- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Robert Quinn and St. Louis Rams’ defense have had trouble getting all the way to the quarterback this season.

St. Louis had the third-most sacks in the NFL last season with 53, and Quinn was second in the league with 19. Through their first four games this season, the Rams have one - from rookie tackle Aaron Donald.

“Whatever it is, just get over that hump,” Quinn said Friday after practice. “Once we have that breakout game, you know sacks come in bunches. Guys just got to continue to work and once we catch that break.”

The lack of sacks doesn’t equate to a lack of a pass defense. St. Louis (1-3) has the top-ranked passing defense in the NFL a fourth of the way through the season. Opponents have thrown for an average of just 192.3 yards on just more than 26 passes a contest. They have completed nearly 71 percent of their attempts (third worst for a defense) but for an average of 10.3 (third best).

“We’re getting pressure on the passer,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “I think what we proved we were capable of over the last two years, teams go in and they game plan and the ball’s coming out. We had plenty of hits and plenty of pressures last week (against Philadelphia), we just didn’t get him down.

“I’m not concerned about it. Those things are coming.”

What Fisher is concerned about is the running success teams have had against the Rams. St. Louis is tied with Cleveland for the third-worst run defense, allowing an average of 152.5 yards.

St. Louis will face San Francisco (3-2) at home Monday night, a team more than happy to run. The 49ers rank third with 145 rushing yards per game, led by Frank Gore at 73 yards.

The Rams have been especially susceptible to long runs. They gave up a 67-yard touchdown run to Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson in the opener, a 31-yard jaunt to Bobby Rainey in Week 2 against Tampa Bay, a 44-yard rush in the third game against Dallas to DeMarco Murray and a 25-yarder to Darren Sproles against Philadelphia last week.

Quinn said that just one mistake here and there have helped lead to the poor rushing defense and it’s one of the keys to why the Rams aren’t getting more sacks. Teams are passing less against St. Louis. They are throwing shorter routes. They are releasing the ball quicker than they have in the past.

And, most importantly, they are finding plenty of success running at what was supposed to be one of the best defensive lines.

“If teams think they can run the ball against you, of course they’re not going to pick it up and throw every play,” Quinn said. “So, we definitely got to be stout in the run to get the opportunity to rush the passer.”

Fisher said his team is starting to hone in on what made them successful on defense last season. He said each week things have gotten better and believes they should take another step against San Francisco.

“Well, in run defense everybody has to be on the same page,” he said. “Credit the (opposing) offense at times with their ability to gain an angle. If you get angles and cut the defense, you’ve got problems. So it’s just been a combination of things from the defensive line, linebackers, even some run support things in the secondary. Like I said, I expect it to improve.”

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