Protect our quarterback and attack theirs.
The most clear and visible difference between the Ravens and Niners on Turkey Day was the sack total: Baltimore, nine and San Francisco, zero. A big donut hole.
In fact, if Alex Smith hadn’t been elusive on a few plays, the sum would’ve surely reached double digits.
Flacco, on the other hand, had all day. I’m pretty sure I even saw him drop back, pick a few daisies and make a phone call to wish his family a Happy Thanksgiving before throwing a ball only out of boredom. For a team usually recognized as having one of the premiere front seven on defense, the Niners definitely failed to perform like one.
Baltimore did, however. They dominated the line, and that was the difference.
In their two losses, the Niners have given up a staggering 15 sacks. In their other nine games, Alex Smith was sacked a total of 15 times. It’s no coincidence that those were all victories.
Like every other quarterback, Smith needs time to throw. More specifically, our receivers/tight ends need time to run their routes and get open. They are weapons. But, much like in a duel, a pistol is useless if you don’t have time to draw it from the holster.
Against the Rams, look for the offensive line to prove again they don’t “suck.” Smith will be sacked a maximum of once. The defense will be up to the task and are surely upset about last week’s outcome. Bradford will be in danger; look for him to get hit and sacked throughout the afternoon.