and just assess it. Going into the short week, just got to be ready for the Rams now."

Garoppolo on the team pinpointing things they can improve on going into next week:

"I think it speaks to our team, the mindset that we have. I think, starting with myself, I need to be better. I think a lot of guys in the locker room have that mindset. When we watch the film tomorrow, we'll all see the same thing. I think if we all have that mindset, it'll help us get better quickly."

DL Nick Bosa on the team dealing with defensive injuries:

"Yeah, that happens. Every team is dealing with it, but I trust every guy who goes out there. I know I let all of them down."

Bosa on why he felt he let his teammates down:

"Because I didn't win my rushes. I did the wrong things on a couple plays and I just needed to be more of an impact player."

TE George Kittle on what this game can teach the 49ers:

"If we don't play at our level, like we played last week or like we've played all season, anybody can get beat on any Sunday. We definitely have to play better. I don't think we played with any type of intensity that we've been playing all year. We've got to figure that out."

Kittle on what the team can learn from close games:

"Yeah, close games, you definitely learn what your team is made of. I hope our team learns from this game that if we don't bring the intensity, then it will be a quick season ending."

DB Jimmie Ward on how confident he was that the 49ers defense stopped the Falcons on the final play:

"I was confident, but at the same time, I didn't know how close he was to the goal line. It was a bang-bang play."

T Mike McGlinchey on the 49ers final two games of the season having playoff seeding implications:

"Yeah, I think it's one game. (Head coach) Kyle (Shanahan) hit it on the head, it's one game. We are going to bounce back, we are going to get better from this. We are going to see things on tape that we aren't going to like and things that we do. Most importantly, we've got to clean up the ones we don't like the most and capitalize on them in the future. Like I said, we left too many points on the board on offense. That game shouldn't have gotten to the point where it was and we've got to be better."

DL DeForest Buckner on clinching a playoff spot despite the loss:

"Yeah, I just heard about playoffs. It's a nice consolation, but we didn't handle business today. Thank God it's a short week. We can go onto the Rams. But we've got to look at this loss hard and fix our corrections because they played hard today."

Buckner on the defensive line stopping the run and adjusting without D.J. Jones:

"Yeah, that was one of the emphasis going into this week, stopping the run and making sure we get opportunities to get after (Atlanta Falcons QB) Matt (Ryan). We've got him a couple times, but we didn't get him enough. It's a testament to the whole defense taking on that challenge since the past couple weeks we've been struggling against the run. It's just every guy stepping up in that aspect."

FB Kyle Juszczyk on the challenges the Falcons presented the 49ers offense:

"They had a great gameplan. They came out and they gave us something different that they haven't shown all season. They came out with five bigs, three linebackers and took a DB out. It was just something we had to adjust to. I felt like at times we did a good job, but could have done a little bit better."

Juszczyk on the the team's last five games:

"Yeah, it's been high drama, but I feel like we're built for it. I just keep saying that this is going to be good experience for when even more is on the line, you know? So we know that we've got some big games coming up with the playoffs and this kind of stuff is just good experience for us."

LB Fred Warner on if he can pinpoint anything that could've been done differently on the Falcons final drive:

"They just made more plays than us honestly. I was trying to think back in the locker room of anything I could have done differently. There were so many chances in that game to close it out. I wanted us to be in that situation honestly so the defense could be the reason that we end the game, but unfortunately, they made more plays than us on that drive."

Warner on if the defense missed Richard Sherman:

"I mean, Sherm is the leader of this defense. Of course, we were going to miss him in the game, but we are fully confident in the players we have in Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley out there at corner. It didn't make me any less confident in what we were capable of."

T Joe Staley on getting past the loss vs. Falcons:

"We get back and we watch tape. That is what we can do. You watch tape and you learn from it. This loss doesn't define our season going forward. This isn't something that is going to linger in this locker room. It is a bad loss, and credit to them. Obviously, we would love to be sitting here with a win. It would be a different story. We are going to learn from this, we are going to own it and then have one hell of a week of practice, and that is all we can do."

CB Ahkello Witherspoon on the challenges of covering Julio Jones:

"Trying to get a beat on what route he was running. He did everything on the route tree. I think they did a good job getting it in his spots to break some of the coverages we were doing to try to contain him."

Falcons Quotes

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn on the Falcons win:

"That was awesome. At the end, game on the line, those are the moments as a coach that you totally live for. It makes you feel most alive, it was awesome. We knew we would have to have a good road mentality to come out here. The last couple times on the road, we had one in New Orleans, at Carolina and here. You've got to really be connected and make sure you're ready for a fight. We knew this was a very good team, talented spots in a number of spaces. We knew it was going to be a game where it was going to come down to it. I was really proud of the guys, down 19-10 in the fourth quarter, to make sure it was going to take every second of this game to go finish it out. There were all sorts of plays made back and forth. When you saw (Atlanta Falcons WR) Julio (Jones) and the game that he had and their tight end (San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle) was a difficult guy to deal with as well. Both those guys, it was a blood and guts kind of day for all sides and it was a hell of a fight. But, to have a comeback win on the road I thought it showed a lot of toughness about the men in the locker room, what they stand for, the group and I'm glad to open it up for your questions."

Quinn on his message to his team postgame:

"It took a lot of heart, and a lot of extra heart, to get this game won. I was really proud of the guys. I thought just a remarkable performance by Julio in terms of the amount of catches. It was difficult, (Atlanta Falcons WR) Calvin (Ridley) was out too. There was going to be a lot where he would be put into different spaces. He was Z, he was X, he was outside, inside, screens, but all in all I thought it was just a tough team performance. The coach side of me certainly doesn't like the penalties and that'll be something easy for me to get back into tomorrow. We were going to be bold. Took a shot on an onside kick. We took some shots that we thought we would take, but it was the heart of the team to come back and fight at the end."

QB Matt Ryan on the game-winning touchdown:

"It was a play call where we read it across the board. We started with (Atlanta Falcons WR) Russell Gage on the left-hand side. They covered it well, but we knew we had (Atlanta Falcons WR) Julio Jones coming back to us. It was just a physical, strong catch by him. He did a great job of body awareness to know where he was at and making sure the ball was across the plane."

Ryan on Julio Jones' performance:

"It was no secret that our plan was to get him involved. We targeted him quite a bit. Pass interference was a huge play. We had a couple of others that didn't go our way on those types of calls, but we gave him some chances, and he delivered."

DT Grady Jarrett on the team's final drive:

"It was amazing. I think everyone on the sideline had confidence that it wasn't close to being finished, even on that close call with (Atlanta Falcons TE Austin) Hooper. We thought he had it. We still had time left, and we still had an opportunity to win the game."

Jarrett on slowing down the 49ers offense:

"We wanted to come out and put our best foot forward. I think we did that. Everyone put on a good performance today. It felt good, and we want to continue to build off it until the end of the season as best we can."

WR Julio Jones on his game-winning touchdown reception:

"It was just 11 guys doing the right thing and being resilient. (Atlanta Falcons TE Austin) Hooper did a great job by running his route and taking his guy out of the picture. I came in underneath Hoop. Before the play, (Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan) told everyone, 'Hey, get in the end zone.' Then it was pretty much the last play, so we needed to get in the end zone and score. He delivered a strike to me, and it was a touchdown."

Jones on the offensive mindset during Atlanta's final drive:

"Just 'One play at a time.' You know when your number is called, you make plays. We didn't really have to say too much. We got a lot of guys leading everybody. The guys that are coming up, like in the second year, they did a hell of a job today, playing their roles and doing what they had to do."