San Francisco 49ers rookie Chris Borland brought home an award for his Week 10 performance against the New Orleans Saints. A fan vote netted him the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award. He earned the nod thanks to an 11 solo tackle performance that included a key fumble recovery in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal. Tackle stats are not the easiest to come up with, as I have seen references to 11, 17 and 21 tackles. We don't need to see the tackle number to know that he had another big day.
The 49ers will be counting on Borland even more in the coming weeks with Patrick Willis on injured reserve, and NaVorro Bowman a huge question mark to return. Borland struggled in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos, but otherwise, he has played better than I think anybody could have expected. His coverage skills will be the thing to watch closest in coming weeks, but as a run stopper, you could make the argument he has been better than anybody in the NFL the last two weeks.
This weekend, the 49ers face a Giants squad that goes heavy with their 3+ WR sets, using them as much as 75 to 80 percent of the time. The 49ers will spend plenty of time in nickel, but it will be interesting to see how much they go to dime, and if so, who stays in the game between Borland and Wilhoite. The Giants welcome back Rashad Jennings, which will boost their run game, but it might not make a difference in terms of the Giants 3-WR sets. According to Pro Football Focus, during the games Jennings has been healthy, the Giants have gone 3+ WRs 80 percent of the time.
Borland will get plenty of snaps the rest of the season, and it will be interesting to see if he gets in the mix for any rookie of the year balloting. If he keeps up his current pace, he will at least be in the mix. C.J. Mosley would appear to be the front-runner for now, but a strong final seven weeks for Borland could make this very interesting.
On a related note....how about the 49ers 2014 draft class?