After Michael Wilhoite went down with an ankle injury in Week 13, Gerald Hodges played admirably as he stepped into the San Francisco 49ers defensive lineup next to a fellow Penn State linebacker.
Hodges, who was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 6, played 65 snaps next to NaVorro Bowman in a 26-20 overtime win over the Chicago Bears.
Hodges recorded six tackles, inclduing a tackle-for-loss.
"It was great," the third-year pro said after the game. "The coaches, guys like NaVorro and Wilhoite make it easy for times like that to come up. They make you comfortable with going right in because the way they explain things and the way they help you out. They make sure the younger guys are prepared for everything."
Go where the television cameras can't and view the team preparing for and celebrating its victory at Solider Field.
Wilhoite was listed as probable to play against the Bears due to an injured ankle. A quarter into the game, the starting linebacker was forced to leave the contest and go into the locker room with an injured ankle. Wilhoite had an MRI on Monday.
If he's unable to play against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, the 49ers saw a glimpse of what his replacement, Hodges, could do next to Bowman.
Hodges said it was a "blessing" to play alongside Bowman, a player he teamed with for the Nittany Lions as a true freshman in 2009.
Both linebackers combined to make 20 of San Francisco's 68 defensive stops against Chicago.
Hodges had been playing in spurts in recent weeks, all the while, he never lost track of preparing for each opportunity to play.
On Sunday, Hodges' readiness was evident.
"I felt very comfortable out there," said the linebacker who recorded 20 tackles in four starts for the Vikings this season prior to his Bay Area arrival. "When you get in there, it's just like the last time you were playing ball."
Hodges' role, along with Wilhoite's MRI results will be one of many storylines to track heading into Sunday's matchup with the Browns.
For now, Hodges can reflect on the positive impact he made in his first considerable action in a 49ers uniform.
To Hodges, the final score was the most pleasing aspect of the walk-off win in the "Windy City."
"At the end of the day, it's such a blessing to have a team that is going to keep fighting," Hodges said. "When you look at our record, you look at what's going on around here with injuries, it's a great feeling to have a team and coaches with fight in them and keep going.
"When you have a team that has a faith in each other, that's the result."