Patrick Willis is not a perfect player. There is no such thing as a perfect player. Some players can get close though, and it is those players that radiate true greatness. Willis is one of those players. Against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Willis was not perfect. But he was pretty darn great.
I went on a gif-making spree this week and decided I may as well get a good look at a play in which Willis is really good -- and one in which Willis is not so good. Why show only the good or only the bad?
Former San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker had a so-so game. He had a touchdown in garbage time, which is good for him I suppose, but really, he only had one solid catch outside of that. That catch was in one-on-one coverage against Willis, who was excited about the matchup in the lead-up to the game.
So below, we've got a gif of Willis surrendering a big reception:
As you can see, Walker just beats him. Willis is kind of interrupted by the other players crossing by him, but Walker has a step on him regardless. In true Willis fashion, though, he sticks with his man and makes a form-perfect tackle. It is what it is.
And then we get something really awesome like the next play. Willis has always been amazing at angles and closing in on the football, and there isn't a better example of that than the play below. It's an extended play in which Willis sniffs out a potential big gain and wraps up the back before any real damage can be done:
The caption on the gif is pretty much how I feel about Willis all the time: he's pretty darn good at this football thing. Once he commits to pursuing the back, which comes precisely at the moment that Jake Locker decides he's going to throw to him, he's up to full speed and there is no chance of the play going anywhere. If Willis doesn't make that tackle, it's a first down instead of third down.
I'll take the firs gif happening once or twice per game if it means the second gif continues to happen. What say you?