SANTA CLARA -– Linebacker NaVorro Bowman capped his comeback on Sunday by earning the distinction as the NFL's leading tackler for the first time in his career.
Bowman was credited with nine tackles, including two stops of losses, in the 49ers’ 19-16 overtime win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. He entered the day with a two-tackle lead on Indianapolis’ D’Qwell Jackson, who recorded seven tackles in his team's season finale.
Bowman, who was selected to the Pro Bowl last week, finished with a career-high 154 tackles in his first season back since sustaining a devastating knee injury in January 2014 in the NFC Championship game in Seattle. He missed the entire 2014 season due to the injury.
“It meant a lot to get out there and move the way I was moving prior to the injury,” Bowman said on Sunday, “and to receive the respect I received from the players throughout the league continued to motivate me and drive me.
“I didn’t get down on the missed tackles that I had. I had several missed tackles this year where I felt I could have made them but I didn’t. Guys were still pushing me and saying that I was doing a good job. All of those things continue to drive me to fight throughout the year.”
Bowman, who turns 28 in May, said he looks forward to taking another step forward in 2016 after playing in all 16 games and playing the vast majority of the 49ers’ defensive snaps this season.
”Probably since Week 8, I’ve put the pressure on myself to go into the offseason and get to the form that I once was at,” Bowman said. “This body will be put through a tremendous workout every single day (in the offseason).”