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Monday, November 10, 2014

Chris Borland named Defensive Player of the Week by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King





From Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback"

November 10, 2014


The Niners save their season, and need to play more like Chris Borland. “Just a little dumb luck,” said linebacker Chris Borland, after he recovered a fumble in overtime and Phil Dawson followed with a game-winning field goal in New Orleans. There’s some truth to what Borland says, but to see how he attacked the loose ball, swan-diving in from five feet away, no regard for his own health, is a good lesson for the seasoned pros on the Niners who might not be playing the same sense of desperation. “I didn’t give it a lot of thought,” Borland said. “I just reacted. That’s the game right there, that ball on the ground.” San Francisco now faces a clear path to the playoffs, with games against the Giants, Washington and Seattle (Thanksgiving Night) in the next 18 days. Pass-rusher Aldon Smith returns from his suspension Sunday in New Jersey, and his fresh legs are needed.

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Defensive Players of the Week

I lied when I promised I’d only give a max of two awards in any category. I cannot whittle down the defensive men from Week 10.

Jaiquawn Jarrett, safety, New York Jets. The first of the anonymous Defensive Players of the Week, Jarrett came to the Jets in 2013, originally drafted by the Eagles in 2011 out of Temple. And Sunday, he had the best game of his short career—and one of the best games by any defensive player in the league this year. Ten tackles, a sack of Ben Roethlisberger, two interceptions of Roethlisberger, and a forced fumble. Jarrett was huge in a game where the Jets needed a great defensive day.

Ron Parker, cornerback, Kansas City. Two very big reasons I’m giving this to the unknown cornerback from tiny Newberry (S.C.) College. Buffalo was driving to take a 17-3 lead on the first series of the third quarter, and Parker forced a Bryce Brown fumble that bounced out of the end zone for a touchback. Huge play. Also, on the last Buffalo series of the day, the Bills trailing 17-13, Kyle Orton got the Bills to the Chiefs’ 15-yard line, with 2:47 to play. Plenty of time. Momentum in Buffalo’s favor. On first, third and fourth downs, Parker was the man in coverage who prevented a completion. He had a team-high eight tackles, but those four plays were the biggest of his day.

Chris Borland, linebacker, San Francisco. Well, he did recover the Ahmad Brooks strip of Drew Brees in overtime at the Saints’ 17, and the Niners kicked the winning field goal on the next play. But that was just the cherry on the sundae. Borland had 17 tackles in the 27-24 win over the Saints, on the heels of his 18-tackle day against St. Louis last week. Not bad for a rookie. Not bad for Niners GM Trent Baalke, who used the 77th pick in the draft on him last May and is getting one of the bargain rookies of the season.

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