Earlier today, I urged you to go and vote for St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long for the Pro Bowl this year. You need to do that. Long wasn't the only player contributing for the Rams defense, but he was a dominant force. He highlights the top five defensive plays from last week.
I rip the Rams run defense often because it's mostly pretty terrible. In fact, it ranks right up there with the offensive line in terms of inexplicable disappointment. However, the defense played much better against the run last week, and these two consecutive plays in the first quarter highlight that. What happened was pretty simple, the defensive line won their battles and the linebackers maintained their gap discipline. This one limited the 49ers to a field goal.
1-10-STL 21 (6:28) 21-F.Gore up the middle to STL 20 for 1 yard (57-C.Chamberlain).
2-9-STL 20 (5:47) (Shotgun) 32-K.Hunter left guard to STL 18 for 2 yards (98-F.Robbins, 55-J.Laurinaitis).
A beautiful play, well-executed zone blitz. The line did their job and Laurinaitis raced into the gap.
2-8-SF 48 (13:59) 11-Alex Smith sacked at SF 40 for -8 yards (55-J.Laurinaitis).
Most days, this should have been a touchdown. San Fran got the ball with great field position, on the Rams' six-yard line, after Feeley's fumble. Two consecutive runs by Gore got them to the one. Dahl raced up and made the play, reminding us that he can play in run support.
3-1-STL 1 (9:26) 21-F.Gore up the middle to STL 1 for no gain (43-C.Dahl).
Both of Chris Long's sacks came inside the two minute mark of the first half. It was a big reason that the Rams went into the locker room down by just 9-0.
The first one came on a drive that was all Long. After this sack, he tackled Gore for a short gain, and then pressured Smith resulting in an incomplete pass.
1-10-STL 10 (2:00) (Shotgun) 11-Alex Smith sacked at STL 12 for -2 yards (91-C.Long).
This was the last play of the first half, and Long's 12th sack of the season.
3-17-SF 49(:16) (Shotgun) 11-Alex Smith sacked at SF 35 for -14 yards (91-C.Long).
Is there anyone out there still not convinced that Long belongs in the Pro Bowl? Think what he could do with a good team around him.