San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is ... really good. He can do so many things at such a high level that he is easily the best linebacker in the NFL. The only reason there is even an inkling of a debate is because NaVorro Bowman is so good as well.
But along with his stellar play in the passing game, along with taking some of the best angles in the game, along with having some of the best play recognition and closing speed out there, there is one thing I think Willis does very well: club the football out of the hands of wide receivers.
I remember when Willis first injured his hand and he played with a cast alongside Takeo Spikes, and used it as a club. Ever since then he's become very good at swinging his arm around and knocking the football loose. He did itagainst the Arizona Cardinals, forcing Larry Fitzgerald to cough it up, of all people.
He did it again on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Willis forced a fumble that was recovered by Dan Skuta for a touchdown. We've got a gif of that full play below (with some extra green, I guess):
Now, that play was awesome. It didn't necessarily cause a momentum shift or anything like that. The 49ers were already winning, but there's few things as exciting as a loose ball and a defensive touchdown in the NFL. That play doesn't happen if Willis doesn't swing his right arm inside to knock the ball loose. He's just so good at doing it. I'm lacking in technical commentary because I'm just so darn impressed by it.
There's another angle of the play shown, where you can see his right arm go out, but it doesn't exactly show the ball popping loose. Either way, I've provided it below. The thing that strikes me the most is the fact that Willis makes this clubbing motion so seamless with his tackles. Getting one arm around for the tackle and then swinging the other in to knock the football loose is totally natural to him.
There's not much else to say. Bask in more Willis awesomeness. It's coming to you on a weekly basis, ladies and gents. BASK!