The San Francisco 49ers exorcised some demons in Week 17. The 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks on the road for the first time since 2011 to win the NFC West, thanks to a game-saving tackle on the goal line by Dre Greenlaw. Here's what both locker rooms said following the battle for the division.
Kyle Shanahan on winning by inches:
"I have experience from the Atlanta game, so I wasn't ready to celebrate anything. It kind of ruined my celebration to tell you the truth, I wanted to wait until I saw the scoreboard. I saw he did not get in. Then everyone tried to tackle me but I was waiting to see how much time was left on the clock. I wanted to take a knee. We would have taken a safety if there was one second, so there's no chance to fumble. It was a little hectic there at the end but once the whistle officially blew, I felt very good."
Shanahan on being the No. 1 seed in the playoffs:
"I feel really good about it. We worked for this the whole year. The goal going in was just to get into the tournament. To get in there with the number one seed is very good. We were going to be ready to deal with whatever we had to tomorrow, whether we had to go play three games. I know we are much happier that we can stay home now and that you're two games away from the big one. We are going to enjoy this bye week. I'm very proud of the guys. We have had to win a lot of different ways this year. I feel like we have done it every way possible and then we find a new way to do it. I wish it would not have been that close at the end. It doesn't matter now. I'm pumped how they finished it."
Shanahan on beating the Seahawks to win the NFC West:
"I have a lot of respect for Seattle. I know what they have done for this last decade. I know how hard of a team they are to beat no matter where you play them. To clinch something against a very good team is something you always enjoy a little bit more. But however we would have done it, it would not have mattered."
QB Jimmy Garoppolo on watching the Seahawks final offensive series:
"Every emotion you can imagine - nerve-racking, anxiety… Every game that we've had lately seemed like it's come down to the last play or two, and this was no different. Defense stepped up huge, though. That was incredible at the end, though."
Garoppolo on how it feels to be the No. 1 seed:
"It's pretty incredible. Especially just from the start of the season, all the hearsay and everything about our team and what we were going to do and to come out here and get the one seed – it's a pretty nice feeling. It's a step in the right direction, but we've still got a long way to go."
CB Richard Sherman on how it felt to win the division in Seattle:
"It's a great feeling. It's a great feeling just to get the one seed. To be NFC West champions, that's your goal coming into the year. That's the first goal you have to accomplish so that you get a home game in the playoffs. We worked hard, it was a tough season, there's a lot of teams playing well down the stretch. But, I'm thankful. I believed in our team, our team believes in each other, and that's what makes it special. The game is never going to be perfect, it's never going to be exactly how you drew it up, but if guys keep battling for one another, keep trying, keep fighting, keep straining, you give yourself a chance to be special. That's what our guys did today. It wasn't perfect. It came down to the last play. A few inches, a game of inches."
Sherman on how he can help guide the team during the bye week from his past experiences:
"It's not about enjoying it. Enjoyment has no part in this week. It's about getting better, it's about you still being in the season. This is a four-week season or five-week season left and you're going to have to earn every other game. You get a chance to heal your body, but we need to work and we're still at work."
Sherman on how the 49ers offense responded to the Seahawks in the second half:
"You can't say enough about Jimmy Garoppolo and the O-line and the backs that we have. (49ers tight end George) Kittle, obviously. Our receivers. Everybody was making big plays out there and giving us a chance to win this game. That's what it takes, it takes a full group effort. You can hand out game balls to 15 people today for the efforts they put in."
RB Raheem Mostert on how important it was for the 49ers offense to answer the Seahawks:
"It was very important. Just having that momentum, getting back to our style of play. It paid off. It paid big dividends and gave us more momentum moving forward. We just had to believe in ourselves and that's what we were able to do."
Mostert on the importance of having a bye week:
"It was very important, especially guys dealing with injuries and stuff like that and being able to take care of their bodies and get back right. That way, we can keep pushing and keep doing things that we have been doing thus far. Like you said, that bye week is very crucial. We haven't had it since Week 4. I'm positive that our guys are going to take very good advantage of it."
TE George Kittle on winning the NFC West:
"I don't know. It's just an incredible feeling. Appreciation, is a word is something that I feel. Just the hard work we put in the last three years finally amount to something that matters. We're definitely not done, but this is definitely something we'll celebrate for the next 24 hours. We get to play more football at Levi's® Stadium. I'm really excited to be able to play in front of our fans again."
Kittle on how tough watching the final minutes were:
"That felt like I was back in the press box again, watching and not being able to do anything. It was stressful. I didn't leave the bench once. I just kind of watched the screen the whole time and our defense got it done. It's a game of inches, I guess."
WR Emmanuel Sanders on answering Seattle's touchdowns with their own:
"That's what it's about. If I had to define this team, I would define it as resilient. I've seen so many games where it was close. We just chugging. When the momentum shifted one way, we didn't blink. We went out and we executed the plays and we scored the points and did what we had to do to win the ball game. I just pray that we continue to do that. We enjoy this victory, but we have big time playoff games coming up, and we have to handle business."
Sanders on Deebo Samuel:
"He's a baller. He was already a baller before I got here. That guy, with the ball in his hands, he's explosive. I enjoy playing with him. I enjoy letting him know what is to come, because I've been in this league 10 years. I don't know if he listens or not, but I got a feeling he does. If I see something, I just try to tell him exactly what's going to happen in that situation because I've been around for a long time. He's a special player. The ceiling is very high for him. I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to turn into a dangerous player in this league, because he is already dangerous."
FB Kyle Juszczyk on the emotion during the final plays of the game:
"Absolutely incredible. At this point we don't really know any different. I feel like it's been six weeks in a row of this. We just embrace it and it's not something we are going to back down from. It's something that we are comfortable in now."
Juszczyk on the importance of the extra rest before the divisional round:
"I think that's absolutely huge for this team. That extra week of rest is going to go a long way and get a few game-changing players back that I think are going to make a difference."
WR Deebo Samuel on what enables him to rise to the occasion in big moments:
"I just treat every game the same. We knew we needed big plays and Kyle believes in the offense and he was calling plays to get guys open."
"That's awesome. For anyone to make that play, I'm glad it's him. It's going to boost his confidence and make him an even better player."
LB Dre Greenlaw on his goal line stop:
"They're in an empty set, and I'm a cloud, playing my hook. I see the back go fast to the flat, so I'm kind of playing a slant window of one a little bit. After that, I feel the quarterback's not looking. Coach tells me to keep my eyes on the quarterback for anything that's coming out. They try to widen me out and get me out of the middle of the field. They threw it to the tight end running across the field, and me having my eyes back and listening to what my coach was saying, I was able to help."
View postgame photos of 49ers players, coaches and staff following the team's Week 17 victory in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on the delay of game penalty at the one-yard line:
"We were in 'no backs' the play before, and we called the personnel and we just didn't quite get it communicated with the backs. We were just late. We were late getting in there. We burned the time. We just didn't get it done. We just didn't function cleanly. When you kill the clock, sometimes you kind of relax like that's a time out. We didn't on the sidelines, but it just kind of felt like that's what happened, and we didn't get the substitution done properly and we were late with it, and there wasn't enough time for us to get the play off. When it happened, with 22 seconds left I think there was, I'm thinking we were going to get into the end zone, anyway. I was disappointed that we screwed that up, time-wise, but it does change the situation, obviously, because you're on the one, or inside."
Carroll on the final play of the game:
"I don't know. It was so close. If they had called it a touchdown, we probably win the championship, but it was the other way around. It was as close as it can get. I'm sorry to all our fans that we weren't able to get another inch, but that's what it was. It was a play that we had won the Tampa game on earlier in the year. Same play, and same opportunity, and we just didn't get in."
QB Russell Wilson on the final sequence of the game:
"It was a wild one. We had several different opportunities. We tried to make a play, sure enough we came half an inch short there unfortunately."
Wilson on the delay of game penalty:
"We killed it. We were trying to get the right personnel in and everything else. It took a little bit there because at the time we didn't have a back yet, so then we did, but it was too late. Rather than trying to run up there and not have enough time once the clock was what it was, okay, listen, we got more plays."
DE Jadeveon Clowney on having a chance to win the game at the end:
"We fought back, we fought back. It was rough at the beginning of the game, but we fought back into the game and gave ourselves a chance. That's all you can ask for. We put ourselves in a position to win the game and just finished short this game."
LB K.J. Wright on their game plan against George Kittle:
"We know they were going to get 85 (49ers tight end Kittle) the ball, he's a guy they want to target. Just studying the film, watching their tendencies, we were able to see what they wanted to do with him."
TE Jacob Hollister on the final play of the game:
"The play call, I had a shallow route basically. So, I pressed up. Come across. It's fourth down, so we've got to try and get in. I just didn't get it done. It was close."
RB Marshawn Lynch on the Seahawks second half offense:
"I think we just settled down. I started to feel some legs come up underneath me. For the most part, I think everybody just settled down and started hitting their keys."