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Niners' NaVorro Bowman dominant in extended action

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Most NFL stars gladly grab pine during the preseason once their allotted snap count is reached. Coming off a missed season due to an ACL tear, San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman rejected his seat on the bench.

Entering Saturday night's 19-12 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Niners had Bowman slated for about 10 plays. Instead, he played the entire first half -- more than 40 snaps.

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"Because I'm going to have to (play more than 10 snaps) in about two weeks," he said, via CSN Bay Area. "So I just wanted to see if the knee could stay loose, stay ready coming out after three-and-outs and different series, and things like that. And it responded well."

After making three tackles in his only three snaps last week during his first game-action in 19 months, Bowman was all over the field Saturday, making some bone-crushing plays.

The linebacker recorded a game-high nine tackles and two sacks. In one five-play stretch, Bowman, playing without a knee brace, sacked Peyton Manning twice and added two more tackles.

The 2013 Defensive Player of the Year candidate even impressed his opponents.

"Yeah, they're letting me know that I'm playing well and I'm a heck of a player," Bowman said. "Nobody knows what I feel and how I feel, and I hold myself at a very high level. All those things are great. But until I please NaVorro, I'll keep working."

Ok, Mr. Bowman, we'll bite: what do you need to improve?

"I know me," he said. "There are some plays that I could've made that you guys probably wouldn't think I could make. That's what I mean, just selling out all the way and not thinking about it. I'll do that when the time comes."

Bowman's fantastic return to form has somehow flown mostly under the national radar. The sideline-to-sideline tackling machine looks like he has returned to the DPOY candidate form he was prior to the injury.

After all the offseason departures, including linebackers Chris Borland and Patrick Willis retiring, Bowman looks like a man who decided: 'No, worries, I got this myself.'

The 49ers went through a tumultuous offseason. Seeing Bowman fly around the defense is a reminder everything isn't so bad.

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