SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran defensive lineman Justin Smith no longer feels the need to probe the recesses of his memory for an apt comparison to 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.
Justin Smith said the conversation about where Aldon Smith rates starts with the second-year standout until further notice.
"Right now, he's No. 1, isn't he?" Justin Smith said. "Nobody has been on a pace for that (many sacks). Right now, he is the guy. You can't rank him with anybody, really."
Indeed, Aldon Smith is without peer when it comes to most sacks for a player through his first two NFL seasons. He tacked on two more Sunday in a 27-13 victory against the Miami Dolphins.
That gives Aldon Smith 19½ sacks through 13 games this season and 33½ in his brief NFL career. The latter figure is the most in league history for a player in his first two seasons. The former is three shy of matching Michael Strahan's single-season league record.
Smith said he tries to focus on helping the 49ers win games any way he can. Yet, he admits to taking the time to soak in his accomplishments.
"I'm human, so it's going to cross my mind," Smith said. "But my focus is putting a complete game together every game and just playing the best I can."
Strong safety Donte Whitner said he marvels at what Smith does whenever he breaks down the videotape from each game.
"He's a young lion, and he's very hungry," Whitner said. "There's no way to stop
Imagine what Dolphins rookie Jonathan Martin felt like when assigned to block Smith on Sunday in his first start at left offensive tackle -- the former Stanford star started the first 12 games on the right side.
On the first play of the second quarter, Smith bull-rushed Martin, knocked him on his backside and continued for a sack of Ryan Tannehill. Smith added a sack late in the game.
"He got me on that one bull rush pretty good," Martin said. "There is a reason why he is one of the best pass rushers in the league. ... I like challenges like that, going against guys that are the best in the league. It took me a little while to get into it, but after awhile I felt really comfortable out there."
Smith is averaging 1½ sacks per game this season. He needs an average of 1.2 sacks in the 49ers' final three games to break the record set by the New York Giants' Strahan in 2001.
"If they want to do stuff to really stop it, to really mess it up, I guess they could slide the line, have chippers over there, the whole deal," Justin Smith said. "He gets chipped a lot anyway, so I don't see how he doesn't get it."
Aldon Smith, who broke Fred Dean's team record (171/2, 1983), said he expects to get the league record. (Sacks, though, were not an official NFL stat until 1982).
It won't be easy to break the record, with games against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson. His best shot might come against the Phoenix Cardinals in the regular-season finale against an offensive line considered, perhaps, the worst in the league. The Cardinals have allowed a league-most 48 sacks.
Smith also dreams of being named league MVP, he said. He has a better chance of being named NFC Defensive Player of the Year, which Strahan pocketed in 2001 for his record-setting performance.
"Aldon's doing his deal," Justin Smith said. "He's setting records right now. Anytime you have a guy like that, it's going to make your defense that much better. Kudos to him. He's on pace to break (the record). I'm just glad I'm lined up next to him. I'll be able to tell my kids some day."