Whitner's Blog: Happy Holidays


It meant a lot to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last week. That's the first time I've beaten them. I was 0-10 versus them before I came here to San Francisco. Really, it's another chapter that's gotten better in my career since I've been in San Francisco. When you're facing a future Hall of Famer, guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, you really have to be on you're A-game to beat those guys. It's really a feat to beat those guys.

Last Sunday, we went out in a tough environment and took care of business. We got a win and it felt excellent. It also felt good to force one of four turnovers against the Patriots. Whenever you can force turnovers like that, it's big for the football team. My forced fumble was a routine play. I put my head on the football – the ball popped up – and Dashon Goldson returned it 50-plus yards. I wish he would've gotten a touchdown out of it, but we put our offense in scoring position and they went in and scored. It's always good when you can force a turnover, get it and get in the end zone. That's a plus for our football team. I'm all about doing anything to help our football team, and obviously, turnovers are big. It was a big play in the game.

After the game, it felt great shaking hands with the Patriots, knowing they were going home with a loss. Usually, they're the ones shaking hands, smiling in your face, saying "good game." It was great to get that win. We understand that they took it personally – it was a win that both of us needed. They needed to win stay No. 2 in the AFC playoff race and we needed a win to stay at No. 2 in the NFC playoff race. It was a big game for everybody and we're glad to come out with the 'W.'

We had to turn the page quickly after a big win like that. We have Seattle on the road this week in another big game. But we understand that we're battle-tested. We don't care what people say about us outside of this building. We know we've gone into tough places all year, Green Bay, New Orleans and now New England. We know what to expect on the road and we know what to expect this week. We know we've played in a lot of big games and this is what you want, towards the end of the year, you want to be playing in marquee matchups in primetime. That means you've been doing a good job. That means you've been winning football and people want to see you. We're looking forward to it. We understand each week from here on out will be a big week and our playoffs started last week.

Both the 49ers and Seahawks have improved in recent weeks. Both have great running backs and two young quarterbacks, guys who can get the ball out and get it deep. Both Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are athletic quarterbacks. They're two guys who like to use their legs. They can play out of the shotgun, run bootlegs, misdirections and they can make plays with their feet when the play breaks down. It's similar to what we can do here on offense.

It's two similar football teams with one common goal: Make it to the playoffs and try to win a Super Bowl. It's going to be a good clash. We understand Seattle has thrown in a few wrinkles. We understand who this team is and we need to be at our best in a hostile environment. We need to be ready to match their energy and exceed it early on in this football game and then everything else can take care of itself.

I also think it's great to play before Christmas this year. It's important to be home. I haven't been home in a while on Christmas. Usually we're preparing during the week for a game on Christmas or we're traveling for a game. To me, it's exciting to be home for Christmas. Unfortunately, my family won't be able to make it. But I have teammates and friends around that invited me over.

To be honest, I don't like to receive gifts on Christmas. I truly believe Christmas is for the giving and not the receiving. I'm fortunate to be able to provide for my friends and family. I'd rather do that than accept gifts, other than cards.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was one of the gifts my mother gave me as a kid – a gift I really wanted. She bought me the "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots." That's what I wanted and she told me I'd get it if I got good grades. She said if I got a C on my report card she wasn't going to get it for me. I actually brought home three As, two Bs and one C. She still said I wasn't going to get it. But Christmas morning came and when I opened my gifts, the robots were in the box. That's something I'll always remember and she knows that's my favorite gift of all-time.

Instagram Photo of the Week


I haven't done a blog in a few weeks, but this photo I took of our Gameday cover with Dashon and me on it is my photo of the week. It was called "The Lumber Co." which I think is a cool name for our safety tandem. Obviously, it takes awhile to carve out an identity. So after two seasons of playing together, flying around and hitting people – I think it's fitting. That's the way we play the game. When you hear people say, "Lay the wood," you have two guys who take pride in hitting guys and laying the wood back there. So that's why our name should be "Lumber Co." We're going to run with it. We're going to continue to play the way we play and hopefully people start to recognize it. I still wear the lumberjack shirt when I work out… on upper-body days.

#AskDonteWhitner Q&A

Q: How did slamming Reggie Bush down feel against the Dolphins? – Justin
A: It felt great. It was just an intense play. My adrenaline was rushing. He turned his back to me and when that happens in football, that's what's supposed to happen. If he didn't turn his back, that might not have happened.

Q: What is your best football experience ever?– M.K.
A: Playing in the NFC Championships last year, having the opportunity to be that close to the Super Bowl. That was my best experience.

Q: What as a team do you think was the most significant win of the season so far and why?  – Angela
A: It's between two games, New Orleans and last week in New Orleans. In New Orleans, we went down to a hostile environment and played well. Against the Patriots, having to go up there and win in a tough environment, we clinched a playoff berth and are on pace to clinch a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. It was huge for our team.

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