The 49ers (4-2) still have two games to play before that week off. And the way Willis sees it, he can grind through games at Tennessee (3-3) and against Jacksonville (0-6) in London and rest later.
San Francisco sure hopes that formula works out. Willis was solid, but not spectacular, for most of the 49ers' 32-20 win over Arizona last Sunday — but he made the biggest play of the game.
With the Cardinals driving for a go-ahead score in the third quarter, Willis stripped the ball from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald deep in 49ers territory. Rookie Eric Reid recovered, and San Francisco started an 18-play touchdown drive that put the game out of reach.
"I know it made Pat feel good to get his feet back out there," fellow All-Pro middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman said.
Forcing turnovers is something Willis and the 49ers have been awfully good at lately.