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Tramaine Brock’s Aggressive Style Pays Off

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Tramaine Brock will forever be known for his contributions to one of the greatest plays in Candlestick Park's history.

NaVorro Bowman is clearly the hero from Monday’s playoff-clinching win over the Atlanta Falcons.

But what about Tramaine Brock?

If anyone feels like the Rodney Dangerfield after the “Pick at The ‘Stick” play, it has to be the fourth-year cornerback. Internally, however, Brock has been getting tons of respect for his role in the game-changing and stadium-changing moment.

“It feels good to be a part of it,” said Brock, San Francisco’s team leader with five interceptions. “Whatever they want to call it, it doesn’t matter to me. We got the win, we’re playoff-bound. It helped the team out, so that’s what I try to go do with my play.”

Brock’s aggressive style of play was highlighted by Bowman’s interception. With the Falcons looking for a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Brock anticipated a quick slant and jumped all over the route.

“He didn’t really drop back, he just opened up and threw,” Brock said of Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan. “We had a lot of pressure, a lot of heat, so I knew it was coming out. 

“I just followed my instincts, played my technique.”

From there, Brock drove on the football intended for wide receiver Harry Douglas and was able to tip the ball into the air.

Bowman dropped back into coverage, saw the ball floating and swooped in to catch it.

The rest was history.

“Everybody on that play did their job exactly correct, all 11 guys,” Vic Fangio said of the “max zero" play call.

“And luckily it worked out. But, it just goes to show when you execute, all 11 guys doing the right thing at the right time with the right amount of energy, good things can happen. And everybody was right on point on that play. And it’s something that we don’t call very often, don’t practice very often, but it’s always on the plan every week and that was the time to use it.”

Fangio estimated the exact blitz had been used no more than three times on the year.

Bowman and Brock will be remembered most notably for their roles in the play, but the other nine defensive players were all crucial in that moment.

Rookie safety Eric Reid, for example, blitzed up over the center, forcing Ryan to throw the ball early.

“He was one of the 11 that were doing their jobs exactly correct and we got the desired result,” Fangio added. “Now, obviously to get a pick six is far-fetched, but we had a good down.”

San Francisco’s defense has benefited from Brock’s aggressive play in 2013. The physical defensive back hasn’t really been a surprise this year, according to Fangio. Brock has finally been able to take advantage of his chance to play.

When Tarell Brown suffered a rib injury against New Orleans, Brock stepped into the starting lineup and the 49ers have won five consecutive games with him as a starter.

“We always felt he had the ability,” Fangio said. “He just needed an opportunity one, and he needed to show it when he got his opportunity. And he’s done that.”

Brock has built a reputation for his physical tackles and ability to break on the football. Another thing Brock has done often is slamming his opponents to the ground.

“That’s the way I’ve always played coming out of college and in high school,” Brock said. “I try to follow it up right now... I don’t know where it comes from.”

San Francisco’s other big hitter in the secondary, strong safety Donte Whitner, said he’s a big fan of Brock’s intimidating hits.

“I like it,” Whitner said. “If anybody likes it, it's me.

“When you watch him, he's a guy that wants to be physical. He's not the biggest guy. He wants to get his hands on the football. He wants to be a play-maker. He wants to be physical and everybody feeds off of that also. So he's been playing great."

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