At the start of the season, the hype surrounding the Rams' defensive line was reaching epic levels. It was (and still is) an absolutely loaded unit, and had everything covered.
You wanted a premier pass rusher? We have two in Chris Long and Robert Quinn.
How about a prototypical mammoth in the middle? Michael Brockers has that covered.
Looking for a slippery '3-technique'? Aaron Donald fits that mold to a T.
What about a veteran presence? We have Kendall Langford and William Hayes. To a lesser extent we also have Eugene Sims and Alex Carrington.
What about a driven youngster? We have two of those as well: the aforementioned Donald and pre-season sensation Ethan Westbrooks.
***For a rundown of DL 'techniques" here's a description from Pro Football Focus albeit with outdated prototypes for each technique***
It goes without saying that this DL is absurdly talented. But sometimes all the talent in the world means nothing if you don't have the confidence to go along with the talent and potential. the Rams certainly weren't lacking there either. This unit plays with a certain swagger that befits a Jeff Fisher/Gregg Williams defense very well.
Unfortunately, up until yesterday, the DL had been all hype and very little production. Boy did that change in a hurry. I'll give you that the 49ers' OL is dealing with some injuries, but Robert Quinn and Co. made them look worse than my Illini did vs the Buckeyes Saturday.
The Rams tallied 8 sacks yesterday, and were close on several other occasions. All told, the Rams could have had easily had 10+ sacks yesterday. But hey, after the morbidly slow start to the season, I think we're all more than happy with 8.
The best part of the performance was that they weren't a one trick pony either. They did their part to hold the 49ers to 263 total yards and 3-12 (25%) on 3rd down. That my friends is total domination. Particularly for a (then) 2-5 team. They didn't care what the media was saying and they went out there and put together the best - and most complete - performance that we had seen from any unit all year... save the special teams performance vs. Seattle.
This is how the Rams are supposed to win. The Defense stifled the opponent so completely that they were able to cover up for the offensive ineptitude. The DL was showcased early and often. And the offense (what little there was anyway) was driven by the running game. In showing us this, they also rejuvenated hope that the season may not be completely lost.