The Dolphins on Tuesday placed starting left tackle Jake Long on injured reserve with a torn triceps. This is newsy because Miami faces the 49ers on Sunday and because Long, who was leading the AFC in Pro Bowl voting at his position, would have been Aldon Smith's main adversary. Smith needs five Â½ sacks over the next four games to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22 1/2.
The Dolphins will replace Long with rookie Jonathan Martin, who is quite familiar to Jim Harbaugh, Vic Fangio and the 49ers staff because he played at Stanford. Miami took Martin in the second round (42nd overall) of the draft.
So what are Smith's chances of ending the season with the sack record? You have to think they're pretty good (maybe 40 percent?), and Long's injury increases the odds. Here's where the 49ers' remaining four opponents rank in sacks allowed.
Dolphins: 14th (t), 25 sacks
Patriots: 4th, 19 sacks
Seahawks: 9th, 23 sacks
Cardinals: 32nd, 48 sacks
- Matt Barrows