SANTA CLARA — Jeff Wilson Jr. did everything right until he didn’t.
With 2:50 remaining in the first quarter of the 49ers’ 26-23 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, Wilson — the 49ers’ undrafted rookie running back — took a handoff from quarterback Nick Mullens, found a hole, broke a tackle and ran for 14 yards.
So far, so good.
As Wilson ran upfield, he approached Seahawks strong safety Brad McDougald and had a sudden choice to make: run around McDougald, or run through him. Wilson picked Option B, because he’s a collision runner. That’s his nature.
When Wilson lowered his shoulder, McDougald ducked his head, hit the football with his helmet and caused a fumble, Wilson’s third of the past three games. The Seahawks recovered the ball.
“It’s like a dagger in the heart,” Wilson said, describing the feeling he gets when he puts the ball on the ground. “It hurts. As a running back, you know in this league there are so many guys who are right by each other as far as talent. So, (fumbling) like that can set you aside and be the difference between you and the next guy. When I (fumble), I am hurting myself and my teammates, and farther down the line in my career, that can be a downfall to me.”
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