Ravens feast on San Francisco's QB

Coming into tonight, the 49ers had allowed just 21 sacks on the season.

Their offensive line had been performing at an incredibly high level, and quarterback Alex Smith had done a great job of avoiding pressure, staying on his feet and making plays when they were there.

"Not tonight," linebacker Paul Kruger said. "We got him."

The Ravens tormented Smith tonight, sacking him nine times, a total which tied a franchise single-game record.

In the postgame stat sheet, Baltimore is credited for 12 quarterback hits, although it seems like that number should be doubled. The front-seven consistently got pressure right up the gut, beat up the right side of the 49ers' offensive line and held Smith to just 140 passing yards.

The pressure came from all angles and all players. Terrell Suggs had three sacks. Cory Redding had two and a half. Haloti Ngata had two ... and on down the line.

Ravens_sack_49ers.jpg"It was a collective effort," Suggs said. "When teams are doing it together, they become scary. The Giants, the Vikings, Dallas ... those teams are getting a lot of sacks because a lot of guys are doing it, not just one guy. So when you've got a unit that's playing in sync with each other, that's when you get a lot of sacks, they start to become contagious."

Not only did Smith not make many plays down the field (he only completed two passes longer than 13 yards all night), but he also was forced into just his fifth interception of the season.

The cornerback who grabbed the pick, Lardarius Webb, credited the guys up front for helping to make the play happen.

"They can't let their routes develop, because (the guys in the front seven) are so quick," Webb said. "So if we can just hold our technique long enough, our guys are going to get there. I played it well (on the interception), but he had to get the ball out right then, so it made it easy on me."

Where did it start for this Ravens defense? Slowing two-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, and forcing San Francisco into third-and-long situations.

The Ravens held Gore to just 39 yards rushing, his lowest output in any game this season, forcing Smith to stand in the pocket and try and carry the load with the passing game. As a result, the 49ers went just 2-of-12 on third downs on the ballgame, and never got deeper than the Ravens' 27-yard line.

Think about that for a second. The 49ers didn't make it into the red zone all ballgame.

"It's all about stoping No. 21 (Gore) and then getting after the quarterback," Kruger said. "Guys did a great job getting him stopped on first and second down, and then it's time to hunt, time to get after the QB. Guys did a great job tonight."

In the Ravens' last three games, they had recorded just four combined sacks. That changed in primetime, against what some were calling one of the top offensive lines in the league.

"We went out there and made a statement," defensive end Cory Redding said. "We went out there and proved that we're still a top-ranked defense. We still have a group of men that can go out there and dominate a game whenever we put our minds to it. It's just an awesome feeling what we did tonight."

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