SANTA CLARA – Rookie linebacker Chris Borland accounted for 18 tackles, the most from any NFL player in a game this season.
But the St. Louis Rams managed to capitalize on his one glaring mistake while handing the 49ers a potential season-capsizing 13-10 loss on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
St. Louis quarterback Austin Davis found wide receiver Kenny Britt on a shallow crossing route late in the second quarter. Britt was wide open when he caught the pass, turned up the left sideline and scored on the 21-yard catch-and-run.
It was the Rams' only touchdown of the game.
Borland was guilty of a blown assignment, he admitted.
“They ran vertical routes to my right and a drag to my left, and I thought I had help, but I should have known I didn’t to the outside, so the drag, I should have covered it,” Borland said.
“That’s our assignment, and I should have played better.”
Borland made his second consecutive start in place of seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, who sat out Sunday’s game with a toe injury.
Willis worked out prior to the game but was announced as one of the 49ers’ seven inactive players.
As well as Borland played through most of the game, including three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, it was difficult for him to be satisfied.
“It’s hard to feel better after this game,” he said. “I think personally I played better and our defense played better overall, but just a sour taste in my mouth.”