49ers Blog and Q&A

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October 30, 2011
Halloween special: Ahmad Brooks, the helmetless horseman

SAN FRANCISCO - What's manlier than blowing past a 325-pound offensive tackle and sacking the opposing quarterback? Blowing past the offensive lineman and getting the sack without your helmet on. That's what outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks did on the second snap of the game Sunday, and he has the bloody lip to prove it.


Brooks got around right tackle Tony Pashos, who played for the 49ers in 2009. But as he moved past Pashos, the offensive lineman tore off Brooks' helmet. Brooks continued on and crashed into quarterback Colt McCoy just as defensive end Justin Smith was zeroing in on McCoy from the other side.

The collision left Brooks bleeding from the lip and nose, and he admitted to being a little dazed. "I was bleeding and leaking as if I just got into a fight and lost," said Brooks. "But the good thing about it is I got a sack. It was well worth it."

Brooks said he initially didn't know he forced a fumble on the play. Isaac Sopoaga recovered the ball at the Cleveland 20-yard line, setting up the 49ers offense for its first score of the afternoon.

Brooks shooed away cameramen in the locker room after the game because he didn't want his bloody lip on camera. The wound, however, didn't seem to slow him down in the game. He had another sack in the third quarter, his fourth on the season. "Down after down, he's just giving everything he has," Jim Harbaugh said of Brooks. "Same with Justin Smith. ... You see them coming off the field and they're just pouring everything out of their bucket."

Receiver Braylon Edwards' first reception Sunday was a diving, stretching, acrobatic snag for eight yards in the first quarter. But Edwards said he knew his surgically repaired knee would be fine on an incompletion earlier in the game.

"I kind of got whacked on that play," he said. "And that was it. I ran a route full speed, I planted on the right leg, got whacked, got up and everything was cool. And I said, 'Alright, let's go.'"

Edwards tore the meniscus in his right knee on Sept. 18, and he had surgery later that week. He didn't resume practicing until last week and was listed as questionable before the game. "I'd never done a meniscus, so was a little nervous," Edwards said. "There was some pain during the week, but that's only natural from what I heard. But after the first play, it kind of went away."

The Browns chose Edwards with the third pick of the draft in 2005. He had four catches for 42 yards against his former team. Quarterback Alex Smith, who finished 15-24 for 177 yards, noted that Edwards remained in Santa Clara during the team's bye week to rehabilitate his knee and to catch passes with Smith.

"He put in a lot of time, and even through his injuries continued to put in the time mentally," Edwards. "He never missed any meetings or anything like that. ... It was great to have him back."

Et cetera - Left defensive end Ray McDonald left the game after straining his left hamstring in the second quarter. Ricky Jean Francois filled in in the second half. McDonald's injury is not believed to be serious. Vernon Davis (arm) and Bruce Miller (thumb) did not leave the game.

* Chris Ogbonnaya took over tailback duties for Cleveland after starter Montario Hardesty left the game with a calf injury. Ogbonnaya finished with 37 yards, which increased the 49ers streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 29 games.

* Joe Staley's 17-yard reception in the first quarter ties guard Guy McIntyre for the longest catch by an offensive linemen in franchise history.

* Smith's two-yard pass to Michael Crabtree in the second quarter was just the third touchdown catch by a 49ers wide receiver this season. Kyle Williams and Joshua Morgan have the others.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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