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SANTA CLARA -– Jim Harbaugh scouts quarterbacks. Vic Fangio game plans against them.
The 49ers head coach and defensive coordinator learned a lot this week about St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis -– a player neither man knew much about before extensive film study in preparation for Monday’s game.
Davis went undrafted in 2012 after his career at Southern Mississippi. Davis was never on Harbaugh’s radar during the evaluation process despite breaking Brett Favre’s school records for touchdowns, passing yards and completion percentage.
”I wish I would’ve been more aware of him,” Harbuagh said Saturday. “He looks like a real nice prospect.”
Davis took over for Shaun Hill in Week 1, and he has not given the Rams any reason to send him back to the bench. Davis has completed 67.8 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Harbaugh was particularly impressed with what he saw from Davis last week, rallying the Rams from a 34-7 deficit in the third quarter to nearly pull off a come-from-behind upset against the Philadelphia Eagles.
”He’d be coming into this game with a lot of confidence, I’m sure,” Harbaugh said. “The ball game he played against the Eagles and the fact that he’s gotten better and better every single week, you can see it. It was one of the rare times where I’ve watched coaches’ tape and been excited about the game.
“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.”
Fangio said he knew nothing about Davis until beginning this week of preparation. Davis quickly gained Fangio’s respect.
“I see a guy that’s playing very well,” Fangio said. “Since he’s come into the starting lineup, these guys have averaged 26 points a game and well over 400 yards a game. He’s thrown the ball extremely well with accuracy. He’s got a high quarterback rating that shows that. Throws the deep ball well. These guys like to throw it deep. So, we’re going to have to be good on the deep balls during the game. And he’s done a nice job moving this offense.”