NaVorro Bowman felt like he did all he could to break up the throw.
But the heart of the 49ers defense was left heartbroken after Larry Donnell came down with a late touchdown to send San Francisco home with a 30-27 loss on Sunday night.
"I thought I played it pretty good – just a great pass, great catch," Bowman said postgame.
With the 49ers leading by four points and less than 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Eli Manning lofted the ball over the middle of the field to his 6-foot-6 target, who snagged the pass at its highest point and controlled possession through the ground. The 12-yard score proved decisive for the New York Giants.
"I'll take that one," Bowman said. "I'll put that on me."
Despite the loss, San Francisco's fourth straight, Bowman was encouraged by the team's effort on the road in a hostile environment.
"I just see this team continuing to get better," Bowman said. "I don't think anything is out there that we should hang our heads about. I think we have a bright future with us being so young and having so much adversity so early in this thing.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we came out focused and we played all 60 minutes."
Although the 49ers are now 1-4 after five weeks, Bowman pointed to the team's forthcoming games against the NFC West as reason for optimism.
"We're 0-1 in the division, and we all know if we handle that, we have a shot," Bowman said. "It's about bouncing back from this one, understand where the mistakes were and seeing the bigger picture."