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Seahawks vs. 49ers: Patrick Willis eager to try and stop Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch was the first 100-yard rusher against the San Francisco 49ers last year, and Patrick Willis is looking forward to the challenge of stopping him.

Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Last season, the 49ers defense was quite stout against the run. Most rushers never eclipsed 100 yards against the team, with Marshawn Lynch being the only exception.

On Dec. 24, 2011, the 49ers' streak of 36 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher ended when Lynch went for 107 yards. In their first meeting of 2011, Lynch only mustered 33 yards. One of the differences -- linebacker Patrick Willis was injured in the second meeting.

Willis is ready to take on Lynch for the first time this year, and has quite a bit of respect for the Seahawks running back, the Seattle PI reported on Tuesday.

"He runs the ball hard, a very elusive guy," Willis said Tuesday. "He's a very hard tackle. We're going to have to have everybody swarming to the ball and not expecting one guy to make the play. He's by far one of the best running backs in the league and will be one of the best backs we face all year long. We've got to face him twice."

Stopping Lynch will be one of the 49ers' highest priorities if they wish to remain on top of the NFC West. Lynch is the best rusher in the NFC and third in the NFL with 549 yards on 128 carries. He hasn't had as much success in finding the end zone, with only two touchdowns on the year.

Willis is one of the NFL's top linebackers, and has had made the Pro Bowl every year he has been in the league, except for 2011.

Lynch is coming off of one of his worst efforts last week against the Patriots, when he ran for 41 yards on 15 carries.