SANTA CLARA -- Levi's Stadium erupted when Nick Bosa sacked Kirk Cousins in the fourth quarter of Saturday's NFC Divisional Playoff. The 49ers were up three scores and victory over the Minnesota Vikings was inevitable, and moments of dominance gave a raucous crowd reason to party.
But after a few beats of unbridled joy, decibels started to drop as the 71,649 on hand turned their attention back to the field.
Bosa was still down.
The No. 2 overall pick and clear-cut defensive rookie of the year was wincing in pain, grabbing his abdominal area as 49ers trainers huddled around him. This was bad news, especially for an edge rusher who lost his last collegiate season to a core muscle injury.
Seconds moved a little slower in those moments, where fingers crossed in hope of good news. A massive crowd grew deathly quiet until a two-syllable chant broke the silence.
Bo-sa! BO-sa! BO-SA! BO-SA!
Fans were willing him to get up and be OK. Bosa stayed down an extra beat and then two, waiting for the wind knocked out of him to re-enter his lungs. Then, he uttered a phrase caught by TV cameras the crowd longed to hear.
Maybe he milked the moment. He'll never tell.
Bosa was eventually helped to his feet and then expressed that sentiment to those in attendance, pointing a finger to the sky while strutting like a professional wrestler who just came off the top rope.
"I was just trying to get my breath back initially, and they told me to stay down for a second," Bosa said. "Then I heard the chants. I had to get up then. It was a really cool moment, though."
Bosa provided plenty of cool moments in a 27-10 victory over the Vikings that vaulted the 49ers into the NFC Championship Game.
He had six tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and a pass defensed, but there was one play against the run that told his teammates he was locked in.
"There was a play to [my] side and I was going to make the tackle and then Nick came flying in," linebacker Dre Greenlaw said. "He was the right end and he came all the way from the left to make the play. I knew then that he was out there hunting."
Bosa came on big on a grand stage in a do-or-die moment with the NFL world watching. That didn't make him nervous. Having his older brother and dominant LA Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa in the house certainly did.
"That honestly gave me some nerves," Nick Bosa said. "It was cool having him on the sideline. I don't even know if he's made a college game with his schedule. So just having him there, knowing the family was up in the box watching, waiting for me outside, it's awesome."
Little brother made the family proud on this day with hustle and production at key moments that simply shut the Vikings attack down. The 49ers never stopped attacking. Their defense shut down premier rusher Dalvin Cook and sacked Cousins six times. Outside an early 41-yard touchdown strike to Stefon Diggs, the 49ers allowed just 2.4 yards per play. They harassed the Vikings from opening kickoff to final whistle, enjoying every second in between.
"That's one of [defensive line coach] Kris [Kocurek's] things, put the foot on the throat and twist it," Bosa said. "When you have somebody down, you definitely don't want to let up."
Nick Bosa survives injury scare, dominates in big 49ers' playoff win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area