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Rams vs. 49ers: Alex Smith, Vernon Davis face a demoralized pass defense

The St. Louis Rams' pass defense, so strong early in the season, was thrashed by Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in back-to-back games before the bye. Can it regroup against Alex Smith?

Jamie McDonald

The St. Louis Rams' pass defense was the subject of much draft and free-agency related attention after Jeff Fisher and Les Snead took the reins at Rams Park, but even the biggest Janoris Jenkins or Cortland Finnegan fan couldn't have anticipated how effective it would be through the first six weeks of the season. Their eight interceptions and Robert Quinn's seven sacks still remain near the top of league leaderboards as they return from the bye to face Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 Sunday.

I say still because in the two weeks prior to that bye, the Rams' pass defense took a relentless beating from the likes of Aaron Rodgers—30-for-37, 342 yards, three touchdowns—and Tom Brady—23-for-35, 304 yards, four touchdowns—in the course of losing two straight.

Of course, most teams take beatings from the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, which makes the 49ers a weird sort of in-between test of the secondary's continued viability. Alex Smith is the first mortal quarterback the Rams have faced since Ryan Tannehill, but he also comes equipped with weapons Rodgers and Brady would envy. Sure, Finnegan and company can probably stop Smith—but can they stop Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis?