Manti Te’o played every defensive snap in the Chargers’ 38-35 come-from-behind win against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough to keep his opponent from dredging up the past.
49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis, back in the starting lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 16, took a jab at Te’o on the field:
“I asked Manti Teo about his imaginary Girlfriend last night and he snapped. lol I thought that was hilarious.”
Te’o, who gave a speech on the importance of family Friday night as part of coach Mike McCoy’s night-before-the-game tradition of having a different player speak each week, wasn’t fazed.
Manti Te’o had a team-high 11 tackles, including his first career sack, against the 49ers on Sunday.
“I got harassed a few times last year [on the field]. I expected that. But this year?” Te’o said, according to U-T San Diego. “I told him, ‘Find a new joke.'”
With inside linebacker Donald Butler placed on season-ending injured reserve last week because of a dislocated elbow, Te’o stepped in to fill the void, playing a career-high 72 snaps against the 49ers. He finished with a team-high 11 tackles and notched his first career sack.
“I think he’s really come on,” McCoy said, according to U-T San Diego. “He’s got a bright future for us. I think the more he plays, the more experience he has in the system, the better he’s going to be. It showed [Saturday] the way he’s learned the system and his ability to fly around and make some big plays for us.”
The Chargers rallied from a 21-point deficit to tie the game in the final minute, and Nick Novak’s overtime field goal helped keep San Diego’s slim playoff chances alive. The 49ers already have been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Chargers (9-6), currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race, can clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs (8-7).