Ian Williams has been playing like a man possessed in recent weeks.
Pro Football Focus recently wrote that the San Francisco 49ers run-stuffing nose tackle is "quickly becoming one of the best players that nobody talks about." The popular football analysis website awarded Williams with a 5.0 grade for his standout play against the Detroit Lions in Week 16.
The exceptional mark was higher than any other player on either team.
The official box score credited Williams with six total tackles and one pass defended. Per PFF, the nose tackle's five run stops were the most in the game, and he added a couple of quarterback pressures in what was a complete performance. Williams has now graded positively in nine straight games and above 5.0 in the last three.
"It's time to start viewing Ian Williams as one of the best run-plugging nose tackles in the league," added the website's game recap.
Williams' success comes on the heels of two injury-shortened seasons in which he played a combined 11 games in 2013-14. Williams had won the starting nose tackle job coming out of training camp in both seasons.
"It feels good, just to be able to say I've made it to Week 16," Williams told reporters on Monday. "It's been a big step. I've worked hard these past few years to get back healthy so I could make it to this point."
The nose tackle has been one of the brightest spots on the 4-11 49ers team. Williams' 64 tackles in 2015 are a career high. The fifth-year pro out of Notre Dame has also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and recorded his second career sack.
Williams will be a free agent this offseason, as the two-year contract he signed in 2013 is expiring.
The former undrafted free agent in 2011 said he hasn't spent any time worrying about a new contract during the season. In fact, Williams told his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to leave him out of any discussions with San Francisco's front office.
"After the season he can fill me in, but during the season I don't want to think about it," Williams said. "I've still got a lot to worry about during the week and on Sundays."
So would Williams like to stay with the 49ers?
"I would love to," he said. "This is where I've been. This is where I know guys on the team. This is where I'm comfortable at. I would love to be back."
Williams added that he isn't surprised a new contract isn't in place already. Admittedly, his injury history has probably played a part in the lack of a deal to this point.
"I'm sure they wanted to see me make it through the season healthy," Williams said. "I'm not worried about all that. I'm just trying to finish out the season strong and do what I can to help out my team."
Williams joins Anquan Boldin, Alex Boone and Phil Dawson as some of the team's top upcoming free agents.