SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Aldon Smith hardly has a free moment to stop at his locker, much less give thought to any intriguing matchups or scenarios as he chases Michael Strahan's single-season NFL sacks record.
Yet, come Sunday at Candlestick Park, it won't be the injured Jake Long lining up against the 49ers defensive menace at left tackle for the Miami Dolphins but rather rookie replacement Jonathan Martin. He is a former Stanford player plenty familiar to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the rest of the staff — and the young offensive lineman suddenly faces the daunting challenge of slowing down the NFL's sacks leader.
Smith has 17 1/2 sacks. Next up: getting the 5 1/2 sacks he needs over the final four games to break Strahan's mark of 22 1/2 sacks set in 2001 with the Giants.
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