By Ben Church, CNN
A protester met the full-force of NFL linebacker Bobby Wagner on Monday night as the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Los Angeles Rams.
At the end of the first half, a man ran onto the field at the Levi’s Stadium carrying a pink flare, temporarily halting play.
While he initially evaded the efforts of stewards trying to stop him, he made the mistake of running towards the Rams defensive bench.
Wagner and teammate Takkarist McKinley saw him coming and, as McKinley tried to grab hold of the protester, Wagner took him down.
Content with his intervention, the 32-year-old walked away as security escorted the man off the field.
“He looked like he wasn’t supposed to be on the field,” Wagner told reporters after the game. “I saw security was having a little problem — so I helped him out.”
NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning seemed to enjoy the takedown as they reacted on ESPN.
“That’s what we’re talking about. Wagner, a veteran. Get him down, now get out and let the guys takeover. Bobby Wagner, a veteran play,” Peyton laughed as he watched a replay of the incident.
Animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere took responsibility for the stunt, with the protester trying to raise awareness of ‘Right to Rescue,’ an affiliate organization that looks to “help the whistleblowers facing prison time for exposing factory farm abuses and rescuing suffering animals.”
Another protester also tried to disturb the game but appeared to be stopped early on.
Direct Action Everywhere posted a picture on Twitter of the two activists after they were released, adding that they were “a bit beaten up but in good spirits.”
It also said the man tackled by Wagner had a burn on his arm, presumably from the flare.
The 49ers went on to dominate the Rams behind a stout defense that had seven sacks and an interception, winning 24-9 to move to 2-2 on the season. The loss also drops the defending champion Rams to 2-2 on the year.
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