Rams-49ers Matchup No. 3: Jake Long vs. Aldon Smith
Rams left tackle Jake Long will try to keep Aldon Smith from adding to his 6 1/2 sacks on Sunday. (USATSI)
Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Rams matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at Candlestick Park.
49ers OLB Aldon Smith vs. Rams LT Jake Long
Tale of the tape
Smith (99): 6 foot 4, 265 pounds, third season, Missouri
Long (77): 6 foot 7, 322 pounds, sixth season, Michigan
Aldon Smith returned to being an every-down player Monday night, and it showed.
Smith recorded two sacks in the 49ers’ 27-6 victory over Washington on Monday night. And he said he believed it had everything to do with being able to break a sweat.
“Any time I can be in there on consecutive plays, it helps with the rhythm,” Smith said. “Any time you can get a rhythm being in the game that helps out. It was good for me to get back in there and get in the swing of being back in there every play.”
Smith missed five games this season after taking a voluntary leave of absence to enter treatment for substance abuse. He’ll face his stiffest one-on-one matchup since his return when he lines up against St. Louis Rams left tackle Jake Long on Sunday.
Long ranks as the No. 4 left tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system. Long is equally effective whether he is run-blocking or in pass protection. He has surrendered five sacks on the season.
Despite missing five games, Smith ranks second on the 49ers with 6 1/2 sacks. And with Ahmad Brooks playing well on the other side, the Rams are not likely to give Long much help against Smith.