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Around the NFC West: Long stepped up

Chris Long's performance for the St. Louis Rams during their Week 10 tie against San Francisco bears revisiting.

The fifth-year defensive end had been critical of his play against Green Bay a few weeks earlier. The Rams were going to need better from him against the 49ers and right tackle Anthony Davis. That was one of the matchups discussed here two days before the game.

Long was definitely better.

"I thought Chris Long was just on a mission," former NFL assistant Rick Venturi said in his film grades for the Rams on 101ESPN St. Louis. "I thought this was one of Chris Long's best games ever. He only had the one sack and everybody judges sacks, but he was a monster on the run. I think had they held contain on the other side, he may have been close to a couple more, too. He was relentless."

Long's sack was his first since Week 6. He has five through nine games after collecting 13 last season. The Rams have 26 sacks overall, tied for sixth in the NFL and four more than St. Louis had through nine games last season.

Long faces New York Jets right tackle Austin Howard in Week 11. Howard graded out poorly against the Miami Dolphins' Cameron Wake in Week 3, according to Pro Football Focus. But he graded out well as a run-blocker against the Seattle Seahawks last week.