JEFF BARTL STATS Writer The San Francisco 49ers' stellar defense is a major reason they enter the second half of the season in control of the NFC West, at times overshadowing an offense possessing an efficient quarterback and the NFL's best running game.
Alex Smith, Frank Gore and the rest of the 49ers' offense look to take advantage of a St. Louis Rams team that hasn't forced a single turnover during a three-game losing streak when the division rivals meet Sunday in San Francisco.
Defense has been a staple of coach Jim Harbaugh's squad that is allowing an NFL-low 12.9 points per game while giving up an NFC-best average of 271.4 total yards.
San Francisco (6-2) has won four of five, allowing a total of 12 points without a single touchdown in the victories after beating Arizona 24-3 on Oct. 29 before its bye week.
The offense hasn't been bad, either. Smith ranks fourth in the league with a 102.1 passer rating after finishing 18 for 19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns - two to M...