SANTA CLARA -- It was a difficult week for Kendrick Bourne, who earned a lot of respect from his 49ers teammates in the aftermath of making a critical mistake.
In the 49ers’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, everyone saw quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. What nobody knew until Bourne spoke up was that the quarterback wasn't responsible.
Bourne ran the wrong route, and Garoppolo threw the pass to where the receiver was supposed to be. Instead, the only person there was Vikings rookie cornerback Mike Hughes.
Despite Bourne's blunder, he received a lot of praise during the week for being a stand-up teammate.
“I heard that a lot this week,” Bourne said Sunday after the 49ers’ 30-27 victory over the Detroit Lions at Levi’s Stadium. “I’m glad I did that. Jimmy told me, ‘You don’t have to do that,’ and I said, ‘No, man, that was my fault.’ You know what I’m saying? That was my fault.”
This week, there was a better result when Garoppolo targeted Bourne.
Coach Kyle Shanahan installed a play this week in which the 49ers had five receivers on the field. Three were lined up on the right side in a bunch formation, and Dante Pettis lined up on the left side. Bourne was in the backfield, offset to the left.
Pettis ran a slant and had four Lions defenders around him, leaving Bourne to run a route out of the backfield. He was all alone to catch a 4-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo. It was Bourne's only reception of the game.
“It was designed to create confusion, and they couldn’t pick it up,” Bourne said. “That’s why I was so wide open."
The play resulted in the 49ers’ first touchdown after a failed red-zone opportunity at the end of their first drive of the game.
“It was good,” Garoppolo said. “K.B., the guy comes to work every day. He’s a grinder. I appreciate that. We had a good week of practice. We’ve been working on that play, and we got a good result out of it.”
Afterward, Garoppolo sought out Bourne on the sideline to compliment him on bouncing back to make a positive difference.
“That play was eating at me last week," Bourne said. "I just was just focused on my details this game. I wasn’t locked in for that one play last week, and it turned into a big play. So it was a wake-up call. You have to be on everything, because you never know when those plays are going to be called. I have to be on top of all of it.”