Sunday wasn't the first time NaVorro Bowman showed out against the Atlanta Falcons. The linebacker's seven-tackle, one-sack performance marked the latest chapter in Bowman's history of standout performances against the NFC South foe.
The San Francisco 49ers emerged victorious, 17-16, and the linebacker looked as fast as he's been all season.
"It was fun," said a smiling Bowman. "I always look forward to playing them."
Bowman admitted after the game that "the corner is being turned" in regards to his knee and it showed on the field. The linebacker was active all game long, chasing ball-carriers and pass-catchers from sideline to sideline.
The linebacker said his knee is feeling better each and every morning he wakes up.
"It's getting there," Bowman said. "That's what I want to keep hearing, that I'm starting to look like the normal me. I told you guys it was going to be a process, it wasn't going to happen overnight. I'm pleased with the progress that I've made so far. There's still more out there for me to do. I plan on continuing to work towards that."
Bowman highlighted a defense that was stout against a potent Falcons offense.
Devonta Freeman, the NFL's leading rusher, was held to just 12 yards on 12 carries.
Julio Jones had 137 yards receiving, but 54 of them came on one play and the receiver was targeted 17 times.
It was San Francisco's youth that helped carry the load. Rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt had two passes defended and laid a bone-crushing hit on Jones in the second half. Second-year defensive back Jimmie Ward had six tackles and accounted for numerous third-down stops. Marcus Cromartie tied for the team lead with seven tackles and did an admirable job of covering Jones. Dontae Johnson added two pass breakups. Cornerback Chris Davis also played a significant role despite being signed to the roster earlier in the week.
The list goes on and on of players deserving their share of the credit. Bowman was proud of what the secondary was able to accomplish on Sunday.
"You either go backwards or forwards," Bowman said. "The guys we have in are young, but as long as they're trying to get better and go forward, we're going to continue to get better."
San Francisco's defense pressured the Falcons heavily up the middle, hitting Matt Ryan seven times and sacking him twice.
As for holding Freeman to just a dozen yards on the ground, Bowman gave all that credit to the defensive line.
"They played a heck of a game today," Bowman said. "Without them, me, Mike (Wilhoite) and the DBs wouldn't have been able to make the plays we made today."
Bowman said that everyone was buzzing following the win, coaches and players alike. The win certainly serves as a morale boost to begin the second half of the season and provides the team with some momentum before a road game in Week 11 against the Seattle Seahawks.
"I wanted to go into this bye week feeling like I left it all on the field, understanding that we have a week off," Bowman said. "With Blaine (Gabbert) coming in, I wanted to see if we could get the morale back and see if we can get it going after the bye week.
"We showed that we can be a good team and can play great."