49ers 'Takeaway Thursdays' an emphasis on forcing turnovers

Getty Images File Photo49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman

The 49ers have only played one game and already there’s a controversy in the locker room. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman said on “Takeaway Thursdays,” where the defense emphasizes interceptions and fumbles, that the defense can create seven or eight in one afternoon.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who just beat Steve Young’s record with 185 straight completions without an interception, said that might be an exaggeration. You could understand Smith’s defensiveness. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Thanksgiving night — a 16-6 loss at Baltimore.

Nevertheless, “Takeaway Thursdays” may be part of the reason why the 49ers were so stingy giving up the ball and so prolific at creating turnovers last year.

Their plus-28 turnover ratio was tops in the league and ranked tied for second in league history. So far this season, the 49ers are plus-1 in turnover ratio. Bowman’s fourth-quarter interception of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the turning point in the 49ers’ 30-22 win.

Meanwhile the offense is on a streak of 26 straight quarters without a turnover.

“There’s a lot of different statistics and they all have different correlations to winning,” Smith said. “In the history of the NFL, the strongest correlation to winning and losing is the turnover ratio.”

Bottom line? The 49ers are fine with bickering about the number of turnovers created on “Takeaway Thursday” because it seems to make a impact on Sundays.

NOTES: Receiver and punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) missed Thursday’s practice, meaning he’s likely out for Sunday night’s game. … Running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) has missed the past two days of practice and probably won’t play against the Lions. … Bowman (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday and should be ready for Sunday night. … Punter Andy Lee’s right thumb is black and blue and he’s wearing a brace. But Lee practiced Wednesday and Thursday. … Cornerback Carlos Rogers’ sack of Aaron Rodgers last Sunday was the first sack by a cornerback in the Jim Harbaugh/Vic Fangio era.

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