Big-play NaVorro Bowman Leads 49ers in Arizona

NaVorro Bowman continues to be in the right place at the right time.

But this is no fluke.

Bowman again credited his film study – in addition to his athleticism – for creating two crucial turnovers in his 49ers 23-20, Week 17 victory in Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm blessed," Bowman said, adding, "I'm doing something right during the week of practice."

**PHOTO GALLERY: 49ers vs. Cardinals


The Defensive Player of the Year candidate intercepted Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer during his second series of the game. Palmer was seeking wideout Michael Floyd over the middle when Bowman, who made a few headlines in Week 16 with his game-winning pick-six, snatched it out of the air.

"That's all that was, knowing what Carson likes to look at, how he moves and where he throws the ball," Bowman said.

The turnover gave San Francisco the ball at Arizona's 22-yard line, setting up a four-yard touchdown connection between Colin Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin.

With the pick, Bowman set a single-season career high, with two.

The fourth-year pro would also create a new personal best on another play in the third quarter. Aided by defensive tackle Justin Smith, who helped bring down Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall, Bowman stripped Mendenall and recovered the ball.

The 49ers didn't turn this change of possession into points, but it allowed them to flip the field versus a momentum-building Cards offense.

Bowman finished the regular season with a new career-high four forced fumbles, plus two recoveries.

He became just the second player in the NFL this season (and the first 49ers defender since 2009) to record a pick, forced fumble and fumble recovery in one game. Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman accomplished this feat in Week 16.

Oh, and with 10 more tackles including a fourth-quarter sack on Sunday, he'll also end the 2013 campaign among the NFC's top three leading tacklers.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection was asked again postgame whether he believed he should be in the conversation over the award for the league's top defensive player.

Well, does he?

"It's the last game of the season, so I'm going to say, Yes," he said, smiling. "Me and Pat (Willis), we work so hard to be the best and lead our team. I think that's what you want in the defensive player of the year. That's why I think I deserve it."


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