Tuesday, December 28, 2010
NFC West Pro Bowl analysis
By Mike Sando
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Perfect sense: The San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis played at a high level again this season. He dominated against St. Louis with the 49ers' season on the line Sunday. Willis' fumble-forcing sack stopped the Rams at the San Francisco 10-yard line when the game was in danger of slipping away from the 49ers. Teammate Justin Smith made it on the defensive line. He seemed to improve as the season progressed. The St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson made it despite a 3.7-yard average. He's the heart of the Rams and a player whose impact goes far beyond the numbers. He ranks third in rushing yardage among NFC players. He's a legitimate choice.
Made it on rep: The Arizona Cardinals' Adrian Wilson began the season with a memorable performance at St. Louis, but this hasn't been a strong season for him overall. Wilson has struggled in coverage against tight ends. He hasn't made as many impact plays. Wilson has even publicly criticized his own play, saying it cannot be sugar-coated. There have probably been years when Wilson deserved to go and did not, however.
Got robbed: I have no idea how the Atlanta Falcons' Tony Gonzalez beat out the 49ers' Vernon Davis. Gonzalez averages 9.4 yards per catch. Davis averages 15.4 and has more touchdowns. Ask any defensive player which tight end they would rather cover and Gonzalez's name would come up every time. On special teams, it's tough to argue with Chicago's Devin Hester as the return specialist, but Seattle's Leon Washington has just as many return touchdowns (three on kickoffs, compared to three for Hester on punts). Washington would have scored on a punt return, too, if he hadn't been showboating. "Robbed" is too strong of a word, but Washington deserved strong consideration.
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