The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 38-13 in the Week 18 matchup at Levi's® Stadium. Here's what the teams had to say following the contest:
Head coach Kyle Shanahan on running back Elijah Mitchell and wide receiver Deebo Samuel returning for the Week 18 contest:
"It's very important. I think we've done a good job without them, but I mean, those are two of our best players. They were healthy this week so we wanted to get them in just to get them back into it. Mainly to help us win, but also for them, to knock off some rust and play again. I think it went really well for both of them."
Shanahan on how quarterback Brock Purdy has improved since becoming the starter:
"Every time you go into a game or practice, it's a new learning experience. It's been real fun going through this with him for the last month or so and I think there's always things that he does, whether it's good or bad, that he gets better from. You can see how he takes it to the practice field on Wednesdays and we get a good feel for him and we're getting to know him better each week."
Shanahan on how safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. enhances the 49ers defense:
"He has been such a good player for a long time and we were very fortunate that he was available. He's come in here and he's been the wisdom of our defense. We mess around with him, call him 'dad' sometimes when he's not one, but he's been so consistent. Always the backstop on our defense, he's got great ball skills, he always has and the biggest thing is it's allowed us to use Jimmie Ward as a nickel too."
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk on reaching his first 1,000 receiving yard milestone:
"It's a huge deal, I was super excited. That's the mark for receivers. That's what you think about when you train in the offseason, when you're sitting at home and throwing the ball up in the air as a kid on the on the bed. Just thinking football, it's about the 1,000."
Aiyuk on home-field advantage at Levi's® Stadium:
"We're excited to be able to have home games here. The crowd, even like today, they showed up and showed out today even though we got off to a slow start. Seeing all the red and being at home. We're excited to be able to find the playoffs."
Aiyuk on the 49ers momentum through the end of the regular season:
"Midway through the season, Week 7 or 8 after the Bye week, we kind of fit it in. Everybody understood their role, what we wanted to do as an offense... So we're excited. We feel good about how we've been able to prepare and how we've been able to produce as an offense in the past couple weeks to close out the season, so we're just looking to take that into the postseason and ride that same wave."
Quarterback Brock Purdy on finding a rhythm in the game:
"We've got to get into a rhythm and from the jump playing as a team – offense defense and special teams. When we start to slack or give teams some hope, then you can feel it on our sideline, like 'man, we've got to get rolling.' I feel like we made some plays early on, but there's some drives where we've got to be better. It starts with myself, it starts with everyone that's been here long enough to own up to it. It's something where we've got to look ourselves in the mirror to get better and be real with ourselves. At the end of the day, we played team football and I feel like in the second half we pulled it off."
Purdy on his mindset heading into the postseason:
"We're at the point in the season where the regular season is over and now the tournament starts. Now it's the real ball that really matters. Every single day is going to be vital in terms of getting better and being able to understand what our opponents are going to be doing. Coach definitely stressed that to us after the game today and we're already getting ready for what's to come."
Purdy on San Francisco's 10-game win streak:
"Everyone is feeling great. When you're on a roll, on a win streak, you feel the groove and how we're playing together. It feels really good when we're on it. I think a lot of us are real with ourselves too, though. I feel like we still haven't played to our full potential yet. We look at it as a challenge, but we're also excited because, if we do play to our full potential, what else can we do? Those are the kinds of things that we ask ourselves every day and we're excited about. I'm excited moving forward, being on a win streak."
Safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. on his first interception of the game:
"I bobbled it a little bit, I wouldn't have been able to live that down. I've let a couple slip through the cracks this year, so I couldn't let that happen. Obviously a big play by Deommodore Lenoir, getting the inside leverage and gave me a chance to break on the ball. Also Fred Warner being the best middle linebacker in the National Football League, making the quarterback elevate the throw. I just broke out to the middle of the field, attacked the ball, and came down with the play. I give credit to those guys and just God for putting me in that position."
Gipson Sr. on what it's like playing with the 49ers:
"It just been a match made in heaven. It's been the funnest year of my career. I can truly say that... this is the funnest year of my career and why stop now, we have so much more football left to play. It'll be a perfect storybook ending for everybody if we can continue to keep this going."
Linebacker Fred Warner on the 49ers making the playoffs:
"It's a blessing obviously to make the playoffs and to have the opportunity that we have. Seriously, I don't know if I've had this feeling I have right now about our team and the opportunity that we have to go win this thing. This opportunity doesn't come around often. I want that to be the feeling for this organization. It's about recommitting yourself and we have some things to clean up on defense every week, but we have everything that we need on this team to do what we want to do this postseason."
Warner on the team's opportunity in the postseason:
"This opportunity that we're in is crazy. We have home field advantage for two games so we better take advantage of it because we've set ourselves up for success and we've just got to go execute."
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa on what's different about the playoffs:
"When the playoffs come around, there's a whole new energy. We've got to have everybody on board... This opportunity and this team that we have right now is one that you can't lose."
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury on his takeaway from competing against the 49ers:
"Watching that team, how talented they are winning 10 in a row. Just what it takes to get there and how you can try and be there one day."
Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt on ending his career at Levi's® Stadium and getting a standing ovation from the Faithful:
"I want to thank the 49ers, that was very classy. Their fans too, you don't have to do that for an opposing player in your stadium when you're going to the playoffs. I appreciate that. That was better than I could have expected it to be, certainly from that standpoint. Having my wife and son here and my parents here. I wish the game ran differently in many ways, but I'm thankful and grateful and I'll always remember it, that's for sure."