The San Francisco 49ers have punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIV following a 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Here's what both locker rooms said following the NFC Championship matchup.
Kyle Shanahan on if he could have predicted the team's success in the run game:
"We had an idea going in. We were hoping to do something like that going in. But, you never plan for it to be like that. When you're watching how the guys were running and everything, and then watching how our defense was playing, it made it very easy to stick with, even the third downs and stuff. The guys played as aggressive as any team I've been on, and they made it very easy to call plays."
Shanahan on Raheem Mostert's record-breaking performance:
"The lanes that we saw and the way he was running, just wanted to keep feeding him. Raheem is not someone who is going to come up and tell me a bunch during the game. I know he was feeling it and it wasn't too hard to see."
Shanahan on going to the Super Bowl:
"I think a lot more will go through my mind when I get home and just sit down and relax tonight. I am never comfortable in games until it's officially over. Once it was officially over I got bombarded by everyone. I'm sure I'll feel those injuries tomorrow. But, it was really awesome to have my family down there, my wife and kids. It was just so cool. I know how happy our players were, how much they wanted this. And, I was just so proud how hard they fought."
Shanahan on receiving the trophy from his dad:
"It was pretty special. To get a trophy handed by anyone is really cool, but especially (49ers CEO) Jed (York) making my dad an honorary captain. Jed told me it was special for his mom when his uncle handed her the trophy before they won. And, Jed planned all that and did that. It was pretty cool, I didn't know what was going on, but it was pretty cool that it happened there at the end. It was pretty special."
QB Jimmy Garoppolo on the offensive line's performance in the NFC Championship:
"I thought they came out from the first snap ready to roll. They made a couple of ankle tackles early. You saw the way the game was playing out, and (RB) Raheem (Mostert) just took off tonight."
Garoppolo on what he's taken from his previous Super Bowl experiences:
"This first week is where you really have to take advantage of it. Because once you get down there to Miami, in this case, it's a crazy week down there. So, got to take advantage of this first week and get ahead of the other team."
Garoppolo on the team's success on the ground:
"You always think that way and you try to plan that way, but you kind of feel the game out as it goes. I thought Kyle did a good job calling the game and I thought the guys did a great job executing."
DL Arik Armstead on going to the Super Bowl:
"It is amazing. It means a lot to us, especially going through all of the adversity that we went through over the past couple of years. To be going to the Super Bowl and have the chance to be the top of the league is amazing."
DL Nick Bosa on the defensive game plan:
"You have to bring some exotic pressures on him. They have a really good O-line in pass protection so you have to do a couple things to mix it up. I am glad that we got that lead in the first half because (Green Bay Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers is dangerous. I am just happy to be moving on."
Bosa on heading to Super Bowl LIV:
"I don't think that it has hit me yet. I'm going to see my family and I'm sure it will hit me then. I am going home so I am excited."
DL DeForest Buckner on the team chemistry:
"I think you go back to OTAs, man. We all knew we could be a special group, a special team this year. And just seeing the guys work, work through a lot of things from OTAs, to training camp and preseason. The guys just fed off of each other, you know what I mean? Offense, defense, special teams, everybody. We've got a lot of selfless guys playing for each other. That's the key ingredient. Being able to play for your brother next to you, no matter what happens. Doesn't matter who gets the stats or anything. We're just trying to go out there and win football games and I think we have a really special group."
Buckner on going to his first Super Bowl:
"Yeah, it means a lot, you know what I mean? It's a slim amount of us that's been here since my rookie year, but obviously you see the new coaching staff, they trusted us in our abilities moving forward. And just to see the team that they brought together, we knew it wasn't going to be overnight, it was going to take time. And we had a lot of injuries the past couple of years that set us back. And just to see the grit in the team even when we were losing, guys came out every day ready to work. Nobody was pointing fingers. That's when I knew we had a lot of special guys in the room. Nobody's pointing fingers, blaming each other for anything. Everybody was owning up and trying to see what they could do to help the team get better. You could see it over the course of this season, guys stepping up. Guys getting benched and not complaining about it, just trying to see what they can do to help the team. You could see it throughout the entire course of the season. It's been unbelievable."
DL Dee Ford on the defense's success in generating pressure against the Packers:
"Stay focused. Do what we got to do. It is very simple if we play together we dominate. We took that same mentality and we didn't need to do anything different."
Ford on facing his old team, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the Super Bowl:
"Definitely there is a lot of love in that building. I have a lot of love for the guys in that building. They gave me my opportunity of course. I am here with a new team. It is going to be a great opportunity. It is going to be like playing my brothers back to training camp days. It is going to be fun."
LB Dre Greenlaw on what this season has meant to him:
"Once I got the opportunity, I just made it last, made it happen. It is just a testament to the guys in the fifth round that they can go out here and work and that they can get it done too. Just because you get drafted in the fifth round, undrafted or first round, it doesn't matter. If you get an opportunity, give it all that you got and put it on the line. Your preparation takes care of everything. If you go out there and prepare and give it your all, good things will come for those that work hard."
TE George Kittle on going to the Super Bowl:
"Obviously, it hasn't hit me yet. I'm pretty excited. I think tonight's going to be pretty fun. But, I'm just so happy. I mean ever since my rookie year, just the hard work, (49ers head) coach (Kyle) Shanahan, just the three years of every single day. He always talks to us about how we're this close, just have to get over it. It all finally came to. And this whole season, ups and downs, we had injuries left and right. We had guys step up when they needed to from (OL Justin) Skule to (OL Daniel) Brunskill, to our defense, (S) Marcell (Harris), (LB Dre) Greenlaw. We had guys everywhere stepping up the entire season. And, when we get to finish it on something like that where, I don't know, how many rushes did we have?"
T Mike McGlinchey on the atmosphere at Levi's® Stadium:
"It was incredible. The faithful have been showing up all year. They have proven once we put something good in front of them, they are some of the best fans in the NFL. We have felt it really, really strong the last five or six home games. Today was even more so. It was incredible from start to finish. I don't think there was an empty seat in the house, even when we were having our awards ceremony, which says a lot."
RB Raheem Mostert on how he's feeling after winning the NFC:
"Still surreal. You know, I just -- I can't believe that I'm in this position right now and I did the things that I did tonight. And I would like to thank God first and foremost for blessing not only myself but everybody in the organization to be in the position that we're in, to get the win and to move on to Miami, my home state. And I can't believe it. I'm still being able to play at my home state. This is so surreal right now."
Mostert on what pops into his head after his record-breaking performance in the NFC Championship:
"You know, I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers, and now I get to actually tell them, 'Look at where I'm at now.' I never gave up on my dream. I never gave up on the opportunities when it presented itself. And I always worked hard, no matter what. And it's crazy that I've been on seven different teams. I actually still have the cut dates. And I look at that before every game. I look at the cut dates when I got cut. I've been on, like I said, seven different teams. The journey's been crazy. Not even -- not everybody can deal with that type of stress and pain and agony that I went through. But like I said, I kept the faith in not only myself but whoever gave me the opportunity. And this organization has done a great job with that.
"Truthfully for you to even say that now is like -- I'm still shocked. I can't believe that. Eric Dickerson is the ultimate running back. He's a guy I look up to, even all the other running backs, even with (former 49ers RB) Frank Gore, to even be mentioned with somebody like (Hall of Fame RB) Eric Dickerson, that's unbelievable."
WR Deebo Samuel on Mostert's performance:
"Man, it was crazy. It seemed like every run he did, he was about to score every time. I was just out there going crazy. It was an amazing feeling."
WR Emmanuel Sanders on how the team won with just eight passing attempts:
"Yes, I only had one target, and I'm not upset with that. I told myself, if I'm not going to get the ball, I might as well go out here and be a bully. I kind of turned into a bully, I started to enjoy blocking. Sometimes I actually like that aspect of it. When they brought me over here, they knew what is in my heart. They know I am going to be an incredible teammate and I am going to do whatever I have to do to help this team win. If it is going in and blocking, and if it is playing special teams, whatever I've got to do, I am here to help."
CB Richard Sherman on his game-sealing interception:
"They ran a corner post. We were in quarters. I just kept running. I knew it wasn't necessarily my responsibility, but I knew he was going to take the shot there and go for the gusto. Just wanted to track the ball down, give us a chance. I was tracking. I thought it was kind of out of my reach for a while. I was going to go for the bat down. And, as I got my feet under me, I noticed I could get under it and I was able to do it."
Sherman on what makes this team so special:
"It's a long road and there's a lot of work that goes into it. A lot of things that you don't see, a lot of unspoken things, a lot of work away from the cameras. You guys see the games. You don't see the hours and hours of work. The hours and hours of study. The hours and hours of treatment, pain, overcoming pain. The nights at home you don't even get to spend with your kids because you're trying to get your knee back or hamstring back or your back. And your kids sitting there rubbing on you trying to make you feel better. People don't understand the sacrifice that goes into being great at this game. They see the games and they're like, 'they won or lost,' but regardless, guys sacrifice. Those guys in Green Bay, they put a lot of sacrifice into it throughout the season. They deserve to be there. They earned their right to be there. And no matter what, win, lose, draw, you sacrifice. You give up your body and your time and your health and your mind. You're usually somewhere between going psychotic and you're locked in, you know what I mean? Because, it's such a crazy edge you've got to be on. That's why it's a little emotional. You get to appreciate it a little more."
T Joe Staley on the uniqueness of the 49ers locker room:
"This is like everybody coming to work. The attitude that everybody has every single day. There are no egos. Everybody generally pulls for each other. No one cares about what credit that they get. (49ers QB) Jimmy (Garoppolo) doesn't care if he throws for 300 yards or, what did he pass today for, 50-60? He doesn't care and same with the running backs. (49ers TE George) Kittle is a superstar and he could care less about his stats. Top to bottom everybody just wants to pull for each other and win. It is just a special bunch."
Staley on the growth of the 49ers:
"We are a team that can win any kind of way. We have proven that throughout the season. We have had a game where we had to score 48 points to win on the road in New Orleans against a really good New Orleans Saints team. We had a game where we had 47 and 42 rushes in the playoffs. We can do anything and our defense is smothering. We play really great team football. Our special teams have been playing solid all year. This is a really hard team to play against and hard to beat."
LB Fred Warner on the feeling of winning the NFC:
"It's still kind of surreal. I mean the stuff this team's gone through, this organization, it's special. This is the pinnacle of football right here. And for me to experience this as early in my career as I'm going to be, it's a loss for words."
Head coach Matt LaFleur on the loss to the 49ers:
"Just want to start out and congratulate the San Francisco 49ers. They played well today and we didn't play well enough. I told our guys that going into these types of games we know that the ball was going to be a big part of whoever was going to win this game, and we didn't win the turnover margin. And then, the other thing that we knew they were going to try to do was run the football. They absolutely got after us in the run game and it was not good enough, but I'll tell you what, if there's one thing that I can say about our team is these guys are a bunch of fighters and you don't always get that. When you're down 27-nothing and these guys kept battling. I just can't tell you how much that means to myself, to our staff. These guys care about one another. That's why it hurts so bad, because we've accomplished a lot of great things this season and ultimately, at the end of the year, only one team is going to be happy. For us not to finish it, it hurts, but I love this team. I love what these guys are all about and I really appreciate them."
LaFleur on the Packers defensive performance:
"Yeah, I'm going to have to go back and look at it, because it was not good enough. They definitely did some things schematically to us. Caught us in man coverage a couple of times, and hit us with a reverse and around, but for the most part it seemed like we were playing a good bit of single safety defense, and when you're in single high, you shouldn't be able to run the ball like that. I think I looked up one time and saw that (49ers RB Raheem) Mostert had 20 carries for 200 yards, and that is not going to get it done. Not in this league, especially when you know that they're going to try to run the football coming into this game."
QB Aaron Rodgers on the loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship:
"Yeah. It's a little raw right now for sure. It definitely hurts a little more than earlier in the career just because you realize how difficult it is to get to this spot. With all of the changes this offseason, the installation of a new system and a new program, to get to this point you feel like it was something special because it just didn't really make sense. We weren't picked by most people to win our division, but we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot. It just kind of felt like it was meant to be almost, so that was a little bit disappointing. It's a little more disappointing when you realize that I don't have the same number of years ahead of me as I do behind me."
Rodgers on what makes him think the Packers are close to reaching to the Super Bowl:
"Leadership. It's the two guys that I mentioned. (Packers general manager) Brian (Gutekunst) and his staff, and Matt LaFleur. What he's done with his own staff is fantastic. He values that leadership aspect, and I know Brian does as well. You can't have enough Marcedes Lewis' on the roster. (Packers LB) B.J. Goodson. (Packers RB) Tyler Ervin. (Packers T) Jared Veldheer. (Packers LB) Preston Smith. (Packers LB) Za'Darius Smith. (Packers S) Adrian Amos. (Packers G) Billy Turner. These are some serious moves that they made. Allowing Matt to put it all together and empower the guys, that's what made this special. It's a close-knit group. The pieces are in place. Last year, I felt like we really needed to reload. Obviously we were 6-9-1. Now it's just adding two and keeping the framework of the leadership in place. I feel good about our team moving forward and our organization."
WR Davante Adams on the emotions after the loss:
"It's tough to describe. It's hard to get here three times and come up short. We just didn't play the game the right way. We didn't come out hard to start. We didn't play fast like we usually do when we do well. We knew what he had to do. We didn't win the ball and that's tough when you play games like this. It's tough to be down the way we were and come back. The San Francisco 49ers run the ball really well and they have a really good defense. We dropped the ball."
LB Blake Martinez on what was frustrating about the loss to the 49ers:
"All across the board, it was little mistakes here and there. It was understanding situations for me. There are certain things that are easy to fix. We just did not make those corrections throughout the game."
LB Preston Smith on the defense's performance:
"Those guys capitalized off of our mistakes. They made some big plays when their number was called. We just have to look at the film and be critical of ourselves so that next year we don't have these same problems and these same mistakes. We have to eliminate them for next season."