Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis won week four’s NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Jets. Willis led the slaughter over the Jets on defense with a team-high ten tackles, two passes defensed and an interception in the shutout. Surprisingly, this is only the second time Willis has won the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in his five year career. The only other time he won the award was last season after his 18-tackle performance against the Buccaneers.
With the defenses performance last week there should have been competition from Carlos Rogers, who had two fumble receivers with one returned for a 51-yard TD, and Aldon Smith, who recorded two sacks and forced a fumble. However, neither was up for the honors Willis won.
I start by thanking my teammates. The front seven is unbelievable. I wouldn’t be half the guy I am without those guys.
It’s so true when Willis says he “wouldn’t be half the guy I am without those guys.” Compared to his first couple of seasons with the 49ers, he is now surrounded by an array of talent on the defensive line and linebackers. Opposing offenses would like to just focus on stopping Willis, but with players like NaVarro Bowman, who leads the 49ers with 54 tackles this season, and Aldon Smith they have to pick their battles.
The 49ers defense is led by Willis and he has guided the D this season to only allowing 277.3 total yards per game (3rd in NFL), 79.5 rushing yards per game (6th in NFL) and 197.8 passing yards per game (5th in NFL). With the first quarter of the 2012 regular-season in the books, Willis looks to be on his way to being selected for his sixth straight Pro Bowl and possibility his first NFL Defensive Player of the year award.
Willis on winning the award: