San Francisco 49ers

49ers notes: Defense will have its hands full with Packers’ Rodgers

The 49ers will head to Green Bay, Wis., 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 against the 49ers 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 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 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 was good for two this season.

Bowman intercepted Palmer on the Cardinals’ second drive, setting up San Francisco’s first touchdown. Bowman added a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a sack – the 49ers’ only one – and led all tacklers with 10.

All of which begs the question: Is Bowman worthy of the Defensive Player of the Year honor?

“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,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “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 pass – 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 2 of 8 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 entered the game with one catch for 3 yards this season.

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