Patrick Willis Enjoys Facing Marshawn Lynch

"It's a game that we have to have."

Joe Staley didn't dance around the subject. He was direct when speaking about the importance of Sunday's rivalry game with the Seattle Seahawks.

San Francisco's six-time Pro Bowl linebacker discussed the NFC West showdown and the opportunity at hand during his weekly radio appearance on 95.7 The Game.

"Those guys are feeling good, they beat us earlier in the year," Willis began, "We're feeling good. It's, 'Let's go.'

"This game means everything for us and that was the goal from the time we left there until now."

The 49ers defensive leader also recognizes the matchup with Seattle is a chance to create another lasting memory in the final year of Candlestick Park.

"We want to go out with a bang at Candlestick," Willis said. "It's going to be the last year we play in there, we definitely want to win for those reasons."

Willis looks forward to playing the Seahawks at home. The 49ers haven't been defeated by their rivals in the Bay Area since 2008.

But even more so, Willis circles the games in which he plays Seattle's hard-charging runner, Marshawn Lynch.

The 49ers have allowed five, 100-yard rushing performance in the Jim Harbaugh era and Lynch has three of those performances.

Willis admitted that he's friendly with Lynch, just not during games.

"He's a great guy," Willis said of the Seahawks running back who has 970 rushing yards and nine touchdown runs this season. "He plays hard. He's a funny one, man."

Willis, however, doesn't like talking to Lynch. He prefers hitting him.

"We'll be out there playing and he'll be talking," Willis said of Lynch. "And in my head I'm thinking, 'I know we're boys, but don't talk to me while we're playing this game. We're going against each other and I'm trying to knock his head off. You can talk to me after the game.

"It's always competition playing against him. Going against him, I know we have to bring it."

Willis won't be alone. He knows his entire defense will look to raise its level of play against one of the top interior running threats in the NFL.

NaVorro Bowman, too, will be up for the task.

"NaVorro and myself, we're looking forward to it," Willis said.

San Francisco's defense has improved greatly since a Week 2 loss in Seattle and Willis can't wait to prove it this week.

"You look forward to games like this," he said. "You look forward to games that test you as a football team."


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