Rams will need heart of defense to step up against 49ers - KMOV.com

Rams will need heart of defense to step up against 49ers

ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that it is hard to move the ball against the defense of the 49ers.  It also doesn’t take an expert to tell you that the Rams offense isn’t quite the Greatest Show on Turf anymore either. 

This means that the Rams defense will have to play the game of their lives against the 49ers offense if they want any chance of winning on Sunday.  It isn’t an easy task considering Alex Smith is coming off a near-perfect game throwing last Monday night against the Cardinals and the obvious threat of Frank Gore in the backfield.

“Alex (Smith) is really taking advantage of the offense, the running game and the people around him,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said.  “Again as we say, their team doesn’t make mistakes.  He’s not making mistakes.  For a guy to go 19-for-20 [sic] in a ball game against a good opponent that says a lot for him and where he has come.

“I mentioned before, unfairly criticized across the league by whomever, but you don’t go to the championship game unless you have got a good quarterback under center.”

Smith has quieted his critics the best way any scrutinized quarterback could -- through his performance.  The 28-year-old has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes while throwing 12 touchdowns and only five interceptions at the midway point in the season.

The Rams defense will need to find an answer to precision of the 49ers offense and that would come from the two stars of the defense, James Laurinaitis and Chris Long.

In what has been a relatively quiet first half to the season for Laurinaitis and Long, both will have the chance to prove they are worth the money when they go toe-to-toe against the NFC West’s best team.

“Anytime you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.  That’s who we are playing this weekend is the best team in the division the past couple years,” Long said.  “We have plans of where we want to go and there going to have to go through San Francisco.”

“They are extremely dangerous.  They are well-balanced,” Laurinaitis said.  “They have a quarterback that is extremely efficient and smart.  When (Alex Smith) was younger, like in my rookie year, if you could stop him early then you could fizzle him out of the game.  That is not the case anymore.”

Although the 49ers passing offense averages a little over 200 yards per game it should be noted that the team possesses the league’s top rushing offense.  The 49ers also have an explosive wide receiving core led by Michael Crabtree, who has caught a touchdown pass in four straight games against the Rams.

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