With linebacker Aldon Smith currently in a rehabilitation facility after his most recent stint with alcohol and law enforcement, the San Francisco 49ers needed someone to compensate in the pass rush for his absence against the St. Louis Rams. That 49er was the other linebacker up front, Ahmad Brooks. Brooks has been overshadowed since Smith’s arrival since the 2011 season. Now that Smith has been suspended indefinitely, Brooks will have to be the one to pick up the slack as it pertains to getting to the opposing quarterback.
Brooks had the best defensive performance against the Rams with seven total tackles, five solo tackles and 1.5 sacks. In very close second was All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman with six total tackles, five solo tackles and two sacks. Both did have two hits on quarterback Sam Bradford but Brooks gets the nod because of Smith’s absence and how the pass rush is vital to their defensive and team success.
As a unit, the defense got back to their productive ways by being physical, aggressive, fast and causing two turnovers; one fumble and one interception. Next week, the defense faces a Houston Texans offense that can move the chains and score touchdowns. The offense has quarterback Matt Schaub, running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate with veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson. San Francisco needs to use the remaining days prior to their matchup with the Texans to prepare for a dogfight.