Cox quickly becoming a key member of 49ers D

49ers cornerback Perrish Cox has emerged from backup to a key player in the secondary after playing a large role in defending an explosive Eagles offense Sunday. Also, notes on injuries to Vernon and Anthony Davis and the first win inside Levi's Stadium.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Perrish Cox entered the season as the veteran among the 49ers' re-worked group of cornerbacks after bouncing around between Seattle and San Francisco in 2013.

And after another impressive performance Sunday, Cox might have a hard time relinquishing his starting job when Tramaine Brock returns from his toe injury that has kept out since the first quarter of the season opener.

"The only thing that has changed is that I am on the field," Cox said. "Coach always talks to me about staying ready. You never know when your time will come. I just want to make the most out of it when I get the chance."

Cox recovered a fumble and made a game-sealing interception in Sunday's win against the Eagles, all while shutting down Nick Foles' favorite target Jeremy Maclin for most of the game.

Maclin lined up on Cox's side of the field and caught just five passes on 16 targets, a week after registering a 154-yard performance and a touchdown against Washington.

The fourth-year corner was released by the 49ers last year before signing on with the Seahawks to appear in two games in December. He returned to San Francisco for the stretch run as a reserve and ended up playing the difficult nickel position in the playoffs when Carlos Rogers was out with a hamstring strain. He only allowed one catch in coverage against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the team's win in the Wild Card round.

Cox' third-quarter fumble recovery via Antoine Bethea's strip of tight end Zach Ertz led to San Francisco's crucial third-quarter touchdown when Colin Kaepernick hit Stevie Johnson from 12 yards out to make it a 21-20 game. Cox finished with a career-high four passes defended, including a near interception he caught along the sideline at the end of the first half, but he couldn't keep two feet in bounds.

"He's played at a high level," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He's got in there and done a really good job."

Coming in, Cox was Pro Football Focus' sixth-highest rated corner in the NFL having allowed quarterbacks a 44.4 passer rating when targeting him in coverage. He notched his second interception of the year on Philadelphia's final drive as time expired, giving him the team lead.

“Oh, man, P, he’s a great player," Bethea said. "Fortunately with the injuries, he’s been able to get on the field. And since he’s been able to get on the field, he’s been making plays."

Bethea and Cox collided when trying to make an interception of Jay Cutler in Week 2's loss to the Chicago Bears. Bethea was in position, but Cox attempted to make a play and the ball fell incomplete. Cox has been hearing about it from the veteran ever since.

"But I like that, though," Bethea said. "Two teammates going, fighting for the ball and they’re just trying to make plays. I appreciate his style of play, the way that he plays the game and hopefully we’ll just continue to do that throughout the year."

Cox was in a similar position Sunday on a deep ball from Foles that Bethea intercepted in the third quarter. This time he allowed his safety to make the play.

"I saw him at the last minute as I was about to go up for the ball," Cox said. "We'll share this one as a team."

San Francisco's defense didn't allow the Eagles an offensive touchdown Sunday, with their three scores coming via punt block, interception return and punt return.


Both tight end Vernon Davis and right tackle Anthony Davis left Sunday's game early with injuries and headed straight for the locker room. Neither returned.

Vernon Davis entered Sunday recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Bears that kept him out of last week's loss in Arizona. He said after the game he had back spasms and that X-rays were negative.

"I'll be good...I'll be fine," Davis said. Davis will get treatment this week and hope to play next week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Prior to Sunday, the 49ers were 0-5 in games Davis either left with injury or didn't play in dating back to last season.

Anthony Davis left the locker room with a crutch under his left arm while both his left knee and ankle were heavily wrapped. Jim Harbaugh did not have an update on his condition after the game. Davis hit the turf hard when Colin Kaepernick was sacked into Davis' leg at the end of the first quarter.

Sunday's game was his first of the season after being sidelined by a hamstring strain during the first three weeks. Jonathan Martin took over for Davis at right tackle, where he played while Davis was out.


After a disappointing loss in Week 2 to open their new digs, the 49ers got their first win inside Levi's Stadium Sunday.

Harbaugh said, "It was noisy today right from the beginning. I thought our crowd did a great job and it feels good. It feels good we got a win for them."

Added Kaepernick: "It’s a great atmosphere. I feel like it’s louder than Candlestick to be honest. The fans helped us being loud, rooting for us today the way they did. It’s great when you have that behind you."


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