With Willis back, fresh look at 49ers' run 'D'

January, 1, 2012
1/01/12
12:16
PM ET
Marshawn Lynch recently ended the San Francisco 49ers' streaks for games without allowing a 100-yard rusher (36) or even a rushing touchdown (15).

Those streaks ended with one of the NFL's best defensive players, linebacker Patrick Willis, injured and unavailable to the 49ers.

The distinction is worth noting from a 49ers' perspective, in my view, because Willis is such a dominant player.

Green Bay's Ryan Grant remains the last running back to top 100 yards against the 49ers when Willis was playing. That was in November 2009. The St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson remains the last running back to score a rushing touchdown against a Willis-led 49ers defense. That was in Week 16 last season. Jackson is the last NFC West player to top 100 yards against the 49ers when Willis was playing.

Eleven players have rushed for at least 100 yards in a game since the 49ers drafted Willis in 2007. Lynch is the only one to have done it twice, once with Buffalo and again last week. Lynch's 134-yard game against the 49ers in 2008 stands as the second-highest individual rushing performance against the 49ers in the Willis era. Chris Johnson had 135 for Tennessee in 2009.

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