Willis: 49ers are a playoff team

In the eyes of Pro Bowl LB Patrick Willis, the 3-4 San Francisco 49ers are a playoff team. He told NFL Nation as much during a live chat Tuesday on NFL.com.

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” Willis said. “I believe in it 100 percent.”

While the 49ers have time to turn things around, they’ve suffered some difficult losses this season — see Brett Favre’s last-second touchdown in Week 3 — the latest of which was last Sunday’s 18-14 loss to the Colts. Despite controlling much of the game, the 49ers dropped their third straight, with the deciding touchdown coming on a halfback option pass from Joseph Addai early in the fourth quarter.

“It was very frustrating after the game,” Willis told NFL Network’s Around The League Tuesday. “There’s never moral victories on our team. For us to play that well for so long, then to fall short at the end, it goes to let you know that when [we] talk about playing for 60 minutes, we have to play for 60 minutes. That’s what it is.”

The matchup against the Colts in Week 8 was Willis’ first career game against three-time MVP Peyton Manning, who completed 31 of 48 passes for 347 yards, but no touchdowns. Willis discussed with fans why the Colts are so difficult to defend.

“It’s Payton Manning,” Willis explained. “He is their offense, he makes it run. That’s the toughest thing. What we did on defense that was good was keeping him off his game, away from what makes him great — dictating what defense we’re in and how he reads it. Keep him from knowing what we were in.

“He’s like an offensive coordinator out there. It’s based off what he sees. He has the playbook in his head on the field, and runs it off what he sees. That’s what makes him so valuable — he calls audibles, he adjusts formations and he’s reading the defense.”

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