Despite rough return, CB Tramaine Brock key to 49ers secondary

Tramaine Brock suffered a painful toe injury in the San Francisco 49ers' season-opening victory at the Dallas Cowboys Sept. 7.

The starting cornerback did not play again until this past Sunday night. Against the Denver Broncos. And Peyton Manning.

It did not seem fair, did it? Yet that is life in the NFL, and Brock was not decrying his lot after being victimized by Manning on his record-setting night. Besides, with the Niners using their bye week to get healthy, both physically and mentally after the 42-17 loss in Denver in which the 49ers were reduced to having just three healthy cornerbacks, Brock is a huge key in the secondary going forward.

“We just still have to execute,” Brock said after the game. “It wasn’t about me being hurt or not. We still have to go out there and make plays.

“I didn’t feel it in the game.”

Rather, Manning was the one feeling it.

Brock, who was thrust into the lineup with Chris Culliver's strained hamstring knocking him out, allowed six receptions on six targets, per Pro Football Focus, for 126 yards and two Manning touchdown passes.

He was given a minus-2.8 coverage grade by PFF.

But none of that matters going forward. Not with a banged-up secondary -- besides Culliver sitting out Sunday, rookie defensive back Jimmie Ward's quadricep left him inactive and Chris Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter -- needing more than warm bodies and Brock healing up.

“We just have to keep our heads up now and ... get ready for the bye week,” Brock said, “and finish the season strong.”