The 49ers face their latest and greatest must win game of the season tomorrow as they battle the St. Louis Rams. The biggest news of the game is that Troy Smith is getting his second start at quarterback. In his first start two weeks ago, Smith was 12 of 19 for 196 yards and a touchdown, while also scrambling for a second touchdown. The Broncos have a pretty horrendous defense. On the other hand, Smith spent the week leading up to the game taking his first actual practice snaps with the 49ers first team squad, so either way it was a tough situation to predict or analyze.
I want to know today what kind of stat line people expect from Troy Smith. Do you see him blowing up now that he's got a bit more comfort in the 49ers offense? Or do you see a defensive battle that will be decided by the running backs and thus Smith's numbers will be fairly limited? Feel free to post an exact stat line or give more general thoughts on what kind of performance we can expect.
If I had to guess, I would expect an increase in rushing yards (not hard to do with only two yards). I am expecting a greater pass rush from the Rams, leading to Smith having to escape the pocket a bit more, thus leading to bigger gains. I'm not sure if the offensive line will hold up as well this week as it did against the Broncos. The line has been so inconsistent that it's hard to predict from week to week.
In the passing game, I'm going to throw out a guess of 177 passing yards and two touchdowns. I think Gore will establish himself in a big way and put Smith in a position where he doesn't have to throw for a ton of yards. I think I'm being conservative in the yards in hopes that Smith will prove me wrong and surpass 200 yards passing. If he is legit in this offense I do think he could put up better numbers at home against the Rams. As always though, I'm getting my hopes up even as I don't want to get my hopes up.