SANTA CLARA, CA – Nick Bosa remained on the turf with the wind knocked out of him after beating yet another offensive lineman for a sack when the appreciative San Francisco 49ers fans started chanting his name.
Bosa hopped up, jogged off the field and then quickly got back to doing what he's done for his entire rookie season by harassing quarterbacks and spoiling game plans for offenses around the league.
There are plenty of reasons for the remarkable turnaround in San Francisco that has the 49ers (14-3) ready to host the Green Bay Packers (14-3) in the NFC championship game on Sunday after winning only 10 games in the first two seasons under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.
There's been a healthy season for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, innovative play-calling from Shanahan, physical dominance from All-Pro tight end George Kittle and a throwback season from shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman.
But perhaps no one has had a bigger impact than Bosa, a rookie who already has the physical tools and techniques of a player far more experienced.
"It was kind of shocking how silly he was able to make a lot of talented tackles look early, myself included," veteran left tackle Joe Staley said Wednesday. "Now it's just who he is and is what we expect now."
Bosa was born for this role as a disruptive defensive end. His father, John, was a first-round pick by Miami in 1987 who played three seasons in the NFL.
His older brother Joey was drafted third overall by the Chargers in 2016 before winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and recording 40 sacks in his first four seasons.