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Davis Prepares for Niners Defense

Posted Oct 10, 2014

First-year starter Austin Davis prepares for Monday Night Football against Niners' "best all-around defense".

Austin Davis has performed well since taking over as the Rams’ starter, but Monday night will bring a new challenge for the young quarterback in the 49ers’ stout defense.

San Francisco comes to town boasting the No. 2 ranked defense in the league, surrendering an average of just 282.8 yards per game. The 49ers are third against the run (73.8 yards per game), seventh against the pass (209.0 yards per game), and fourth in total takeaways (10; six interceptions, four fumbles recovered).

“I think they’re probably the best all-around defense we’ve seen so far,” Davis said on Thursday. “They’re really good up front. Huge, huge challenge for us and I think we’re ready for it.”

To get to that point, Davis said that in reviewing last week’s game, it was clear that the offense just did not get into a good rhythm early.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t click. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing or another,” Davis said. “I felt like we had a couple early incompletions. Just never really could get it going. For whatever reason, that was the case.”

Nevertheless, the quarterback said he feels like the offense is improving on a week-to-week basis.

“The difficult part is we’ve got to be able to put a complete game together,” Davis said. “We’ve had critical mistakes in every ball game that unfortunately have come back to cost us. We’ve got to clean that up and play a complete game.”

And this week, the Rams will have to do that against a tough San Francisco squad. The 49ers, of course, are led up front by defensive end Justin Smith. The 35-year-old veteran -- a former first-round pick out of Mizzou -- has continued to put up strong numbers in his 14th season, leading San Francisco with three sacks. He’s one of quite a few specific players Davis will have to look out for when he’s under center. Another is linebacker Patrick Willis, who leads the 49ers in tackles.

“They’ve got probably the best linebacker in the game in Patrick Willis,” Davis said. “Everyone knows what he can do.”

Though the Rams are familiar with much of the 49ers’ personnel, this will be Davis’ first start against the division rival. Despite that, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh was quite complimentary of the Rams’ quarterback, calling Davis an exciting and ascending player.

“He’s shown that through the first part of the season here, he’s getting better and better,” Harbaugh said on Thursday. “I’m sure he’s coming into this ball game with a very high level of confidence.”

According to Harbaugh, part of that swagger should come from Davis leading the offense to a near historic comeback last week against the Eagles.

“Was quite a thing battling back from 34-7 and making throws that were there,” Harbaugh said. “They could’ve won that football game. It was exciting to watch, I’ve got to be honest. … There were some sparks flying, was very impressed.”

As for this week, it’s going to be important for the Rams to turn those late-game sparks into whole-game flames in order to come away with a victory over the 49ers on Monday night.

“We talked about just kind of carrying that momentum into this week and what we were able to do towards the end of the game,” Davis said. “We’re going to try and put 60 minutes together. Not just play one half, play two complete halves. That’s what it’s going to take to beat a really good football team.”