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Rams vs. 49ers: Can Alex Smith continue a string of St. Louis blowouts?

The St. Louis Rams' defense has seen better days, but they also just finished playing two quarterbacks much better than the San Francisco 49ers' Alex Smith. Which side will give on Sunday?

Ralph Freso

The St. Louis Rams' defense—so good against quarterbacks in the early going—has been shredded, two weeks running, by passing games, and the San Francisco 49ers and Alex Smith bring a pretty solid passing game into their Week 10 matchup Sunday afternoon. Of course, while there's no doubt Cortland Finnegan, Chris Long and company will have full hands again, it's worth noting that those other passing games were led by Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Week 10, then, is the test: The Rams have a chance, now, with a bye week at their back and the likely return of Danny Amendola and Rodger Saffold there to stimulate the offense, to show that those two losses were more about Hall of Fame quarterbacks being able to bend any defense to their will than they were a unit that looked so strong in the early going regressing to the mean.

The offense is still a work in progress, too, to be sure—but it's more explicitly one. Jeff Fisher and Les Snead made major upgrades to a defense that was already ahead of Sam Bradford's unit in the offseason, and for a while it looked like their young D had already gelled. In hindsight, that might have been optimistic—but they can split the difference between "Not as ready as advertised" and "Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are golden gods" with a few turnovers against a mortal like Alex Smith.