One criticism leveled at the St. Louis Rams defense this season has been their lack of aggressive play up front, in the sack department specifically. If they can change that this week against the Frank Gore-less 49ers, they could have find some success.
Through three games, the San Francisco quarterback has been sacked 9 times, tied for the 4th highest total in the league. Their sack rate (number of sacks as a percentage of passing plays) is 9.4%, the third highest total in the league. For comparison's sake, the Rams have a sack rate of 4.3%.
The offensive line has struggled in pass protection, particularly at right tackle. The offensive line is the key to this season in my opinion and didn't get a lot of time together as a single unit in training camp due to injuries. So maybe that's just taking some time to develop. However, Hill has also had some sacks that he's basically walked into that could have been avoided on his part. The defenses the 49ers have played haven't exactly been world-beaters (Seattle and Arizona) so it will be very interesting to see how they perform against a unit like the Vikings.
Now, once bitten and all that, I really though last week was the perfect opportunity for the Rams to take advantage of a weak offensive line and put pressure on the QB, and they did very early in the game before opting to stick in coverage for the rest of the day. The 49ers won their two games this season mostly on the basis of a stellar running back and a solid defense, without the running back, the Rams would be best advised to force the Shaun Hill to do the heavy lifting on offense and disrupt that with a attack-first defensive front. The problem with this formula for the Rams is it requires their offense not to cough up games like it has every week this season.