Bowman, Willis learn 49ers' playoff opponent from CSN's Mindi Bach
Could NaVorro Bowman end up being the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year? (AP)
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San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman, a strong candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was recognized as the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month on Thursday.
Bowman provided the 49ers’ with their signature defensive play of the season to clinch a playoff spot in the final regular-season game at Candlestick Park on Dec. 23. He intercepted a pass that Tramaine Brock broke up and returned it 89 yards against the Atlanta Falcons with 70 seconds remaining for a 34-24 victory.
But that was not all Bowman did in the month of December.
Bowman became the only NFL player in the past 20 years with at least 45 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, a touchdown, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in the same month.
“He’s a great player,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday. “I think the last couple of years he hasn’t gotten the recognition and credit he deserves for the type of player that he is.
“It’s a talented defense with a lot of big names – Aldon (Smith), Justin (Smith) and Patrick Willis. He’s one of the top players in the league. The film doesn’t lie. When you watch the film. Obviously, they’re a stout defense, but he pops out every time you turn the film on.”
Bowman was chosen as a first-team All-Pro the past two seasons. He was named to his second Pro Bowl team last week.