When Jeff Fisher arrived in St. Louis two years ago, he said his defensive front had a shot at setting an NFL record for sacks in a season. The Rams didn't make history, but they still finished tied for first with 52 sacks. The next year, they finished with 53, which was third best in the league.
This year? St. Louis heads into its Week 6 game with the 49ers with exactly one sack, worst in the league and the most surprising statistic for the 1-3 team.
“No, I don't have anything for you,” Fisher said when asked why the number is so low. “I would think that with one sack over four games, we're probably going to have more than four when the season's over. We're getting close, we've missed some opportunities, the ball's coming out. … Obviously we have to do a better job.”
Defensive end Robert Quinn, whom the Rams signed to a $65.6 million extension in the offseason, had 19 sacks last season but has none this year. Another pass rusher, and someone who has vexed the 49ers in the pass, Chris Long, is out for the first half of the season after undergoing ankle surgery. Long could miss the Week 9 matchup between the two teams as well.
Due in part to that struggling pass rush, opposing quarterbacks are completing 71 percent of their passes, third worst in the league. The rushing defense is allowing 152.5 yards a game, which is tied for third-worst in the league.
Of course, the 49ers, who are without top pass rusher Aldon Smith, aren't doing much better when it comes to sacks. They have five on the season and none in their last two wins. The team's outside linebackers have accounted for as many sacks as their nose tackle, who is on the field for only a portion of the game. Justin Smith has three sacks while nose tackle Ian Williams and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has one.