The last time
He shoved him out of the back of the end zone.
Lemonier, looking more and more like a man among men in the NFL, recorded three career firsts in his 49ers 32-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon: the sack and the safety, plus a forced fumble.
During the Cardinals first series of the second quarter, the rookie outside linebacker beat left tackle Bradley Sowell to bring down quarterback Carson Palmer five yards deep into the end zone. Told that he appeared to one-arm Palmer's back – his left arm was still tangled with Sowell when he charged into and past him and into the end zone – Lemonier asked, “Really? I’ll have to see the replay.
“We pinned ‘em back down there. I got the (offense’s) set I was practicing for. I made the move and made the play.”
This was also the case in the fourth quarter.
Two plays after the 49ers offense's 18-play, 89-yard drive for a game-changing touchdown, Lemonier broke the ball loose from running back Alfonso Smith. Fellow 'backer
“We called a stunt. I ran the stunt, hit my guy,” Lemonier said. “Our goal for this week was to strip the ball, to get two strips off of them, and I was trying to do my part.”
“He is coming along well," said safety
"He has all the mechanics, all the makeup, he has all the talent to be a good pass-rusher in the National Football League. He just has to get more experience and he’ll get better and better.”
Jim Harbaugh agreed.
"Pass rushers in this game are hard to find," the coach said. "It's exciting, seeing him do the job he's doing."
A defense that returned another linebacker
Pair Lemonier’s performance with fellow first-year pro
“We were expected to learn the plays and come out here and do our job,” Lemonier said. “Eric, knowing what he is able to do from LSU, he come in here ready to play. We’re showing the older guys that we’re ready to play.”