(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer NaVorro Bowman is no longer just San Francisco's other inside linebacker, or the inexperienced young guy. Teamed with Patrick Willis, he gives the 49ers one of the most feared linebacking tandems in the NFL.
Opposing offenses that try to focus Willis find they must also reckon with Bowman. The second-year pro out of Penn State has made huge strides for an attacking defense that is tops in the league at stopping the run and hasn't given up a rushing touchdown this season.
Bowman's rise as a replacement for the departed Takeo Spikes has meant so much for the playoff-bound 49ers (10-3). They've also gone 35 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. Bowman's team-leading 113 tackles are a significant jump from his 46 in 2010.
He loves working alongside Willis as part of one of football's best duos.
''It is a huge accomplishment, a huge title that we can run with, but we don't feed into those things,'' Bowman said. ''...