SANTA CLARA — San Francisco safety Eric Reid doesn't pay attention to statistics, so it was news to him that the 49ers are ranked fourth in the NFC in passing defense and second in total defense.
“I'm more concerned about bringing a good defensive game,” Reid said before the 49ers left Saturday for St. Louis and their Monday night game against the Rams. “It's always on a week-to-week basis. We didn't defend the run very well the first week against Dallas, so we came back and worked to improve that.”
The 49ers allow an average of 209 passing yards. One of the teams ahead of them in pass defense is the Rams, who allow 192.3 yards a game through the air.
Rams quarterback Austin Davis, who opened the season third on the depth chart, has the NFC's fourth-best rating and is coming off his second straight 300-yard passing game.
“He looks like a standard NFL quarterback,” Reid said. “He manages the offense. He's there for a reason despite where he started the season.”
San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that he was unaware of Davis at Southern Mississippi. The undrafted quarterback is in his third professional season, though he's playing for the first time.
“I wish I would've been more aware of him. He looks like a real nice prospect,” Harbaugh said. “I am now.”
Harbaugh said he got excited about the Rams' game with the Philadelphia Eagles as he watched the coaching tape, even though he knew the outcome.
“It was one of the rare times,” he said. “To watch them come back, sparks were flying. This was a quarterback that was making throws, an offense that was making plays. And then the last drive, they had a chance to win the game and I'm like, 'Maybe they got the score wrong. Maybe the Rams really won this game,' because he made a couple of throws in that drive there that were right on the money and gave his team the chance to win.”
Davis, who became the first St. Louis quarterback with back-to-back 300-yard and three-touchdown games since Kurt Warner in 2001, has been fearless in his willingness to challenge the secondary.
“He's got a knack of throwing the ball in traffic,” Harbaugh said. “He can have guys hanging on him, around him, and he's able to get the ball out at the last second. Playing with no conscious about throwing the ball down the field and deep.”
Reid said those deep threats were a source of concern for the 49ers and held their attention during preparation.
Rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who converted from defensive end, has seen his playing time increase weekly. He's seen action in every game and has a pair of tackles. He's still looking for his first career sack.
“It's going to be exciting,” he said. “I mean, a sack is a sack and a tackle is a tackle. I don't really differentiate between them. One is just behind the line.”
NOTES: LB NaVorro Bowman (torn ACL) may be getting closer to returning. He did some running at Saturday's practice but Harbaugh said “he's getting better but he has to be close to 100 percent before he plays again.” … The 49ers released QB Josh Johnson on Friday, though Harbaugh still considers him one of the team's quarterbacks. … CB Tramaine Brock (toe) is out. T Anthony Davis (knee, ankle) did not practice Saturday and is listed as questionable. TE Vernon Davis (back), C Marcus Martin (knee) and LB Nick Moody (hamstring) were limited in practice and listed as questionable. CB Chris Cook (quad), DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (shoulder), P Andy Lee (ankle), DE Ray McDonald (knee) and DT Ian Williams (ankle) all took part in practice and are all listed as probable.