Willis leads 'unselfish' defensive effort

November 6, 2011, 11:00 pm
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LANDOVER, Md. -- The 49ers scored just one touchdown on Sunday, but their victory over the Washington Redskins never seemed in doubt.When kicker David Akers connected on a 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter, the 49ers felt as if they were well on their way to their sixth consecutive victory.The 49ers surrendered a late touchdown, but that was about the only thing the Redskins could get going in the 49ers' 19-11 victory at FedEx Field. The 49ers (7-1) took a five-game lead in the NFC West.

"When you practice hard and study hard, that's why we get the confidence that we can go out and shut an offense down," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. "We got a bunch of guys who come out and practice hard and play together. And when it's game time, it's fun. During the week, it's hard. We earn it during the week."Willis, a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first four NFL seasons, recorded a team-high 13 tackles and was credited with forcing two fumbles against the Redskins.The 49ers have forced 12 fumbles in eight games. It's the most the 49ers have generated since fumbles were first tracked as a statistic in 1992. The 49ers had a plus-two in the turnover department against Washington, as Donte Whiter and NaVorro Bowman recovered fumbles and Dashon Goldson collected an interception."They are playing unselfish football and keep showing up time and time again," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The team counts on the guys the way they play. They are not looking for statistics like tackles, interceptions, sacks. They know what helps us win, but they're doing the unselfish little things. When a defensive tackle is made, it is a team tackle."The 49ers held the Redskins to just 52 rushing yards. Rookie running back Roy Helu, making his first NFL start, managed 41 yards rushing on 10 rushing attempts.The 49ers have gone 30 games since allowing an individual opponent to rush for more than 100 yards. The 49ers own the longest current streak in the NFL and the fourth-longest since 2000."The defense is always prepared to play every week to go out and shut down offense," said linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who recorded the 49ers' only sack. "As long as the offense is scoring, we will win the ball game."