Today is the last day to vote your San Francisco 49ers into the 2011 Pro Bowl which will be played Jan. 30, 2011, in Hawaii. Here’s a look at five members of the team who have stood out in particular this season and deserve your vote:
LB Patrick Willis
The perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Willis fought through a broken hand last week and still recorded eight tackles and one pass defended. All season long opposing offenses have game-planned to take away Willis’ play-making ability, but he still leads the team with 133 tackles. The defensive captain has also set a new career high with 5.0 sacks. His best game came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11 when he recorded 15 tackles and 2.0 sacks.
DT Justin Smith
For years Justin Smith was perhaps the most underrated defensive lineman in the NFL, but he finally played in his first Pro Bowl last season. Smith has been a consistent, hard worker throughout his 10-year NFL career, starting in 153 consecutive games, tops among active defensive linemen. He has had little trouble wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks this season with a team-high 5.5 sacks, 40 quarterback hits and 60 quarterback pressures. He also has 10 tackles-for-loss.
TE Vernon Davis
After a breakout 2009 season in which Vernon Davis tied an NFL record for tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions, it’s only natural that opposing defenses have keyed in on him this year. Still, he leads the team in every major receiving category including receptions (50) receiving yards (748) and touchdowns (6). Davis has two games with more than 100 yards receiving, including Week 13 at Green Bay when he set a new career high with 126 yards to go along with one touchdown.
LB Takeo Spikes
Thirteen seasons into his NFL career, and there’s no doubt that Takeo Spikes still has it. The inside linebacker is second on the team with 114 tackles to go along with three interceptions and eight passes defended. Last week he recorded 12 tackles despite playing with a cast on his right hand. Spikes’ veteran leadership has been paramount for the 49ers this season, keeping the hope and morale high despite the team’s record.
P Andy Lee
Punter Andy Lee is looking to make back-to-back Pro Bowl trips, and he certainly has the numbers to do so. Lee is averaging 46.3 yards per punt, good for third in the NFC, and his 3,614 yards are the most in the NFL. The two-time Pro Bowler has three games in which he has averaged more than 50 yards per punt, and his long on the season is 61 yards.
Tags: Andy Lee, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Vernon Davis
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