SALT LAKE CITY — Linebacker Fred Warner scored touchdowns twice during his BYU career.
He added a touchdown at the pro level Saturday, and the play helped the San Francisco 49ers stay in the chase for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed.
Former BYU Cougars linebacker Fred Warner is ripping it up in San Francisco
Just before halftime, Warner stepped in front of the intended receiver — running back Malcom Brown — and intercepted a Jared Goff pass, then returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.
That gave the 49ers their first lead in a game they trailed 14-3 and 21-10 early before rallying for a 34-31 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“Do your job, that’s all that was. Man coverage, I got the back. I hung up, and he threw it to me, that’s it,” Warner said during the NFL Network postgame show.
The second-year linebacker had another solid game, finishing with 11 tackles (eight solo) and a pass deflection as San Francisco improved to 12-3 on the year.
“Fred makes a huge play — pick-six, the first pick of his career. It’s a pick-six in a big game,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said in his postgame presser.
#NinerGang that’s how we do. @fred_warner pic.twitter.com/pGIlpKOkTp
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 22, 2019
Sherman was impressed with the performances of his teammates across the board in a critical late-season game.
“That’s something you appreciate, you appreciate guys understanding the moment and not panicking. They’re playing great football, and they’re stepping up to the challenge,” he said.
With the win, the 49ers set up a scenario where a victory over Seattle in next week’s regular-season finale would give San Francisco the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“I think it’s safe to say when this coaching staff took over, this is exactly the moment that they dreamed of,” Warner said. “This couldn’t be a better position that we’ve been put in and all we’ve got to do is go get it now. It’s all on us.”
The Seahawks will host the 49ers at CenturyLink Field next Sunday, Dec. 29, at 2:25 p.m. MST. Seattle beat San Francisco 27-24 in their first matchup this season.
“We’ve got eight days to get ready. It’s going to a hostile environment. I can’t wait,” Warner said.
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