MNF Review: Football speed
December, 24, 2013
By Steve Muench | ESPN.com
If the 49ers don't host a playoff game and Monday night marked the end of the Candlestick era, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate ending than a dramatic win that put them into the playoffs. Here are a couple of things that came to mind watching the Monday night finale.
Inside linebacker Patrick Willis has been slowed by injuries and his production has suffered because of it, but he's still one of the best in the league, and he turned in his best performance of the year when his team needed it most, racking up 15 solo tackles.
We gave Willis a 95 coming out of Ole Miss and thought highly of San Francisco taking him with the 11th overall pick in 2007. He was an instinctive run defender who located the ball quickly, took sound angles and tackled well. While he didn't show the same kind of awareness in coverage as Carolina inside linebacker Luke Kuechly did coming out of Boston College, Willis clearly had the tools to be an every down linebacker in the NFL.