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December 29, 2013
49ers notes: Carlos Rogers nicked; Staley's snag; Bowman DPOY?

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The 49ers will head to Green Bay to face Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after giving up big chunks of passing yards in their last two games. The 49ers allowed Atlanta's Matt Ryan to throw for 348 yards a week ago, which at that point was the most they had given up during the season. Arizona's Carson Palmer topped that on Sunday with 407 yards.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers said the last two weeks have been a "good primer" but that Rodgers, who had 333 yards in Week 1, will be a bigger challenge.

"With an MVP quarterback throwing the ball to the guys - he's back," Rogers said. "They've got some other guys back. Their running game has picked up. That's one thing that they didn't really have before, so we focused more on the pass."

Another possible issue: Rogers ended the game on the team's bench after injuring his hamstring on Arizona's final drive. Rogers said he didn't think the injury was serious, but he also said he's never had a hamstring strain before and will have an MRI on it today. "It's not hurting me," he said. "We'll see. Hopefully it's not that bad."

When Rogers was out, Eric Wright filled in at nickel cornerback. For most of the afternoon, Rogers was matched against Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, who finished with 113 receiving yards.

Take a bow, NaVorro - After his game-sealing interception a week ago, linebacker NaVorro Bowman said he was good for one of those per season. As it turns out, he's good for two.

Bowman intercepted Palmer on the Cardinals' second offensive drive, setting up San Francisco's first touchdown. He also added a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a sack - the 49ers' only one on the afternoon - and led all tacklers with 10 stops.

All of which begs the question, is Bowman worthy of defensive-player-of-the-year honors? "It's the last game of the season, so I'm going to say, yes," Bowman said. "The reason why is that me and Pat (Willis) - we do so much and work so hard to be the best and lead our team. That's all we've been doing, and I just think that's what you want in a defensive player of the year. So that's why I think I deserve it."

Staley snags one - Left tackle Joe Staley, who began his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end, got to show off his soft hands in the second quarter when he caught an outlet pass for 14 yards and a first down.

"That was nice," Jim Harbaugh said afterward. "We've been working on that for several weeks and called it at a very nice time. Joe has been good on those in the past, and he came through again."

Indeed, it wasn't Staley's first time with the ball in his hands. He caught a 17-yard reception - for another first down - in 2011. "We have a lot of plays in our offense, different stuff that's in it," Staley said. "We rep it for a long time and pick a good opportunity to run it. We were able to do that and keep them off balance early."

Et cetera - Harbaugh's woeful record on replay challenges this season got a little worse when he unsuccessfully asked the officials to review the spot of the ball on Anthony Dixon's fourth-down carry in the third quarter. The 49ers are just two of eight on replay challenges this season.

* Phil Dawson's franchise-record streak of successful field goals ended at 27. Dawson missed a 24-yard attempt wide left at the end of the first half.

* Dixon started the game at fullback and finished with two catches for 27 yards. He went into the game with one catch for three yards on the season.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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