Q: What does this win do for you moving forward?
A: It’s a big win and obviously going against a great team – talented on both sides of the football. Their offense had a great year. Their defense did outstanding. Stopping them, getting turnovers and then offensively we did well on third down, hitting some big plays and not giving them turnovers. They’ve been great at getting turnovers all season. We gave them one, but played smart football on both sides of the ball and found a way to win.
Q: How gratifying was the success the team had on third down?
A: That’s big. Obviously that’s extending drives. That’s giving us opportunities to make big plays. Early on, from the first series, we had a couple big third-and-long conversions. The second series, we had a third-and-long conversion where I hit Hakeem. The next play I throw an in-cut to Hakeem. He breaks a tackle and scores a touchdown. Giving yourself an extra three plays – that’s big for us. We know offensively that the more plays we get the more opportunities we’re going to have to hit some big plays and get some touchdowns.
Q: What’s it like to get another shot at San Francisco in the NFC Championship?
A: We’re excited. It’s a big game and they’re playing great football. We know what to expect with them. They’re very a sound team. They’re very good. They have good players. They play with great energy. Their secondary has good players in it. They’re good all around. They play smart football. Their offense doesn’t turn the ball over. They run the ball. Alex Smith is playing well. We know we’re going to have to play that same way. We’re going to have to play smart. Offensively, we’re going to have to be very consistent. Everybody is going to know their assignments. It’s just about execution.
Q: How much fun is it to see the confidence building?
A: It’s fun when you’re playing good football, when everybody is executing, when the team is playing well together. And that’s both sides of the ball. Offense doing our part – scoring points, third down conversions, making big plays. Defensively, they’re getting after the quarterback, they’re getting stops. When things are clicking as a team it’s a great feeling.
Q: Is revenge a factor this week or is just the fact that it’s the NFC Championship game enough?
A: This is about the NFC Championship. It’s an opportunity to get this win and go on to the Super Bowl. We played them once before. We know they’re a good team. There’s no denying that. They’re playing great football. They’re playing with great confidence. It’s going to be exciting going out there and having another shot and seeing what we can do.
Q: How do the 49er linebackers stack up?
A: [They’re] about as good as they get. I don’t know if there is a better corps in the NFL with their 3-4 scheme and Patrick Willis and Bowman and their outside backers. They’re talented. Their front seven is as good as you can face in the NFL. And their secondary is talented as well. They’re solid. They don’t have many weaknesses on defense. It’s just going to come down to execution and everybody doing their assignments.
Q: You’re one game away from the Super Bowl. That’s another notch up from a playoff game isn’t it?
A: Definitely. This is exciting. This is where you want to be. We always talk about finishing and playing your best football at the end of the season. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re playing great football on both sides of the ball. We have to continue to do that. We’re playing smart. We can’t turn the ball over. Hopefully our defense can continue to get some turnovers for us and continue to play well. If we’re going to continue this thing, it’s going to take both sides of the ball playing to the best of their ability.