Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Four NFC players of the week in eight days
By Mike Sando
The NFC West has produced two of three NFC players of the week -- again.
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald (offense) and Seattle's Chris Clemons (defense) won last week.
St. Louis' Greg Zuerlein (special teams) and San Francisco's Patrick Willis (defense) were winners coming out of Week 4.
We've discussed how Zuerlein's range on field goals has helped get the Rams to 2-2.
As for Willis, he's been great for a long time. Quite a few 49ers players could have qualified for consideration following the team's 34-0 victory over the New York Jets.
Willis finished the game Sunday with 10 tackles, one interception and two passes defensed. The Jets finished with 145 yards. As the NFL noted, Willis made six of his tackles within a yard of the line of scrimmage. He won the award last season as well.
Coach Jim Harbaugh, asked about how well the 49ers' offensive line played, spoke about the defense.
"That was a gem that our defense turned in, both players and coaches, every guy playing within the framework of the defense," Harbaugh said. "Really playing their ace that they had individually as players. Hustle all-out play. Hard, rough tackling. Specific guys to a man defensively did a great job. And also Vic Fangio, I thought he called a tremendous game.
"And then had our guys prepared for almost every scenario. The pass that (Jets quarterback Tim) Tebow ran, the fake quarterback run, which could have been a designed run and then if he doesn’t get the run he pulls up and throws it to the tight end.
"Vic and the defensive coaches had covered that during the week even though the Jets had not shown that this year, or in previous years. Just great intuition and preparation on Vic and the defensive coaches’ part, as an example."