Could The Steelers Face The 49ers In A Few Weeks Minus Patrick Willis?

It is dangerous to look ahead and past the Cleveland Browns this week to see how some recent injury news might affect the Steelers down the road. Who am I kidding, we play the Browns this week. Sure we can look ahead.

The San Francisco 49ers took a pretty big hit to their defense this week as middle linebacker Patrick Willis reportedly suffered a Grade II hamstring strain this past Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Adam Schefter reported on ESPN that Willis “could miss a little time” with the injury. The 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals in week 13 and while his status is unclear right now for that game, it is very realistic that Willis could sit it out.

The 49ers clinched the NFC West this past weekend, but have not locked up anything more past that as they still are playing for some home field advantage and continue to chase the undefeated Green Packers for the best record in the NFC. Every game still remains important for them.

The Steelers travel out west two weeks from last night, and missing Willis would really help ease the task for the black and gold, as Willis is 6th in the NFL in solo tackles. His teammate, and fellow linebacker, Navorro Bowman leads the league with 86 and the two make one hell of a one-two punch. Willis is the leader of the 49ers defense and would likely be replaced by Larry Grant if he sits. Grant played well in relief of Willis this past Sunday, but he is not Willis.

The Steelers can speak from experience losing a linebacker to a hamstring injury as left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is still trying to get back to 100% since injuring his hamstring several weeks ago against the New England Patriots. Woodley was on a nice sack run before suffering the injury and was replaced by Jason Worilds while he was sidelined. Worilds managed just 1 sack in his 3 starts, and while he is progressing, he is still not the caliber of player that Woodley is just yet.

One defensive player certainly i snot the difference between winning and losing, but the 49ers will certainly miss Willis if he is down a while. This will certainly be a bigger story line heading into the game against the Steelers should the current status of Willis not change. I think the 49ers should do the smart thing and rest him. At least until after the Steelers leave town.

  • Linkinparkman

    Steelers fans should want to play the 49ers Defense…being relieved to play a 49ers defense without Willis is not a Superbowl mindset….

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is a lot going on here for San Fran when it comes to deciding whether to play Willis or rest him.

    First, I wonder who would hold the tiebreaker should GB somehow go 2-2 over the last 4 weeks and San Fran would go undefeated. If someone knows the answer to that, it will help this discussion, because if GB holds the tiebreaker if both teams are tied, then it would require 3 losses by GB for San Fran to have home field throughout the playoffs. That isn’t going to happen unless Rodgers gets hurt, and might not even happen then.

    Second, Dallas is not good enough to win out and take the #2 seed from SF. The chances of SF not winning another game and Dallas not losing another game with the Giants 2x yet on their schedule, makes the East a non-factor in the #2 seed for the NFC IMO.

    Third, that leaves 1 team with a chance to take the #2 seed…New Orleans. A loss to Pitt by SF puts them in a tie for the #2 seed. Who would hold the tiebreaker? None of the other games on either teams schedules LOOK like losses on paper. The question then becomes, who holds the tiebreaker. If it is NO, SF will pull out all the stops to win. If you add in the fact that SF’s coach can do his brother a favor by effectively eliminating Pitt from division competition, SF is going to be a really tough win. Thankfully we get an extended rest to prep, but that game more than any other will define our playoff seeding. Well, that and reliving that last minute TD given up against Balt. Man, that one may haunt me. If you reverse that conclusion, we are 10-2, Balt. is 8-4 and we are 1 or 2 wins or a win and Balt. loss from clinching the division title.

  • like the ratbirdsĀ“ SBs??
    and then lose the next week against the rams, no, ty