The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rookies Are Reason To Tune In On Sunday

John Crumpacker, San Francisco Chronicle

For the record, Adrian Peterson enjoys the scene from the original "Rocky" movie when Sylvester Stallone calls out to Talia Shire, "Yo, Adrian!"The 49ers would like to amend that famous line to "Yo, Adrian, you're not going anywhere today," but of course words never stopped a running back from gaining yards, least of all one as talented as Peterson. While the 49ers' season has long been a lost cause, they can at least offer up the compelling match-up of Patrick Willis and Peterson on Sunday when they play the Minnesota Vikings at Candlestick: Their brilliant rookie against the Vikings' brilliant rookie. Patrick the Ubiquitous versus Adrian the Unassailable.

It's the perfect encounter. There's Willis, a linebacker who is seemingly everywhere on the field, trying to stop Peterson, a running back who covers more ground than anyone in the NFL. Willis leads the NFL in tackles with 128, while Peterson leads the league in rushing with 1,197 yards."They will meet," coach Mike Nolan said. "It's one of the more interesting challenges of the game. It'll be fun." Peterson seems to think so as well. In a conference call Wednesday he said, "He's one of the best linebackers in the league. I'm definitely looking forward to going against him. ... I definitely like his fearless style of play."

Willis, however, did not allow himself to get caught up in the "Me versus Him" aspect of Sunday's game even though it's an easy theme to get behind with two rookies leading the league in their respective categories. Willis said he has the "same motivation I had for the last 13 weeks - go out and be the very best I can be on game day. Every week a running back is the best running back to me because he's the one we face. I don't put any more into it than I did last week." The 49ers' defense had better put more into it than it did last week when the Carolina Panthers ground out 166 yards. DeAngelo Williams (82 yards) and DeShaun Foster (58) may be solid professionals, but they're not in Peterson's league as a pure runner.

At 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, with Barry Sanders-like moves in a taller man's body, Peterson fairly defines what a running back should look like. Despite missing two games and a quarter of another with a knee injury, he still leads the league in rushing by more than 100 yards over Pittsburgh's Willie Parker. And his 6.5-yard average per carry is far and away the best figure in the NFL. With Peterson and the capable Chester Taylor (615 yards), the Vikings have the No. 1 rushing offense in the league at nearly 177 yards per game. San Francisco's run defense is 26th, which suggests Peterson will pad his league-leading total Sunday.

"It starts up front," defensive end Marques Douglas said. "We know the task is out there. They're the No. 1 rushing team. We have to swarm to the ball. We have to stop two explosive runners. Our job up front is to hold up the big guys (on the offensive line) so Patrick can run. When you look at the stats sheet and see a linebacker has 17, 18 tackles, you know you're doing your job." About those tackles of Willis, 18 against Arizona and 18 against Carolina, Peterson said, "He's a freak. ... That's not normal."

Willis and Peterson met while training at the API training center in Tempe, Ariz., prior to April's draft. The work there paid off for both young men as Peterson of Oklahoma went No. 7 in the first round to the Vikings while the 49ers summoned Willis of Mississippi at No. 11. They meet Sunday, an irresistible force (Peterson) trying to get away from an always-moving object(Willis)."He's fast for his position as a linebacker, but if you line us up, I think I can get him being a running back," Peterson said.

It's worth watching, that's for sure.

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